Celebrating 20 years! Read more here.

BandQuest® is a series of new music created by a group of leading American creators from many life experiences for middle and high school aged band musicians. Leading up to each published piece is a residency that values the direct connection between composer and student. From conversations to workshopping to co-creating, each BandQuest creator builds a relationship with the students through the process of creating a new work together. BandQuest music has reached millions of young musicians over the course of its 20 years. Along with the music, our integrated curricula – created after the residency – gives more students tools for expression and creativity, encouraging them to explore and to appreciate historical and cultural contexts.

BandQuest is exclusively distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation.

New Release

Thomas Duffy

Scalin’ and Wailin’

This 20th anniversary release is a flexible, fun piece written with a differentiated instruction model.

Grade 1.5-3

Series Catalog

Jodie Blackshaw

Letter from Sado

This “process piece” focuses on interpretation of an ancient haiku poem with natural imagery, and young performers are invited to become decision makers in the music.

Grade 3

Susan Botti

Eye of the Hawk

Inspired by the beautiful and majestic Hudson Valley, this piece features a middle schooler’s “spirit animal,” the hawk. The fierce creature who owns the sky is portrayed through music conveying power, freedom, and confidence.

Grade 4, Advanced

Chris Brubeck

Ghost Walk

The piece combines the composer’s experiences with both jazz and classical idioms, creating a work that’s as fun to play as it is to hear. The theme inspires a minor mode and haunting atmosphere.

Grade 3.5

Michael Colgrass

Old Churches

In Old Churches, the composer uses elements of Gregorian chant to create an aura of voices echoing in the monastery using easy graphic notation.

Grade 3

Michael Daugherty

Alligator Alley

Named after the east-west stretch of interstate that crosses through the Florida Everglades National Park, this playful work invokes two themes that illustrate the “alligator” and the “hunter.”

Grade 3

Brent Michael Davids

Grandmother Song

Giving a fresh look at the sound of Native American songs, this piece serves as an introduction to the Mohican tradition of “sung syllables” combined with traditional wood flute songs.

Grade 3

Thomas C. Duffy

A+: A “Precise” Prelude and An “Excellent” March

Playing a wrong note can supposedly ruin a performance, but this composer wants the performers to do so in this clever march!

Grade 3

Michael Gandolfi

Steps Ahead

This new piece takes young players on a journey! Along the way, there are musical/compositional techniques that are intended to educate the performers about basic compositional techniques.

Grade 2.5

Adolphus Hailstork

New Wade ‘n Water

This piece is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional spiritual, Wade in the Water incorporating blues scales, mixed meters, and extended phrases.

Grade 3

Jennifer Higdon

Rhythm Stand

Rhythm Stand pays tribute to the constant presence of rhythm in our lives. Incorporating traditional and non-traditional sounds within a 4/4 swing style, this setting encourages students to take a stand for rhythm!

Grade 3

Libby Larsen


This rousing piece is inspired by early rock ‘n roll rhythms, the African-American tradition of hamboning—clapping and slapping to create fun, new rhythms, and the melodies of the traditional cakewalk.

Grade 3

Tania León


Utilizing the style of a Latin groove, this piece is a showcase for rhythmic dexterity. With stylistic elements of ostinati with off-beat accents and improvisation, this music excites both mind and body.

Grade 3

Hankus Netsky

Nonantum Bulgar

Adding to the minuscule number of Klezmer pieces for concert band, this is an upbeat work that gives every instrument the chance to play the melody.

Grade 3

Tawnie Olson


Inspired by the ever-popular snack, Pop! imitates the sounds popping popcorn beginning with that first, single kernel to the exploding sounds of an overflowing pot through the use of imitation, additive processes, playful articulation, and the development of tune fragments.

Grade 3

Stephen Paulus


As a kaleidoscope of various musical elements coming together, this work evokes a visual of mosaics. It integrates layers of sound with varying meters that feature every instrument in the band.

Grade 3

Kevin Puts


Charm is a fun, joyful piece written in the meter 7/8 that features clapping. It conjures up magic and that intangible quality possessed by certain people and places that truly can cast a spell.

Grade 3

Robert Xavier Rodriguez

Smash the Windows

Smash the Windows is a vigorous piece full of energy and motion. Based on a traditional Irish jig, the music gradually builds from its quiet beginning to a brilliant flourish.

Grade 4, Advanced

Gunther Schuller

Nature’s Way

Nature’s Way embraces the composer’s personal style and concepts of form, continuity, texture, and instrumentation in a way that stretches young performers.

Grade 5, Advanced

Alex Shapiro

Paper Cut

Paper Cut is a piece reminiscent of a movie soundtrack. The players themselves are part of the action with choreographed maneuvers- in fact, the band members don’t even play their instruments until halfway into the piece – instead they “play” paper along with a prerecorded track!

Grade 3

Alvin Singleton

Ridgeview Centrum

This fanfare was written in the composer’s style of subtle spontaneity which is experienced through a fusion of classical and folk music elements.

Grade 2.5

James M. Stephenson

Deep Dish

This engaging piece serves up a bluesy feel with challenging chromatic passages and saucy harmonies. It also gives students the opportunity to create their own percussive sounds with found kitchen utensils.

Grade 3

Christopher Theofanidis

Sweet like that

Sweet like that, an urban march, is exuberant, joyful, and with a whiff of gospel; capsulizing the sound of the American street and instrumental doo-wop.

Grade 3

Dana Wilson

Odysseus and the Sirens

Inspired by The Odyssey written by Homer, this work illustrates Odysseus’ dramatic encounter with the sirens.

Grade 3

Chen Yi

Spring Festival

Spring Festival captures the spirit of the Chinese New Year and all the traditions that accompany this special Chinese festival. While the melody is drawn from a southern Chinese folk ensemble piece, the form of the piece is based on the idea of the Golden Section.

Grade 3

Judith Lang Zaimont

City Rain

In her tone poem with complex jazz chords, the composer paints the image of rain through the rhythmic motive and use of body percussion and alternative instruments such as tapping patterns on music stands.

Grade 4.5, Advanced

Experience BandQuest

Email programs@composersforum.org to request a complimentary audio catalog of all pieces in the BandQuest series.

The BandQuest Curriculum

The national standards for arts education make it even more imperative that teachers have access to curriculum materials that link music with other subjects. Through the BandQuest curriculum, students will gain a richer and deeper understanding of the music they rehearse and perform. A growing number of pieces are accompanied by an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum designed to facilitate the learning process and enhance their understanding of the music, its basic elements, its context and how it relates to other aspects of life and learning.  BandQuest curriculum, written by Joanna Cortright and Herb Dick, is based on use of the Facets Model. To learn more about the Facets Model, you may download the PDF below.

Facets Model


National Endowment for the Arts

I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation