What is a Concert Band

April 20, 2023 1:21 pm105 commentsViews: 283

While in much of Europe the string orchestra is the predominant musical ensemble, in the United States the concert band has taken root and become a staple of contemporary music education in our schools. The concert band consists of a variety of wind and percussion instruments including the flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and miscellaneous percussion instruments. Additional instruments may be added to the concert band for specific pieces of music.

Also known in some contexts as a “wind band,” or “symphonic band,” the concert band owes its existence in many ways to the mobility of the military. Dating back hundreds of years, armies across the world employed musicians for ceremonial events. These musicians had to be mobile, and with a little alteration, all of the instruments of the concert band can be played in a marching band performance.

In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s the modern concert band began to take shape.Playing the music of the master composers of the day such as Sousa, Holst, and Elgar, concert bands began to grow in popularity while at the same time musical instruction on concert band instruments began to take root in the public school system. Today almost every school district in the country has a concert band program of some kind, while a much smaller number of schools also provide a traditional string orchestra program. Some communities also sponsor civic concert bands made up of citizens from the local area that function separate from the local school systems.

Today most concert bands are an integrated part of their community. Serving double duty as a marching band for special events and for other community celebrations the concert band now plays from a very extensive repertoire of literature both by the early masters of the genre and also by contemporary concert band composers such as Frank Ticheli and Robert W. Smith.


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