Band Enrollment Packet

Welcome to Instrumental Music!!

Band Instruments - Trumpet, flute, trombone, saxophone, clarinet...

Orchestra Instruments - Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass

ARPS Elementary Instrumental Music Teachers

Band and lessons - Mrs. Kathryn LaFond email:

Orchestra and lessons - Ms. Heather O’Mara email:

Violin and Band lessons - Mr. Robert Castellano email:

To the student:

You have just made one of the most wonderful decisions of your life - to learn to play an instrument! The path to learning an instrument is long, and at times, challenging, but if you make an effort, try hard to listen to your teacher, and try your best, you’re going to find that playing an instrument can be fun and rewarding! We cannot wait to get started!

Lessons begin around the third week of September. You will receive a notice about your lesson day, and when the first lesson will occur.

Instrument Information

Gerry’s Music Shop

80 Lamb Street (Rte. 116) South Hadley, MA 01075 (413) 534-7402 or 1-800-724-7402

Located in South Hadley, Gerry’s offers affordable band instrument rentals, book purchases, accessories, repairs for all instruments (whether rented there or not) and they visit the school each week to deliver materials and pick up instruments in need of repair.

If you are renting a band instrument with Gerry’s Music, you may either choose to:

  • Rent online (the instrument will be delivered to the school)
  • Call the store and rent over the phone (the instrument will be delivered to the school)
  • Visit the store and rent an instrument (remember to bring it on lesson day)

School Instruments

Available to those who cannot afford to rent elsewhere due to financial hardship. There is a $50 maintenance fee for all instruments for a school year rental period. The music program depends on the rental fees to maintain and repair instruments throughout the year. If you are borrowing a school instrument, you will receive a rental contract from Mrs. LaFond. This must be filled out and signed before your child can bring an instrument home. Please also remember to submit payment of $50. Checks may be made out to “Amherst-Pelham Regional School District.” As long as all the paperwork is filled out, signed, and returned, your child will receive their instrument on the first day of lessons.

Fee Waivers for Instrument Rentals

We do not want money to be the reason a student cannot play an instrument. Fee waivers are available for families who are unable to pay the $50 instrument rental. All waiver applications will need to be approved through the main office of your child’s school. Waivers will be granted based on the free and reduced lunch program. Families who are not currently enrolled in the free and reduced lunch but apply for fee waivers will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to request a fee waiver application, please contact us for a form, fill out the application as completely as possible, and return it to your child’s school. All requests will be kept confidential between you, the music teacher, and the office.

Applying for Partial Fee Waivers:

Families who would like to contribute to the music department, but cannot afford the full instrument rental fee of $50 may apply for a partial fee waiver.


**Even if you are granted a fee waiver and receive the instrument at no cost to your family, you are responsible for the instrument. Should the instrument be damaged beyond repair, stolen, or lost, you are still responsible for the cost of replacing the instrument.**

Band Books:

  • Students in 4th grade band will receive a free booklet in lessons with exercises to practice every day, and will need to purchase the book by the first week of January.
  • Students in 5th and 6th grade, whether beginning or continuing, need the book starting the first week of lessons.
  • The book is Essential Elements Interactive Book 1 for your child’s instrument. The cost is about $10 ($15 for percussion), and may be purchased at any local music store or online. Any family who cannot afford to purchase the book due to financial hardship can apply to borrow a book.

Instrument Accessories:

You may purchase the following online, or at your local music store. Gerry’s Music Shop will deliver materials directly to the school, and you may call them at 413-534-7402.

  • Clarinet/Saxophone: These instruments need a reed in good condition to play. Young musicians will often go through a reed each week, and they will be unable to practice or participate in lessons without a good reed. Please purchase size 2 ½ for your child’s instrument. Reeds may be purchased singly, in a box of 10, or a box of 25. The more reeds you purchase, the greater the savings.
  • Trumpet/Trombone: Trumpet players will need “valve oil,” Trombone players will need “slide oil,” and they will use it at least once weekly to be able to practice and participate in lessons.


We greatly appreciate donations of money, books, instruments (new or used), and accessories, at any time of the year. Think of us while you’re spring cleaning, or emptying out those closets!

How you can support your child’s music education:

  • Be encouraging. It is very difficult to learn an instrument, and it is not always pleasant to listen to in the beginning. Please be patient and gentle with your child while they are learning. If your child believes you’re proud of them, they will be more willing to try.
  • Encourage your child to be patient with themselves. It can often be frustrating to learn a new skill, and playing an instrument is a complex task that involves a number of new muscles that need time and consistent practice to develop. Encourage your child to work slowly, and follow every direction from their teacher or in their book. Remind them that every musician started where they are.
  • Help them to find a time and place to practice regularly. We understand that a household with children is rarely quiet and calm, and your families are very busy. Helping your child to form a routine around practice will ultimately help them to succeed. It can be 20 minutes of practice while dinner is being prepared, before bedtime, or a couple of quick 5 minute sessions (20 min total per day) while they’re waiting for a sibling to get ready. The more they practice, the more they will enjoy music.
  • Seriously consider alternatives before allowing your child to quit. Learning to play an instrument is challenging and complex, especially in the beginning. It is very easy for a child to say “this is hard, I don’t want to do it anymore.” If your child expresses frustrations about playing and tells you they want to quit, before allowing them to give up, please contact their music teacher. Sometimes all it takes is a few private meetings with the teacher, or a different approach in lessons for a child to find their confidence and choose to stick with it. That being said, we do understand that there are times when it is appropriate for children to discontinue instrument lessons. If you feel that is the case for your child, we will respect your decision. Please contact us via letter, email, phone call, or in person, to let us know your family’s decision.


We grade (taking into account the age and developmental ability of the students) on practice, cooperation, attention, attending lessons with all materials, posture and hand position, technique and accuracy, tone, tonguing, note and rhythm reading skills, and group playing skills. Set your child up for success by having them practice every day, and having their instrument and book with them on lesson day.

4th grade beginning lessons...

  • Lessons begin around the third week of September. You will receive a notice about your lesson day, and when the first lesson will occur.
  • Week 1: We’ll learn how to set up our instruments, make a sound, use our practice charts and how to clean our instruments. Remember to practice!
  • Week 2: We’ll learn how to play our first notes, and learn some of the names of our notes. Remember to practice! Practice every day to develop your muscles!
  • Week 3+: We’ll work on the Tune of the Week

Thanks! We’re looking forward to an excellent year!

Prepared for lessons: a checklist:

❑ We know how we are getting our instrument

❑ We have filled out and submitted paperwork to get our instrument

❑ We have purchased a method book for our musician

❑ We have purchased reeds/oil/grease for our musician’s instrument

❑ We have decided as a family when our musician will practice each day: _________________ o’clock

❑ We’re excited about starting lessons!