Educational and musical meaning of "Towards the Next Step".
This is the 6th chapter in the "Foundation of Performance" series. It is an accessible, fun march whose melody is based on various scale patterns. This is related to Foundation of Performance's first volume, "Step by Step" where the music was composed solely on conjunct motion. Therefore, I recommend utilizing both selections to more effectively achieve the musical goals. These two differ in sound and style, but the goal is the same. I would like for students to be conscious of actions as simple as moving a finger, to put their emotions wholeheartedly into each and every single note. Listening to, and feeling the timbre of every note promotes playing them more emotionally. Having no syncopation in the horns, trombones, and snare drum makes this composition very accessible for young players.
Many scale variations are represented - ascending, descending, differing articulations and dynamics, rhythm changes, key modulations, and leaps beyond a whole step in the scale patterns. Some are very tricky. However, you can learn about musicality by focusing on how a simple row of notes transforms itself musically and characteristically.
The other unique feature of this exercise is that it is an actual "march". All ensembles have numerous opportunities to publicly present marches. So above all, enjoy this piece not just as a technical exercise but as march music that can be used in concert. The march is an essential part of band repertoire, teaching important musical fundamentals such as maintaining tempo, changing articulations for differing expressions, understanding the role of each part, creating ensemble balance, and understanding musical form. This experience and knowledge can be transferred to other music pieces when correctly approached. I believe this one of the essential elements for music education.
As the title states, I hope working on this piece provides a pathway "towards the next step".