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Re: How do you know if a piece is too hard/too easy when first reading it?
Your question is very valid as the biggest UIL mistake new directors tend to make is over-programming. Picking UIL music is not just about what the students can play but also about what you - as a new teacher - can teach. I never tried to sightread UIL possibilities because I preferred to read them in chunks over the course of several days. What did the group play last year? If they were successful you might want to drop down half a level because of Covid. And, yes, there are 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 pieces on the list. Just ask the members of this board. If the group was not successful last year go even easier or, if that's not possible, consider not doing UIL this year. And remember, the amount of time it takes to improve weaknesses is exponential. Wrong notes and rhythms can be eliminated quickly while style and balance take longer. Tuning is the most elusive of all as it varies from day to day - that flute soli that's terrific on Tuesday can be wretched on Wednesday. And I pray you never experience a day-of-performance issue like I did where the warmup room is 20 degrees hotter (AC broke down) than the stage. Trying to tune that day was a challenge!