Beginning Band

Class-specific information will be posted here. If you'd like to join, please check out the Join Band or Orchestra page!

Brass players - having trouble reaching your high notes? Use this guide to practice:

1. Make sure your lips are tucked under so only a little bit of the pink should be visible and they shouldn't be folded over themselves. Check it out in the mirror when you playing. I would suggest to start each practice section just trying to make as high sounding of a buzz as you can on your mouthpiece alone.

2. The next thing that will help is practicing long tones, which will help to strengthen your lip muscles. Use the "Bandmate" app (it's free!), which will tell you what note you are playing so you can make sure you are getting the right ones. Start on the first note of your mini-scale, then play each note going up for as long as you can on each note, making sure the pitch doesn't change. So, hold C (trumpets) or Bb (low brass) for as long as you can, pause, then hold D or C as long as you can, etc. If you can do this, and start holding the high G or F as long as you can, that will help you not only hear the right pitches but also build your lip strength.

3. The last thing is to practice the songs we're working on in class using Bandmate and making sure you are trying to get the right notes every time.

Practicing At Home

Students should now be in the habit of practicing 10-15 minutes every day. One hour of class time a week is not enough time for most students to be able to make progress and feel successful at learning their instruments – at home practice is crucial! What should your student be practicing? Generally, what we have been working on in class. We typically learn one new song or concept per class and I have students circle the number to indicate that it is homework or a song we will play for the concert. I have also updated the class pages below to list all of the concert songs they should be working on. Woodwind players should be practicing more fingerings, brass players should be focusing on getting a good buzz and the correct pitch with their lips, and strings should be mastering their left hand as we start to add in the bow over the next couple weeks. Lastly, if the student can successfully play what we are working on and the concert songs, they can be working ahead in the book or preparing for their next belt test (see below).

Belt Testing

Belt testing has begun! Students have been given a pink sheet that has all of the belt test requirements. In order to start earning belts, students need to first have everything turned in to get their belt ring. This includes filling out the Registration Form on my website, handing in a signed Agreement Form (can be printed from the “Handouts” section of my website), and have all of their supplies for their instrument, including a pencil that they should keep in their case. If your student does not have his/her belt ring yet, please make sure you have done all of the things above so they can start earning belts! Please see the back of this page for more information about completing belt tests.


Belt Test Performances


Students are expected to play their performances for belt tests in front of the class. However, especially in larger classes, we could easily spend all of our time doing belt tests and not learning anything new. The options on this sheet will help to prevent this.


We will be spending about 15 minutes each week doing belt tests, which is probably not enough time to listen to everyone. Students can also arrange a time to do their test during recess or before/after school if they wish to play it for me in person. If they find that there is not enough time to do their test when they are ready, they can also submit a video to me online. Here are the four options for students to complete their test:


Option 1: In Class

Students should have practiced their test at home so that they can successfully complete it quickly in class. If the student is not prepared, they will be able to try again next class, but not again in the same class.


Option 2: Recess/Before/After School

Students can make an appointment to come in during recess or before/after school. This is also good option for students who want immediate feedback from Mrs. Welch but might be nervous to play in front of their peers. The student/parent will need to talk to Mrs. Welch or send an email to to set up an appointment.


Option 3: Email a Video

Students can email a video directly to Mrs. Welch at The video should clearly show the student’s face, hands, and instrument while playing the required song. The video will need to be small enough to send through email, so turn off HD and keep the video as short as possible. I believe the size limit is only 2 MB. If you take a video and it won’t send, you can also save it as a private video on YouTube or Google and email me the link.


Option 4: Google Classroom

The easiest way to submit videos online is through Google Classroom, since there is no size limit. To join my Google Classroom and submit a video:

1. Go to

2. Sign in with your student account

3. Click the plus sign at the top of the page and click “join class”

4. Type in the following code*:

Beginning Band: cwn9v56

Beginning Orchestra: 6bvfkf

*If the code does not work, please send Mrs. Welch an email and she will invite you to the class.

5. Once on the class page, click on the assignment/belt test you wish to complete

6. Take a video on your device or computer of the student showing their face, hands, and instrument while playing the required song

7. Attach the video by clicking the arrow next to “Add,” select the video file, then click “add”

8. Click “Turn In” and confirm.


Please remember, students are not required to submit videos and will have some time in class to complete tests. Submitting videos will help to make sure that all students have the chance to complete the tests they are ready for. Please email any questions to Mrs. Welch at

Tools to help with reading music:
If your student is feeling like class is too hard, the first step is to make sure that they are practicing at home. Several students need some extra time with learning to read music as well. For that, I would suggest making or printing out some flashcards and have them write the note names/fingerings on the back. Here are some free printable pdfs:
Treble Clef (violin, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, horn, percussion):
Bass Clef (trombone, baritone, cello, bass):
There is also a cool game they can use to practice note naming called Staff Wars, which can be downloaded as an App for iPhone and Android, or downloaded for your computer here:

If students are practicing but need a little extra help, I would be happy to meet them outside of class time (during recess or before/after school) to give them some extra help and confidence.
Carrie Welch,
Apr 5, 2018, 8:22 AM
Carrie Welch,
Nov 3, 2017, 1:15 PM
Carrie Welch,
Apr 18, 2018, 1:31 PM