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Abstract

The music performed in school ensembles takes on a special pedagogical significance, and selecting appropriate literature is an essential aspect of music education. Despite such importance, novice music teachers often struggle with choosing literature for their ensembles (Briskey, 2006; Conway, 2003; Peterson, 2005; Schmidt & Canser, 2006), particularly with the added complexities of festivals and concerts (Conway, 2003; Peterson, 2005). Reames (2001) highlighted two general approaches to evaluating music for inclusion in the curriculum: technical and aesthetic. Technical considerations focus on pedagogical benefits and performance challenges and may include selecting music that provides opportunities for growth or that is an appropriate difficulty level for the students. Aesthetic considerations, in contrast, addresses aspects of the music that appeal to listeners. Craftsmanship, ingenuity in musical development, and originality all are aesthetic aspects of music that may contribute to literature selection (Dean, 2011; Grant, 1993; Towner, 2011). Both technical and aesthetic considerations are essential to successful literature selection, and this article addresses a few essential factors common to literature selection. This article synthesizes research and pedagogy related to both technical and aesthetic approaches and provides a structural approach to selecting band literature. Specific musical examples are included to provide contextualization.

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