Luck is not chance, it’s toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned. ~ Emily Dickinson

Mr. Ahrens teaches band & choir at Bear River High School in Grass Valley, CA.


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Student Band Arrangements


In addition to greater music theory content during rehearsal, I’ve introduced my students over the past two school years to music notation software. Last year we used primarily MuseScore for a few small composition assignments. I encouraged the students to download this great freeware program at home so they could experiment with it as well. This year I’ve also included Noteflight Crescendo accounts for all band students. The interfaces are quite different and each has its fans. I honestly don’t care which method they use for writing as long as they are writing. . . . → Read More: Student Band Arrangements

Quick Melody Composition in Band Class

For now the plan is for a rising tide of theory competence to lift all students, regardless of grade level, to what will be our starting point standard for next year. I will then have a differentiated plan in place to continue the advancement of the older kids while starting the process over for the new member. Of course, this is how it should have always been, but I have been more focused on performance outcome and this segment of the curriculum has received short shrift. . . . → Read More: Quick Melody Composition in Band Class

Blues Improv / Composition Assignment

I’m really pushing to include more theory and more composition in my ensemble classes this year. While I’ve always recognized the importance of such things, available class time has fallen prey to the ever impending performance. But my students are not getting experience in composition any where else. Most of them are . . . → Read More: Blues Improv / Composition Assignment