Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :
When does band meet? 5th grade band meets twice per week during study hall time. 6th-8th grade students meet daily during their regular school scheduled times. Orchestra will meet during Panther Time twice per week.
How does my child sign up for band? 5th grade students need to fill out an Enrollment Card available from Mr. Blixt or the main office. All other students need to speak to Mr. Blixt and then will enroll with the school counselors.
Does it cost money? Obtaining a musical instrument and all of the necessary supplies does cost money and must be provided by each family. Instrument maintenance and the like are the parent's responsibility. Fees for trips, t-shirts, lessons, or SmartMusic subscriptions do arise.
Does my child need prior experience? To join band in the 5th grade you do not need any experience!! The band curriculum begins from step one and builds throughout the year. Joining mid-year, or in a later grade, is quite difficult and not usually recommended as the student will be behind will require additional support to catch up to their peers.
How does my child choose an instrument? There are some decisions that will need to be made prior to starting band. Just because a student is interested in a particular instrument, does not necessarily mean that instrument will be the best fit. Some things to consider are:
Flute: ability to produce a sound on the head joint is a must. Fast-moving and dexterous fingers are a plus!!!
Clarinet: ability to produce a sound on the mouthpiece is a must. Fast-moving and dexterous fingers are a plus as well!!
Trumpet and trombone: ability to "buzz" the lips is a must.
Percussion: ability to produce and maintain a steady beat is absolutely essential!
Other considerations are:
The size of the instrument
The cost of the instrument
The ability to create a characteristic sound
The availability of the instrument
The overall balance of the band
What about piano or guitar? At the Middle School level, there is seldom a need for either instrument in a concert band setting. There are other classes and opportunities for these instruments.
Is there homework? Practicing is homework. Practicing is essential to the success of the student and the success of the band. Consistent practice is key.
What is the commitment level? At the Middle School level, most activities occur during the school day. There will be two or three evening concerts throughout the year. Rarely will there be a weekend commitment. All performances will have adequate notification time.
Is my child graded? Student do receive standard letter grades. Please refer to the Handbook for the grading policy.
When does my child need to be signed up? Band and Orchestra begin after Labor Day. This will allow families enough time to acquire an instrument and all of the accessories.
Can my child be in choir as well? Participation in choir is HIGHLY recommended! Singers benefit by playing an instrument; instrumentalists benefit from singing!!! individual schedules will vary and sometimes a conflict does occur.
Does my child need to take lessons? Lessons are HIGHLY recommended! One-on-one learning is beneficial to beginners, intermediate, and advanced players! Lessons will cost money. Please ask the director for contact information if interested.
Will my child miss class or school time? Interruptions to the daily schedule are kept to a minimum. Occasionally students will miss a class or part of their lunch time for a dress rehearsal or sectional practice.
Can my child take instruments on the bus? Small instruments like flute, clarinet, and trumpet are usually allowed on the bus. Larger instruments typically are not.
Can my child play an instrument with braces? Yes, but it feel a little strange at first. Care must be taken to not cause any damage or pain. Some instruments are more difficult with braces (or severe over/under bit). Brass instruments and flute can be difficult, but not impossible, while wearing braces.
Does my child have to attend concerts? Yes. Concerts and performance are a large part of the curriculum. Class time is spent preparing for concerts. Performances are kept to a minimum in Middle School. This is a large group function and the success of the group depends on every student to contribute.