Band & Orchestra
5th & 6th BEGINNING
BAND & ORCHESTRA
Wednesday, Nov 1: Instrument Interest Questionnaire to 5 and 6
Thursday, Nov 2: Send email/print interest survey results, info to parents
Thursday, Nov 9, 6:30pm: Parent meeting Q and A
Week of Nov 13 during school: Instrument try-out/sign-up
December: Procure instruments, stands, method books, etc.,
Weekly Schedule (start Jan 10): Monday-Thursday, 7:15-8:00 for band and orchestra
Band and orchestra will be considered an extracurricular activity outside the normal school day. It is an option for students to participate but once the students begin it is expected that they complete the year - there are investments on the part of the family as well as the school that need to be respected.
The first three weeks in January will be intensive 1-1 or very small group instruction. The students will not take their instruments home during this time. It is critical that the students be monitored each and every time they play the instrument so that good habits are formed and poor habits are corrected quickly. After the first three weeks, we will have small like-instrument group instruction for the remainder of the semester, coming together as a full group for performances. Students will be able to take their instruments home once they reach a point where they can demonstrate how to properly put together, take apart, and perform light maintenance (oiling, greasing, rosining, cleaning) on the instrument where appropriate.
FINDING AN INSTRUMENT
Instruments are procured one of many ways:
-An instrument may already be available for use in the family if the student chooses that instrument to play
-An instrument may be purchased or leased from a reputable local company that provides timely instrument repair and fitting processes - we will use (and encourage our families to use) Q and F from Mishawaka
-We will seek donations from the school community and community at large for instruments
PLEASE do not purchase “off-brand” instruments new or used, from common retail stores or Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, etc. - we refer to them as “Instrument Shaped Objects” - they break frequently and repairs aren’t possible due to part unavailability. A 40 year old Bach or Selmer trumpet will be better on day 1 than a brand new department store trumpet. You might find a good instrument on Ebay or Marketplace - if you are unsure if it’s a “good deal,” please ask and we are happy to investigate.
There will be a rental fee per semester of $25 or $10 for free/reduced lunch families for use of limited quantity school owned instruments (if available).
Does the student choose the
right instrument… or does the
instrument choose the student?
It is equal parts interest, group need, availability, and maturity.
The student may have an older sibling or family member who plays an instrument or they may have heard an instrument in a song they really like. The flute is “in” right now because of Lizzo, just as other instruments have risen to popularity through popular music.
An ensemble (music group) should be balanced with a good distribution of instruments. There shouldn’t be too many of one particular instrument - an orchestra of 8 cellos and 2 violins won’t be as balanced as 6 violins and 4 cellos, nor will the music for that instrumentation be easy to find. Sometimes, when students are trying to make a decision, merely pointing out that there is a need for French horns over trumpets (for example) is enough to help a child make a decision.
The availability of instruments may also be a factor. If resources are tight, the violin you (or a relative) already have in the basement may make the best sense. Our instrumental program is brand new, so we do not have a large inventory of rentable instruments, however, as they are procured or donated, those become available.
Lastly, and most importantly, maturity plays a big part in selection, and it may also be a factor in choosing to participate. There is a misconception that band and orchestra participation “fixes” behavioral problems. If a student is currently unwilling to follow directions, be on time, be courteous and kind to others, or take good care of equipment, this will not suddenly change; however, these habits will, if possessed in the slightest, be magnified and enhanced by the process.
Band and orchestra differ from choir in one major way; there is an external, precision-crafted device helping to produce music. This aspect puts an additional responsibility on the student with regard to care, physical “heft,” dexterity, and muscle coordination.
CAN I PARTICIPATE IN CHOIR, TOO?
We would encourage students who are currently in choir to STAY in choir, since band and orchestra will be before school and choir will be after school. Choral participation can help an instrumentalist “sing” through their instrument as well as assist with string and trombone clarity of pitch, and instrumental music can sharpen pulse and pitch centering for vocalists. This will make for a longer day, but what better way to start AND end the day in an arts school than with music!
There are four main instrument families: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Woodwind and brass instruments together are often referred to as “winds.”
The strings consist of (in order smallest to largest) violin, viola, cello, bass. We will not start basses this year but will move an interested student to bass in the following year. The string instruments are sized accurately for students based on arm/torso length and are typically stepped up at some point as the musician grows. Replacement strings and rosin are the two main supplies needed, but not frequently. A good balance would be two violins to every viola and cello.
The woodwinds consist of flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone. There are MANY variations of flute, clarinet, and saxophone. We will start students only on flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone this year. Oboe and bassoon (double-reed family) are very high maintenance instruments with expensive expendable reeds - we will add those if the interest arises in the next year. The flute and clarinet can both be a bit easier for students with longer fingers. A good balance of woodwinds would be one alto sax to every two flutes and two clarinets.
The brass family consists of trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, tuba. We will not start tubas this year but will move an interested student to tuba in the following year. A good balance would be two trumpets and trombones to every horn and baritone. The (French) horn requires a skill level above all other brass instruments - students typically need additional private lessons to overcome advanced challenges.
The percussion family is comprised mostly of drums/skinned instruments and keyboard instruments, as well as many other instruments that produce special sound effects called for in the music. Students typically say they want to “play the drums;” however, percussionists learn to play the full gamut of instruments by first learning both the snare drum and xylophone. Behaviorally speaking, percussion needs to be students who can focus and multi-task and who have a track record of being responsible and can work independently when needed.
Braces can be an obstacle for a time but shouldn't be a reason for not choosing a wind instrument. There are some physical traits a student can have that might present challenges OR advantages, such as height/torso length, finger length/fingertip fatness, lip fullness, overbite/underbite, etc., that will be discussed at the time of instrument fitting/tryout.
All instruments, whether rented or privately owned, will need additional supplies. For clarinet and saxophone, you will need to keep a set of 3 reeds in VERY good shape at all times, and will need to have a cleaning kit/swab. Brass instruments need valve/rotor oil, slide grease, and a cleaning kit. For percussion, you will need a stick bag and will gradually purchase a set of sticks and mallets, starting with snare sticks and bell mallets, adding other specific xylophone, marimba, and timpani mallets over the next few years.
TIPS FOR LASTING SUCCESS IN INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC:
• must be paired with the “right” instrument
• should practice as prescribed - poor practice habits lead to the most issues
• needs to have “skin in the game” - this comes in the form of:
-fundraising for group needs
-working off fees
Parent needs to be supportive of the decision and be prepared to
• hear their child practice at home
• be encouraging when the young musician hits struggles along the way
• attend concerts
• arrange for timely transportation to rehearsals and performances
Private lessons are a great way to supplement daily instruction. Typically, a private lesson is once a week and lasts 30 minutes. As we progress, a list of private lesson tutors will be made available. These are not mandatory for participation.
PLEASE PRINT AND DELIVER THE PERMISSION SLIP BELOW.
STAR Martial Arts
Instructor: Brandon Sipe, Chief Instructor at Elkhart Star Martial ArtsClub Dates: Every Friday - January 12th -March 15th (not including E-Learning days 2/2, 3/1)
Cost: $49 The program includes a uniform, belt, 8 weeks of training, as well as an opportunityto test for their ORANGE BELT at the Elkhart Star Martial Arts School.
Deadline: Register by January 1st - Fill out form + make payment (link to PAA Store will appear after submitting form)
Questions about the club: Email [email protected]