Street Band Approach

Conventional Music Education                                           Streetband Model



– pride in individual excellence

– eliminate wrong notes/surprises

– faithfully replicate composer’s intent

– impress audience until they start applauding

– fun comes after hard work to achieve these goals



– joy in collective transcendence

– encourage improvisation and spontaneity

– adapt to make any tune “our own”

– seduce audience until they start dancing

– fun starts as soon as the music starts


– European

– staged above seated audience or marching in sync
– orchestral/hierarchical organization

– uniform uniforms



– Colonial

– unstaged, street level, moving organically

– non-hierarchical, egalitarian, fluid organization

– individualized attire within a band theme

Learning: one all-knowing teacher, many students Learning: peer-to-peer, mentor/protégé, etc,
Direction: watching (charts/conductor) Direction: listening (pulse of the band)
Literacy: based on sight-reading Literacy: based on ear/rote playing
Composition: complex melodies, harmonies, and chord progressions, simple beats/rhythms Composition: simple, repetitive melodies and chord progressions, complex beats/rhythms
Rhythmic Emphasis: down beat Rhythmic Emphasis: upbeat/offbeat/backbeat
Orchestration: orchestral division of labor Orchestration: “front line” vs “back line”
Arrangements: tight but idiosyncratic Arrangements: loose but predictable
Performance: privilege accuracy and precision Performance: privilege energy and spirit
Skill level: uniform difficulty throughout Skill level: both simple and more complex parts
Lesson Plan: play full arrangement as written Lesson Plan: begin with rhythm and bass line groove
Source material: classical or popular music Source material: any world music