from the band to participate because the full ensemble has limited rehearsal time and only one player on each wind and percussion part. In some cases, orchestra directors may become frustrated because they do not have enough rehearsal time with the winds and percussion. Band di- rectors, likewise, may resist sending students to orchestra because they do not want their best players to leave their rehearsal or use individual practice time to work on orches- tra repertoire. Tey also may resent any expectation to use band rehearsal time to prepare players for someone else’s ensemble, and fear that their students will value the orches- tra experience more than band or develop loyalty to another conductor. Students may feel caught in the middle as the entire program suffers from the lack of trust and coopera- tion among the teachers.

All these attitudes result from directors’ egos but are not surprising considering the expectations placed on mu- sic educators and the public nature of their jobs. It may be possible to overcome this condition by changing the mindset of band and strings teachers towards the opera- tion of the symphony orchestra. School personnel should consider organizing the symphony orchestra as a separate ensemble that is an adjunct of both the band and strings programs. Administrators should schedule the band and string orchestra rehearsals at the same time and, in schools with multiple ensembles, arrange for comparable groups to meet during the same periods so students at all levels can have a full orchestra experience. Directors should allow as many qualified wind and percussion players to participate in the symphony orchestra as possible by rotating players by concert or selection. Doubling parts is acceptable, provided the winds can maintain proper balance with strings.

Both the band and strings instructors should share the con- ducting and administrative duties of the symphony orches- tra. Te band director will take responsibility for preparing the wind and percussion players, either during rehearsal or outside of class. If the band director chooses to use rehears- al time, students not participating in the symphony orches- tra can work in small ensembles or on supplemental lessons in theory, composition, or history. When individual sec- tions are prepared, wind and percussionists join the strings to rehearse with either the orchestra or band instructor. When the band director works with the full symphony, the strings teacher covers the band class and perhaps rehearses a piece that he/she will conduct on a concert. Additional opportunities for cooperation include combining players for a musical theater pit orchestra, utilizing strings with jazz band (e.g., Jazz Lines Foundation Inc., 2018), and inviting qualified orchestra members to play keyboard or auxiliary percussion with the marching or pep bands.

Both students and directors benefit from collaboration. When band and string students play together across ensem-


bles, they get an opportunity to learn from a different teach- er and perform repertoire that expands their musicianship through new styles and key signatures. Directors, in addi- tion, learn from each other and get experience conducting a greater variety of repertoire.

Band and orchestra directors can increase the value of their individual programs by cooperating, collaborating, and supporting one another. Tis effort will pay large dividends in increased opportunities and improved musicianship for students and teachers alike. Although this approach will require increased communication and perhaps compromise, the result will be a unified instrumental music program that positively affects the students, faculty, school, and commu- nity.


Barnes, G. V., & McCashin, R. (2005). Practices and proce- dures in state adjudicated orchestra festivals. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 23(2), 34–41. doi:10.1177/87551233050230020105

Batey, A. L. (2002). Take the terror out of adjudication. Teaching Music, 10(3), 40–46.

Hartley, L. A., & Porter, A. M. (2009). Te influence of beginning instructional grade on string student en- rollment, retention, and music performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 56, 370-384. doi: 10.1177/0022429408329134

House, R. (1965). Instrumental music for today’s schools. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Jazz Lines Foundations Inc. (2018). Jazz lines publica- tions winter 2018 [catalog]. Saratoga Springs, NY: Author. Retrieved from big-band-arrangements/catalog-download/

Lautzenheiser, T., McLain, B. P., & Gourley, W. (2003). Recruiting and retention: Finding and keeping instru- mental music students. Fort Wayne, IN: Focus on Excellence Inc.

Townsend, A. F. (2006). Shared goals in the high school music department. Teaching Music, 14(3), 49-51.

Phillip M. Hash is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Illinois State University in Normal. He holds an Ed.D. in music education from the Uni- versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.M in wind conducting from Northwest- ern University, and a B.M. in music edu- cation from Millikin University. He can be contacted by email at:

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