Reading Exercises For Concert Band Overview

I developed these books in order to have my bands develop sight-reading skills. Each page of each book has 10 (or so) unison, one-line exercises. The exercises get progressively more difficult as one goes through the book, mirroring the rhythmic and note content of most method books. The reading skills of your band will improve and it will take students less time to learn new music. They will be reading the new pieces at a much higher level of proficiency, and therefore it will be a shorter journey to bring the pieces to performance level.

Book 1 contains 309 exercises.
Book 2 contains 220 exercises.
Book 3 contains 261 exercises.

A total of 790 exercises from all 3 books.

Recommended Usage:

1) Have your band play 2-4 exercises at each band rehearsal. The experience of sight-reading new music at every rehearsal will build the confidence of the group when approaching new music.

2) Choose exercises that include rhythms, keys, and notes that the band is familiar with so the exercises are obviously playable and not intimidating to the students. This will solidify the concepts that the band is working on.

3) Have the goal be: "To perform a complete rendition from beginning to end without stopping. Think rhythmically and try to stay together from beginning to end. Don't worry about missed notes here or there;
play through your mistakes and try to get to the end in the best possible manner."

4) If you deem it necessary, preface performance of the exercises by saying the rhythm as a group, solfeging the exercises, or using silent practice ("silent study for 40 seconds and then we play it!"). Sometimes singling out a measure or two that are particularly tricky can be instructive and useful.

5) It is recommended that first year band students start this series (with Book 1) toward the end of the school year. As soon as the students are comfortable playing 5-note patterns in Concert Bb, they can start in Book 1. Other books in the series should be utilized to mirror the content of the method book that the students are using to reinforce concepts as the years progress.

This book is also great for Solo Festival sight-reading practice!


"The first year we used the Reading Exercises books, we noticed a significant improvement in our student's sight-reading scores at Solo & Ensemble Festival; very few points were lost in that category. After the second year that we used them, I don't think any of our students lost any points in the sight-reading category!"

- KC Wolford, Band Director, Dolgeville CSD

"My bands play 2-4 exercises at every rehearsal — takes about 5 minutes or so. I choose exercises that reinforce rhythm concepts or keys as they relate to the literature the band is studying. The students have arrived at a point where they enjoy playing these one-liners; like they're a quick puzzle to solve at each rehearsal. As a result of our approach with these Reading Exercises, we're able to learn new music much faster because the group's reading level is much higher. We can cover more ground with band literature."

- Mark Case, Band Director, Dolgeville CSD

"This series of books is great for developing literacy and fluency. It's presented in a very straight-forward and sequential manner; very approachable. Very easy to play through a few exercises during a rehearsal without taking the time to pass out a whole new band arrangement. And because they are unison exercises, the weaker readers are kind of forced to "level-up" to keep up with the stronger readers in the band; and thereby gain skill at sight-reading!"

- Cathy Thielke, Band Director, Mt. Markham CSD

If you'd like to order a set for the students at your school, order forms can be downloaded and printed here.
I accept school Purchase Orders.