At a time when national unity and cultural identity are matters of serious concern to Canadians, many voices are raised in a call for greater emphasis on Canadian Studies. Many Canadian music teachers believe that their students should be made aware of their national cultural heritage, but it is often difficult to locate Canadian compositions suitable for student performers. Although there has been a remarkable increase in the number of Canadian composers in the past thirty years, there is by no means an unlimited supply of Canadian music, and most compositions are for professional rather than student performers. The teacher's search for suitable material is made more difficult by the fact that many Canadian compositions are not available in published form. Published music represents a relatively small proportion of the total creative output of Canadian composers. It has been difficult to obtain information on unpublished compositions, and therefore unpublished compositions have been a largely untapped source of possibly useful pedagogical material.

To help meet the need for more Canadian content in music education, the Ontario Ministry of Education funded a 1983-4 research study which identified unpublished Canadian compositions suitable for performance by elementary or secondary school students. This Guidelist of Unpublished Canadian Band Music is an outgrowth of that research study in which detailed guidelines, developed in consultation with a panel of band specialists, were used in appraising the level of difficulty of 103 unpublished Canadian band compositions. 22 pieces were judged to be too demanding for the average high school performer. 81 pieces were assessed as being of a suitable level of difficulty for elementary or secondary school players, and these pieces were analysed using standardized frameworks for appraising technical challenges, musical characteristics, and pedagogical value. A program of classroom-trial of these pieces by teachers across Canada was also undertaken. A report on the research study was presented to the Ontario Ministry of Education, 1 outlining in detail the research procedures, including the guidelines developed for assessing level of difficulty. The research report listed all the compositions which were assessed, with an indication of those compositions which were recommended for student performers. This Guidelist provides teachers with detailed information on the recommended compositions for which scores and parts are available.

Although the analysis of compositions has been as objective as possible, based on carefully devised guidelines and standardized frameworks, the importance of subjective response to music and the uniqueness of each teaching situation must be acknowledged. No piece, whether Canadian or not, is suited to all teaching situations. Since musical tastes and technical abilities differ, it is important that there be a variety of Canadian music, in different styles and at varying levels of technical difficulty, from which teachers can choose.

The selection of repertoire for teaching purposes is one of the educator's most important responsibilities, for music must be at the centre of music education. Teachers owe it to their students to choose the best possible repertoire, weighing all the various factors related to their specific situation, using their musical and educational judgement. They should use whatever information is available to help them make repertoire choices, including the information provided in this Guidelist. When teachers are aware of the variety of Canadian music which is available and suitable for student perforrners, and when they have access to support materials to guide them to their choice and teaching of this repertoire, they can include Canadian music as an integral part of a well-balanced music program, thus fostering students' awareness of their national cultural heritage.

1. Patricia Martin Shand, Selection and Evaluation of Unpublished Canadian Musicfor Band and String Orchestrafor Use in Schools (Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Education, 1985).

Explanatory Notes

This Guidelist is limited to original unpublished compositions for band, written by Canadian composers before July, 1983.

The adjectives Easy, Medium, and Difficult are used to describe level of difficulty.

Easy compositions are suitable for beginning bands whose players have had less than two years of playing experience on their instruments.

Medium compositions are suitable for intermediate level bands whose players have had two to three years of playing experience on their instruments.

Difficult compositions are demanding for an average high school band in which most players have had more than three years of instruction.

Compositions are arranged alphabetically by composer according to level of difficulty. Easy compositions are described on pp. 3-5, Medium compositions on pp. 9-34, and Difficult compositions on pp. 37-70. Information for each composition includes instrumentation, duration, and availability.


Standard band instrumentation is considered to be as follows:


Flute I

Flute II

Oboe I

Oboe II

E-flat Soprano Clarinet

B-flat Clarinet I

B-flat Clarinet II

B-flat Clarinet III

E-flat Alto Clarinet

B-flat Bass Clarinet

Alto Saxophone I

Alto Saxophone II

Tenor Saxophone

Baritone Saxophone


Horn I

Horn II

Horn III

Horn IV

Trumpet I

Trumpet II

Trumpet m

Trombone I

Trombone II

Trombone III (bass)



String Bass


Snare Drum

Bass Drum


Brackets indicate optional instruments.

Instrument Abbreviations

The names of the following instruments are abbreviated when instrumentation is described.

Alphabetical List of Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are used:


Where ranges of instruments are specified, the following system is used to identify written pitches:

c': Middle C

c'': octave above Middle C

C: octave below Middle C

B: semitone below Middle C

b: one octave higher

B(1) : one octave lower

and so forth...


Some of the compositions, unpublished at the time of the 1983-4 research study, are now available in published form, and can be ordered directly from the publisher. Information on compositions available through the Canadian Music Centre can be obtained from the regional offices listed on p. iii. Where a composition is available only through the composer, interested persons should contact the John Adaskin Project, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y lJ9.




I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those whose assistance made the publication of this Guidelist possible. The Research Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Education supported the 1983-4 research study of which this Guidelist is an outgrowth, an-l officials of the Ministry provided valuable advice and encouragement. A panel of band specialists assisted in the development of guidelines for assessment of level of difficulty, in the establishment of frameworks for analysis, and in the assessment of compositions. Panel members Ronald Chandler, Steve Chenette, David Elliott, Wayne Jeffrey, Karen Maxwell, Vondis Miller (assisted by Wendy Grasdahl, Eila Peterson and Mike Schuett), Paul Paterson, Linda Pimentel, and Eleanor Stubley were generous with their time and talents. Teachers and students from across Canada assisted in the classroom-trial of the selected compositions. Composers kindly made their music available, and staff members of the Canadian Music Centre co-operated in locating and making available unpublished scores and parts. John Adaskin Project research and administrative assistants provided invaluable help at all stages of this project, and the Canadian Music Educators' Association, the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Band Directors' Association (now the Alberta Band Association), and the Canadian Musical Heritage Society also lent their support. The University of Toronto provided computer facilities, and Robert Mazur patiently and painstakingly used these facilities. Lilly Con created the cover design. I gratefully acknowledge the contribution of all these people and institutions. Special thanks are due to Don Wright for his generous support of the John Adaskin Project, and to my parents, my husband, and my daughters Alison and Fiona for their love and encouragement.

Patricia Martin Shand

Director, John Adaskin Project

Go back to Document List