recommended by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist
FOR ELEMENTARY BAND
Feel It Still arr. Michael Kamuf, Grade 1.5
From their album Woodstock, indie band Portugal. The Man has crossed over into the pop charts with this infectious and energetic tune that sat at #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs charts for 13 weeks. Your students will love playing this driving and fun arrangement. This selection makes a perfect concert closer!
Short Cuts for Beginning Band Vol. 5 arr. Michael Story, Grade 1
A sure fit for your beginners using just the basics, this suite features Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III, Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” and closes with “And All That Jazz” from Chicago. Each theme is focused toward a specific instructional objective and is extremely performable. The tunes can be programmed all at once or throughout your school year.
FOR JUNIOR HIGH/MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND
See You Again arr. Johnnie Vinson, Grade 2
Featured in the hit movie “Furious 7” and recorded by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, this rock ballad has a memorable melody and nice rhythmic feel. Here is a very effective setting for young band by Johnnie Vinson.
Enter Sandman arr. Paul Murtha, Grade 2
From heavy metal masters Metallica, this 1991 hit has become a rock standard. Paul’s powerful arrangement for band effectively captures the hard-driving feel of the original.
Ready for It arr. Michael Brown, Grade 2
Taylor Swift is rockin’ the pop charts again with this monster hit from her CD reputation. Here is an effective version for band featuring the gritty opening and catchy melodies.
That’s What I Like arr. Michael Story, Grade 2
Bruno Mars never disappoints with his upbeat, happy tunes, each with a charismatic ear-wig that keeps them coming back for more. This straightforward arrangement meets that standard and is a bold addition to any middle or junior high program. It would be a welcome addition to a high school concert as well. Everyone will enjoy this chart topper on your next performance.
Thinking Out Loud arr. Robert Longfield, Grade 2
Recorded by pop sensation Ed Sheeran, this great-sounding arrangement for young players features a moderate rock tempo and the melody skillfully passed around to various sections of the band.
Thunder arr. Paul Murtha, Grade 2
As suggested by the title, this powerful rock hit from Imagine Dragons has a thundering pulse and strong melodic lines throughout. Nicely adapted here for band by Paul Murtha.
FOR HIGH SCHOOL BAND
Bruno Mars On Tour arr. Patrick Roszell, Grade 3.5
Three of Bruno Mars’s biggest hits are combined in this catchy arrangement including the funky “24K Magic,” the hip-hop style of “That’s What I Like,” and the disco style “Treasure.” With these diverse styles, an opportunity for an introductory solo, and a varied representation of this charismatic mega-artist’s work, it will certainly be a huge hit with your students and audience alike.
Despacito arr. Paul Murtha, Grade 3
Becoming the first YouTube video to hit 4 billion views, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” also reached the top of the pop charts in over 40 countries. Featuring a blend of Latin pop and urban rhythms, this infectious hit works great in this adaptation for concert band.
Sweet Child O’ Mine arr. Paul Murtha, Grade 3
This classic rocker from 1987 was featured on the Guns N’ Roses debut album, and became their first #1 chart hit. Still popular 30 years later, this is sure to be a blast from the past for audience members and a fun piece for the band as well.
About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, and symphonies. Besides music, he geeks out on amusement parks, hockey (are 4 hockey podcasts too many?), and all things Pittsburgh. He spends his free time being dad to 2 young children and playing saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band.