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The Best Series for Flexible Band & Ensemble: Classroom Edition

With such a huge range of music for bands of different sizes and abilities available on Musicroom, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right pieces for your school ensemble. Band music on Musicroom is graded using a simple 1-to-6 system, with lower numbers suitable for beginners, and the higher levels more appropriate for professional level groups. School ensembles would typically be looking at levels 1 to 3, and the series below feature pieces perfect for bands in that range. In this blog, our band contributor GL highlights key series for entry-to-advanced level band and ensemble music for the school environment, as well as teaching resources and where to view conductor scores on screen while listening to professionally recorded demo recordings. A link is included after each section to browse each series.

Series for Entry Level Bands

Many schools often struggle to assemble a conventional ensemble such as a concert or brass band. With flexible band pieces, whether or not you have a conventional ensemble, your students can still play as a group as these works suit virtually any combination of instruments.

Hal Leonard Flexible Band Series

Hal Leonard Flexible Band Series

The Hal Leonard Flexible Band series is a great way to expose new players, who might have only had individual tuition lessons, to an ensemble playing environment. Including tailored repertoire, from extremely basic yet fun pieces in Easy Flexible Band, which is part of the larger series, through to slightly more challenging works, allowing bands to progress at their own pace. Flexible band works consist of a wide range of repertoire, from original compositions to arrangements of pop songs from some of the biggest global artists and even music from iconic films. Recent releases in this series include highlights from Avatar: The Way of Water and music from the hit Disney+ series Obi-Wan. With a massive range of titles to choose from, there is something for every ensemble to enjoy in this series!

De Haske Flexible Band Repertoire

De Haske Flexible Band Repertoire

Renowned band and ensemble music publisher De Haske offers original compositions and arrangements aimed at entry level bands through several flexible band series. One of these is the De Haske Easy Band Series which includes many original works from the likes of Thierry Deleryuelle (composer of the British Open Brass Band Championships test pieces for 2017 & 2023) or De Haske co-founder Jan de Haan. With each of the works arranged for ensembles of different types (concert band, brass band, and the popular fanfare band type in the Dutch speaking parts of Europe) and with players at different playing levels, this series is ideal for incomplete youth bands inside or outside a school environment.

Flexible band works from De Haske also include the Music Box series. Through the years, many well-known composers and arrangers have contributed to the success of this series. Music Box contains nearly 200 releases in different styles and owes its success to the clever way of arranging which makes this series suitable for almost any instrumentation. Popular works in this series include Simply Ed Sheeran, featuring arrangements of “Sing”, “Perfect” and “Shape of You”, and Classical Miniatures for Wind Quintet, containing five short classical pieces. These pieces help introduce your students to play a range of genres and allow them to explore stylistic differences between them.


Series for More Progressed Bands

The following series include pieces perfect for concerts and even regional or national competitions that your band might be entering.

Hal Leonard Discovery Plus Series

Hal Leonard Discovery Plus Series

The Discovery Plus series from Hal Leonard is ideal for concert bands who have progressed past the early stages of development and are looking for full band repertoire to add to their collection. These are sure to challenge your students and help progress them as individual musicians and as an ensemble. Featuring original compositions, arrangements of pop, rock music, and music from film and TV, these pieces will keep your students engaged playing music that they know and love. Recent releases include the hit song “Anti-Hero” from Taylor Swift’s latest album Midnights and arranged by Johnnie Vinson, as well as “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The pieces are for ensembles at a grade 2 level and include teaching aids and a reinforced bassline to get your band sounding its best as fast as possible.

Hal Leonard Young Concert Band Series

Hal Leonard Young Concert Band Series

For school bands that are looking for some more challenging repertoire, the Hal Leonard Young Band series contains everything you need. With a large catalogue of works, a majority of the which are around the grade 3 – 3.5 level and for players with 3 to 4 years of experience, this series is perfect for advanced school bands. The arrangements allow syncopation and mixed meters, but still limit independence within sections to keep it at around grade 3. Featuring everything from film and TV music arrangements to pop and rock music, there’s something for all your students to enjoy playing. Recent releases in this series include soundtrack highlights from the blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water arranged by Michael Brown, alongside Kate Bush’s classic hit “Running Up That Hill” that featured as a recurring theme in the fourth season of the extremely popular Netflix series Stranger Things


Where to Listen to New Band Music: ScorePlay

ScorePlay

ScorePlay™, a trademark of Hal Leonard, lets band directors, teachers, students, and anyone visiting Musicroom view conductor scores on screen while listening to professionally recorded demo recordings. On Musicroom, the ScorePlay video for a piece can be found on the respective product page under ‘Video’. On YouTube, our parent company Hal Leonard Europe has a range of Scoreplay Channel where you can discover over 800 full recordings and demo recordings online with specific channels containing recordings for Concert Band, Brass Band, and Ensemble. Go to www.youtube.com/halleonardeurope and subscribe now to never miss a new piece being released. Popular ScorePlay titles include Coldplay in Symphony arranged by Bert Appermont with over 430,000 views and Oregon by Jacob de Haan with nearly 370,000 views.


Teaching Resources for Bands

Musicroom has a large collection of band teaching resources perfect for beginners learning in a group environment and ideal for use in schools.

Essential Elements for Band offers beginning students sound pedagogy and engaging music, all carefully paced to successfully start young players on their musical journey. Featuring well-known songs and specially designed exercises created for a unison-learning environment, as well as instrument specific exercises to focus each student on the unique characteristics of their own instrument.

Edited by acclaimed educator Philip Sparke, Look, Listen & Learn is one of the most popular wind band tutor series in Europe. The exciting method books are available for 15 different wind instruments and are perfect to increase your student’s understanding of music and their instrument. Containing a range of fun pieces to play, either with the backing tracks provided or with other students.

Learning Music Together is a relatively new method for young wind players and percussionists aged eight and above. The course has been developed with professionals from the class band world, music schools and music academies. Offering instrument specific items such as new notes and technical exercises whilst supporting ensemble playing, the books also offer access to demo and accompaniment tracks as well as video tutorials to further enhance the learning experience.

Finally, we’d like to highlight De Haske’s Band Time series based on the successful method Look, Listen & Learn, containing original three and four-part pieces which can be played in practically every small or large wind band strength – with a minimum of three players. The series introduces students to playing together in a wind band at an early stage making it possible after just a few lessons!

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