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Teaching clarinets to go “over the break” is one of the toughest things that a band director needs to accomplish during the middle school band year. Between all the squeaking and the frustrated students, going over the break is certainly a tough time of year. Break, That Break is composed around several long-tone clarinet upper register exercises. Let your band have fun playing this upbeat and catchy tune will reinforcing the upper register in the clarinets.
The piece begins with a fanfare-like section featuring accented notes and low-notes in the clarinet parts. The trumpets play the main theme at measure 5 – 8 which is then responded with the woodwinds from measure 9 – 13. At 13, the trumpets play the main melody underneath a clarinet counter melody. This is the first time in the piece that the first clarinets go over the break. Try your best to keep the jump as smooth and non-squeaky as possible (easier said than done!).
A light woodwind section continues from measure 21 – 29 where the clarinets continue playing above the break. At 29, the accented low brass and low woodwinds briefly take over the melody which is then passed to the full band until the percussion break at 41. Let the percussion section shine here. The timpani and mallet parts in particular can play this section out! At measure 45, the clarinets practice going from written A to written B underneath a flute rhythmic ostinato. This section continues until measure 61 when the main theme is reprised in the trumpets. A big coda occurs at measure 73 which signals the end of the pice.
This piece can be used with the fullest or most limited instrumentation. Not all parts are required for a successful performance! Each part also includes a clickable link and QR code that sends your students straight to either a practice track or a full ensemble recording.
Clarinets will be able to successfully play in the upper register and play over the break
Brass students will be able to demonstrate appropriate accents
Woodwinds will be able to properly perform slurs
Percussionists will be able excuse rolls on several instruments and demonstrate a variety of cymbal techniques