[ Post a Response | The Yellow Board ]
Re: How do you know if a piece is too hard/too easy when first reading it?
Depends on the type of the group and your relationship with it. When I was trying to build our JH Varsity (1C) group to get its first ever sweepstakes, I pretty much aimed for a piece that they could at least make it through it on their first read. That let me know I could focus on bringing my younger kids up to the better kids, work tuning, dynamics, tone, balance/blend, etc. Years later with an established program, my HS Varsity group generally can push it further knowing they can probably pull off a more difficult piece with some work.
Honestly there's a lot of gut feeling that you get. My general rule is that if my gut says something, I should probably listen to it. If the kids like a piece I'm more likely to ignore it a little longer though.
I think the wisest words are these though: "Play what you want in your band hall, play what you can play well on your concert stage, but only play what you can play perfectly at UIL."
There may be no such thing as a truly perfect performance, but in UIL you need to get as close to that as possible. This year I would advise you to play it safe - especially as a first year teacher!