I have an incoming 6th grade consisting of 75 students

16 flutes, 15 clarinets, 18 saxes, 9 trumpets, 5 trombones, 1 cello, and 13 percussion.

My biggest challenge is creating a productive seating arrangement. We are fortunate to have a large band room but it's a matter of giving them enough room to play comfortably but not spread them out so far as to lose their sense of being in an ensemble and hearing the overall sound.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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It was John Paynter that said a band really ought to be rearranged for each piece.  I agree with him as the absolute ideal for our art form and for recording concert bands.  When this is not an option you can:

1.  Think about how your college band was set up.  Call director and ask why?

2.  Think about how your HS band was set up.  Call director and ask why?   (both of these you have been a part of and directors ((many studies)) tend to head to what they are used to subconsciously.

3.  (tougher) Think about how your student teaching program set up their band.   Same.

General rules:

1.  Tubas and Tones point upward and need to reflect properly.  Physical environment dictates this.

2.  Low WWS have similar parts and generally are very near each other.

3.  Alto Saxes and FHs are typically together in the same row or front/back of each other.

4.  Strength of players can factor in.  Saw a director put the oboe in the back row once.... just saying'.

5.  Like my clarinets in a wedge, wider the better.  Left or Right side is up to director preference.  Also like putting my 1st clarinets in the back row with the weaker players up front for rehearsals and sometimes having the strength of their sound coming through the other players helps them with rhythms and such, plus for high note marches and recording them, it is best to have the higher notes away from the microphone.  Matching pitch with the flutes is the give up here so it should remain flexible. 

I would go with the standard Band setup. Clarinets on the left of course. Because you have 16 flutes and only 15 clarinets, I would have the first row (right in front of you) all flutes. Then at left the clarinets in standard form (1sts in 2nd row, 2nds in 3rd row, 3rds in 4th row--or in 3rd row with 2nds possibly). Then at right a second row of flutes with saxes behind them and bones behind the saxes. Trumpets across the back, filling in between clarinet & sax ends, etc., however it best fits. You didn't ask, but can you switch some saxes to clarinet, B.C., or anything else (18 as I'm sure you know is way overkill)? Have to ask also, what are you going to do with 13 percussion on each piece? Have some sit out?

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