One of my favorite aspects of being a music teacher is discovering new pieces for my various ensembles. Perhaps being an aspiring composer makes me naturally inclined to see what new material is on the market.
Here are some relatively new (as in less than 10 years old!) pieces for young bands which I have had some success with:
Centurion by Mark Williams. Centurion is great for getting kids to count; it’s got aggressive little one- and two-note punches followed by a few counts of rests which require careful counting.
Midnight Mission by Brian Balmages. This has been great for introducing students to staccato. It includes 2 preparatory exercises to rehearse before sightreading the piece. (I wish more publishers and composers would include teaching material like this.)
Alpha Squadron by Greg Hillis. Similar character to Centurion, but requires slurring and a slightly wider range for each instrument. This was my groups’ favorite piece this fall.
For you who teach high school band, visit Travis J. Weller’s poll on band repertoire.