Free Resource: How do I get my students to practice over the summer?

Free Resource: Trios for Any Instrumentation

Welcome to Free Resource Friday... the first Friday of every month, we'll give you something to help make your life a little easier teaching young instrumental ensembles!

You're almost there, teachers. School is winding down, concerts are being ticked off the calendar and hopefully, you're keeping it together until the end of the 2019 school year!

Last month, we offered up some 8-Measure Pieces to help get you through those last few precious rehearsals. We trust that your students had fun reading these pieces, or perhaps learned how to conduct their peers.

This month, we'd like to offer you a new resource: Trios for All. Soon, students will be leaving your classroom... we want to make sure practice is occurring outside of the classroom in the summer months, but what will motivate these students to actually get out their instrument and practice?

My suggestion is social practice... the idea that students get together and play together. Duets and trios are perfect for this. The problem is, once the summer starts, who do your young musicians spend the most time with?

Chances are good that you'll find a trumpet player hangs out a lot with an alto sax player and a trombonist. And then you think, where am I going to find trios for trumpet, alto sax and trombone?

Right here.

I've arranged eight short trios for any three instruments. Simply drop the included file into any notation software and change the instruments to whatever you'd like. Ask your students what other band students they hang out with the most over the summer and you'll be able to give them a customized trio packet in a matter of minutes. A few things to note:

1. These start easy and get progressively harder. I tried to vary the key and time signatures, and write these so the range is attainable for all instruments in their 2nd-4th year.

2. I decided to make all of the trios homorhythmic. Fact is, without a teacher present, having multiple rhythms going at once could lead to a lot of trouble. It just seemed to me that writing some interesting trios in this style would allow students to more quickly troubleshoot rhythm issues on their own.

3. Think about integrating these as benchmarks into a summer lesson program, or perhaps as an opportunity to perform in the middle of the summer. I had a "coffee house night" at a local cafe with my 5th grade students that gave them a fun incentive to practice (with free "iced hot chocolate" on the house as a reward for a job well done).

I hope this keeps your students chops fresh, while they have fun putting some of these pieces together over the summer!

Download trios for all here. Here's a PDF example of the trio packet for three flutes.

Some versions of Sibelius need this file to work.

Need help importing our XML file? Or, if you need assistance changing instruments in your software, drop us a line at and we'll help you out!

Did you know that all YourScore purchases come with an XML file for total customization in any notation software? Edit your band and orchestra repertoire in seconds and have a piece of music that is perfect for your ensemble.

Happy summer!

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