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Re: Was it because........
I would argue that there aren't different standards. Sound is sound and Texas bands have awesome sounds whether you are a C, CCC, or AAAAAA. Maybe expand the grade 1 list though honestly, I don't think you have as much of a variety of levels for the Grade 1 bands compared to the variety of instrumentation that are in the 5/6A level. The gap hasn't widened as much in those early years. If your middle school band can't find anything on the 1 then you play up. But if you really feel you need 300 choices for grade 1, go for it. But don't open it up to any piece you can find at your local music store.
Maybe someone should do a TMEA clinic on the grade 1 list and highlight the more advanced grade 1's versus the selections that have unison Trumpet, Clarinet, and low voice parts as opposed to those with split parts like your grade 2 and up.