Music Contact Info

Director of Music:
Dr. Bradley Kent

Department Email:
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Department Phone:
512-471-5883

Department Fax:
512-471-5908

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Band Sight-Reading Criteria

Preface: Band Sight-Reading Music

A primary goal of our music programs should be to produce students who are musically literate and prepared to experience a lifetime of musical enrichment. The development of sightreading skills is central to the achievement of this primary goal and also facilitates the successful performance of a greater body of musical literature. Therefore, the development of specific sightreading skills should be included at all levels of instruction and should encompass the essential elements of performance required to make appropriate, independent musical judgements and insure success during the initial reading of a musical work.

The primary purpose of the commissioned sightreading music is to test musical literacy at specific levels. The guidelines stated for the sightreading material provide the composer with a parameter of difficulty in composing music for each specific classification. All of the elements need not be used in each composition.

Specific Criteria for Composing Band Sight-Reading Music

Composers of UIL band sightreading music are provided the following specific criteria:

  • Composers of Level I-II-III compositions are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the scoring practices that are common place in Grade I-II-III educational music. A comprehensive listing of such works can be found in the UIL Prescribed Music List. Music directors of bands at these levels should realistically expect the music their students encounter in the sight-reading room to be similar in craft to the music they see everyday in the rehearsal hall. For example, isolated entrances, independent lines for single instruments or exposed passages for color instruments (regardless of how simple) should be avoided.
  • Include measure numbers and appropriately placed rehearsal numbers should be present throughout the score.
  • Avoid specific metronome markings. Instead use tempo indications such as andante, allegro, etc.
  • Do not indicate cues in either the score or the parts. They tend to create confusion in the sight-reading room. Either double the parts (usually a good idea, especially at Levels I-II-III) or omit the cues entirely.
  • Strive to keep the notation as large as possible and the score page as uncluttered as possible. Very small notation as well as excessive lines and measures on a page are difficult to read and tend to cause both confusion and frustration for the directors.
  • Be very specific and clear about percussion instrumentation. For example directors should not find themselves looking at the score during the explanation period and wondering if the part is for crash cymbals or suspended cymbal.
  • Try to avoid any device that might be viewed as a “trick”. Technically, rhythmically and harmonically, the music should be straightforward and logical.
  • Be very careful about the use of divisi. Placing multiple parts on the same staff with accidentals, polyrhythms and note stems going in opposite directions can be confusing.
  • Time your composition at performance tempo to make sure that it meets the time limit requirement.

Sight-Reading Levels and Conference Assignment

Level Conference
I 1C    
II 2C 1B 1A/2A
III 3C 2B 3A
IV   3B 4A
V     5A
VI     6A

Non-varsity bands will read two levels below their conference.

Exception: 2C-1B-1A/2A non-varsity will read one level below their conference.

Level I - Conference 1C

Key

Concert F, B-flat, E-flat Major.

Maximum of one key change.

Meter:

Maximum of one meter change.

Rhythm:

Basic Patterns:

Percussion Only

Length:

Two and one-half (2 1/2) minutes or less.

Level II - Conference 2C - 1B - 1A/2A

Same criteria as Level I - Conference 1C EXCEPT:

Key:

Maximum of two (2) keys with a maximum of two (2) key changes

Level III - Conference 3C - 2B - 3A

Key:

Concert F, B-flat, E-flat Major.

Maximum of two (2) keys with a maximum of two (2) key changes.

Meter:

Maximum of two (2) meters with a maximum of two (2) meter changes.

Rhythm:

Basic Patterns

Percussion Only

Length:

Three (3) minutes or less.

Level IV - Conference 3B - 4A

Same criteria as Level III - Conference 3C - 2B - 2A EXCEPT:

Key:

Add A-flat

Rhythm:

All sixteenths can be used for percussion AND wind players.

Level V - Conference 5A

Key:

Concert F, B-flat, E-flat, A-flat Major.

Maximum of two (2) key changes.

Meter:

Maximum of two (2) meter changes.

Rhythm:

Basic Patterns

Length:

Four (4) minutes or less.

Level VI - Conference 6A

Key:

Concert F, B-flat, E-flat, A-flat Major.

Maximum of three (3) key changes.

Meter:

Maximum of three (3) meter changes.

Rhythm:

Same as Basic Patterns for Level V.

Length:

Four and one-half (4 1/2) minutes or less.

UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE
1701 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722
Tel: (512) 471-5883 | Fax: (512) 471-5908