This document contains a complete unit plan for teaching the basics of being a member of the fifth grade band. It was written as a part of my class requirements for the Dimensions In Learning workshop that is required by my school district. The individual lessons in this unit are intended to be used during the first month of a beginning band program to teach basic classroom responsibilities and behaviors. All lesson plans are cross referenced to specific strategies used in Dimensions of Learning as published by McRel .

The objectives that will be met through the lessons in this unit include:

  1. Demonstrate proper posture and horn position

  2. Set up and tear down the band room's common use equipment before and after each rehearsal

  3. Identify the five main parts of each rehearsal or practice session and their importance

  4. Identify and follow the rules of personal conduct during a large group rehearsal

Use the table of contents (article index) shown at the top of this page to navigate quickly between the various lesson plans. Click the printer icon in the top right corner of this column to print the entire unit plan.



{pagebreak title=Beginning Band Unit Overview}

Beginning Band Basics Unit (First Month of 5th Grade Band)


Students will understand and model well disciplined rehearsal, practice, and performance habits to provide a groundwork for effective classroom instruction in both large group and private lesson situations.

Unit Objectives:

Students will be able to:


  1. Demonstrate proper posture and horn position

  2. Set up and tear down the band room's common use equipment before and after each rehearsal

  3. Identify the five main parts of each rehearsal or practice session and their importance

  4. Identify and follow the rules of personal conduct during a large group rehearsal

Unit Format:

Individual lesson plans will be used as needed and appropriate during the first three to four weeks of fifth grade band lessons and rehearsals in conjunction with standard one on one and large group instruction on how to play their chosen instrument.

Individual Lessons In This Unit:


  • Setting Up and Tearing Down (Large Group)

  • Proper Posture, Breath Control and Horn Position (Private Lessons)

  • Proper Posture and Horn Position (Large Group)

  • The Five Parts of Good Rehearsals and Practice Sessions (Large Group & Private Lessons)

  • Rules and Behavior In The Band Classroom (Large Group)

{pagebreak title=Classroom Basics-Setting Up and Tearing Down}

Classroom basics- Setting up and tearing down



Students will know how the band room is organized, how to help set up prior to rehearsal, and how to help tear down after rehearsal


Curriculum Unit References: Proper Practice Habits, Performance Etiquette


Location: Introduced During Large Group Rehearsal

Students will be met at the door and asked to leave their instruments in their cases under their chairs until given further instructions.

Introduce the parts of a band rehearsal (Dimension 2 – Constructing Models)

  1. Setup

  2. Warm up

  3. Fundamentals

  4. Rehearsal

  5. Tear down


Guiding Questions:

Why set up the same way each day?

Why is the band room set up in this fashion?

Why should different students help with tear down each day?

What would be the fastest and most organized way to put everything away at the end of rehearsal?



Brainstorm ways to organize the setup and tear down process. How can we distribute the work evenly so that the same people do not always wind up doing all the work? How many people do we need to put away chairs and stands each day? What should the other people do that are not the day's helpers?


Strategies Used: Dimension 2 – Internalizing, Shaping, & Constructing Models


{pagebreak title=Proper Posture, Horn Position, and Breath Support in Lessons}

Classroom Basics- Proper Posture, Horn Position, and Breath Support


Location: Introduced During Private Lessons


Guiding Questions:

For wind players, what is the most important part of playing the instrument: fingerings or air supply?

How much air can you hold in your lungs?

Can a balloon hold more air than a pop bottle? Why?

Why is posture a very important part of playing an instrument?

Why is posture a very important part of your appearance?



Using a spirometer or other visual device (piece of paper if needed) have the student blow through a mouthpiece while slouched in their chair. Measure length of exhale, air volume, and pressure. Repeat while having the student sit up with proper posture. Repeat with student standing. Allow student to draw conclusions, test hypothesis if appropriate. Put results on graph and allow students to draw conclusions about breath support and posture based on the results.


Strategies Used: D4- Experimental Inquiry, Investigation, D2-Organizing

{pagebreak title=Breath Support and Horn Position in the Large Group}

Classroom Basics- Breath Support and Horn Position


Location: Introduced in large group rehearsals after posture lesson has been presented in private lessons.


Guiding Questions:

What part does breath support play in playing on your instrument?

Does breath support also apply to drummers? How does it differ for drummers?

How much of an effect does posture have on your playing ability?


Activities: Long note contest. Ask students to get comfortable, relax, and slouch a little bit. Pair up with a neighbor, take deepest breath possible and play together as long as possible using a good tone. Have a timer available to let the students know their record times. Person who goes longest goes on to next round. Repeat until there is a winner. Percussionists will be provided with recorders or kazoos.


Repeat contest again with perfect posture and standing up to maximize air volume. Two finalists take on the band director. Winner gets a band pencil or other reward.


Strategies Used: D1- Classroom Climate, D3- Comparison
{pagebreak title=Five Parts of The Band Rehersal and Practice Session}

Classroom Basics- The Five Parts of A Good Band Rehearsal or Home Practice Session


Location: Introduced during large group rehearsal, reinforced in private lessons


Guiding Questions:

Each day during band we have followed the same basic structure.

Why do we do these things in this order?

Why do we bother with warming up? With doing fundamentals? Etc.



Point out the five parts of a good rehearsal or practice session.


  1. Setup

  2. Warm up

  3. Fundamentals

  4. Rehearsal

  5. Tear down


How do these parts compare to other activities you are involved with? Organized sports, Gym class, etc. Why do you do those things in sports? Why do you think we do them in band? Think/Pair/Share on these questions.


Talk about each section of the rehearsal and what kinds of exercises go along with it.

Setup- getting dressed, putting on cleats, etc.

Warmup- stretching to prevent injury

Fundamentals- shooting free-throws (use example of Michael Jordan free throw practice)

Rehearsal- a scrimmage to practice the fundamentals in a real world situation

Tear Down- taking care of equipment and uniforming so it is ready for the next time


Strategies Used: D2- Internalizing, D5 Self-Regulation, Creative Thinking, D3- Comparison, Abstraction

{pagebreak title=Rules and Behavior in the Band Classroom}

Classroom Basics- Rules and Behavior In The Band Rehearsal


Location: Introduced at first large group rehearsal, reinforced during private lessons as appropriate


Guiding Questions:

Why is it important to have a set of rules in a class such as band?

What problems are we trying to avoid through setting up and enforcing these rules?



You have been asked by the principal to organize a group of your fellow students for a special community project. Your group will take an old eyesore piece of vacant land and turn it into a new city park complete with a new playground. Each member of your group has very different ideas of what the park should look like. Some of these opinions are very strong but you are the assigned leader and have to come up with a set of rules for the meeting so that the members of the group will be well organized and manage to accomplish its goals in as short a time as possible.


What rules would you set forward for this meeting?

Be ready to give reasons for each rule.


Teacher writes all responses on the board.


Pick the rule that you think is the most important. Which one should be number one? Why?


Now think about this classroom. Instead of you being the leader of a group of park builders you are now the teacher of this class. Would these same rules apply to this class as well? Which ones would work well and which ones would not?


Finalize list of 3-4 classroom rules. Type out list and post it prominently. Review at each band rehearsal for next 2-3 weeks.


Strategies Used: D1- Classroom Climate and Tasks, D2- Constructing Models, D4-Systems Analysis, D5- Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking)


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