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Research & Issues in Music Education

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The purpose of this study was to provide a description and analysis of repertoire performed at middle school band contests in northern Illinois. Repertoire from 10 Illinois Grade School Music Association--Northern Division district level contests were analyzed in relation to the frequency pieces were performed, dates of publication, publishers represented, and the inclusion of titles on recommended music lists. All contests were held in 2003 and included a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools. Among the contest programs analyzed, 81 concert bands from 72 schools performed a total of 243 compositions. Results indicated 1) 46.1% of the selections were composed by just 9.9% of the total number of composers/arrangers represented, 2) nearly 9.9% of the pieces were composed or arranged by just one person, 3) 29.2% of the literature was less than three years old, and 4) 27.6% of the music was published by a single company. Furthermore, 5) transcriptions and arrangements of historical masterworks accounted for 7.8% of the repertoire, 6) 1.6% of pieces represented music of a non-European culture, and 7) 48.1% of concert selections were included in at least one of the music lists examined. Implications of these findings in relation to national and state learning standards and recommendations for broadening the repertoire programmed for middle school band contests are discussed.


This article was originally published in (2005) Research & Issues in Music Education, Vol. 3 : No. 1.