Solo and Ensemble


Introduction and Purpose: Each year as part of instrumental technique classes, all 6-8th grade instrumental music students are required to prepare and perform a solo work on their instrument. This is an important musical activity that helps students develop independence and individual musicianship on their instruments. The solo unit concludes with the District 205 Solo and Ensemble Festival. This year, the festival will occur at Bryan Middle School on Saturday, February 26, 2022. This performance is the primary means by which students demonstrate personal musicianship and independence on their instrument, making it a critical part of the instrumental technique class curriculum. 5th grade students are not required to perform but select students may be given the optional opportunity to do so. 

Music Selection: Band and Orchestra directors will assist students with selecting an appropriate solo. Students who are currently taking private lessons with a professional musician or music educator may perform a solo selected by their private lesson teacher. Solos must be selected from art music, classical, or educational genres. Movie themes, pop music, jazz play-along books, or similar are not suitable for this activity. Each student must use an original, published copy of their solo which may be an individual piece of sheet music or part of a collection in a book. This will be presented to the adjudicator for use during the performance. 

Performance and Feedback: Students who perform their solo at the District 205 Solo and Ensemble Festival will receive personalized feedback from an experienced adjudicator at the festival. Students who are unable to perform at the solo and ensemble festival will be required to perform their solo at school during a morning band or orchestra rehearsal. In addition to their solos, students have the opportunity to perform in a small ensemble for the festival. Students who wish to do this should see a director or private teacher for assistance in selecting music. 

Accompanists: Students are strongly encouraged to perform with a professional piano accompanist as this interplay significantly enhances the learning experience and makes the performance more exciting and enjoyable. Elmhurst Music Boosters maintains a list of potential accompanists on their website. Students may select an accompanist from this list or from any other reputable source. Students are encouraged to talk to their director to request further information or financial support.

Process: Selection and rehearsal of music is already beginning. After winter break, students will submit information about their school, solo, accompanist, and schedule conflicts (if applicable) on a Google Form that will be due January 31. Students and families will be notified of their performance time by no later than one week prior to the festival.

We look forward to our students’ continuing to learn and grow as musicians while they participate in this activity. Please contact your student’s band or orchestra director with any questions.