HOW TO GET STARTED IN BAND

WELCOME TO ANKENEY'S BAND

Welcome to Ankeney Middle School and our band program! We are very excited to have your student in our class and help them on their musical journey as they learn to create music! Whether your child is joining us as a new 6th grader or they have moved to Beavercreek as a 7th or 8th grade student, we feel confident that they will feel welcome in band and have a great time :-)

Coming to middle school and/or moving to a new school can be a big (and scary) step for your child. The good news is, by signing up for band at Ankeney, they are becoming part of the largest group in the school district - With 1000+ students involved in band from grades 6-12, they are sure to find a friend and have a great time. Our goal is to not only teach your child about music and their instrument but also provide them with a class where they feel safe and excited to learn.

GETTING STARTED

If your student is joining us as a 6th grader, they do not need to know anything to be a part of band! In fact, about 96% of the students who enroll in 6th grade band have never played an instrument before. We start at the very beginning by showing them all the instruments we have to choose from, helping them try every instrument, and walking them through the process of choosing the instrument that is a good fit for them and that they will enjoy. Once they have selected their instrument, we will help you get everything you need. Some instruments are provided by the school and others are obtained through rental programs - We will help you work through all of that! Once we actually start playing instruments, we teach them literally everything they need to know!

If your child is a 7th or 8th grade student who is interested in joining band, we ask that you contact us so we can discuss the various options to set them up for success. Since 6th through 8th grade band are continuous courses (i.e. 7th grade band picks up where 6th grade left off), we want to make sure we don't just drop them into a class where other kids have been playing 1-2 years and they are just starting out. But no worries - we can help work out a solution and get them started learning a new instrument too!

LEARNING A NEW INSTRUMENT

While there are many ways to get students started in 6th grade band, we have a great method here in Beavercreek that we've been using for decades with proven success. We like it because it helps kids really understand all their options and what is a good fit for them as they pick their instrument. This leads to lasting enjoyment and success!

The first thing we go over when school starts is what instruments they can choose from - we use woodwinds, brass, and percussion in band class. We demonstrate each instrument so students can see and hear it as well as learn some of the cool facts about each one. After they have seen everything, we have every student try every instrument. We feel strongly that they need to get a taste of everything to know what they liked and what was easy/hard for them. Once they have tried everything, we discuss the balance between what they liked, what they were good at, and how many of each instrument we need to sound good as a band. On August 29th and 30th at 6:30 pm, we have two parent meetings - Both nights are the same but please plan to attend one of these meetings. We will go over important info about band class (such as how we do tests) as well as explaining how to get the instrument your child has selected. After the meetings, we order instruments and about a week later we are playing our first sounds! Believe it or not, by November 1st, the students will be ready for their first concert - You'll be amazed at how much they learn in a short period of time.

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

There are a couple of key things we like to highlight when students are deciding whether or not to sign-up for band.

  • If your student will be a 6th grader and thinks they might want to try band, now is the time to try it. 6th grade band is technically called "beginning band" - it is the only time when we start at the very beginning and teach the basic fundamentals students will need to be successful in 7th grade (AKA "intermediate band") and 8th grade (AKA "advanced band"). While it is possible for a student to join in 7th or 8th grade, it takes a bit more work because they have to get caught up.
  • We do not expect students to get started early - they don't need to own an instrument now or take lessons on an instrument before 6th grade starts. In fact, we prefer they wait! We know this can be a little difficult because they are excited and want to start learning a new instrument. However, the goal of the process we use at the start of the year is to give them enough knowledge so that they can choose the instrument that will give them long lasting enjoyment. To clarify, many students have an idea of what they want to play but most of them have never played anything. Perhaps they saw the sousaphone player "dot the I" at an OSU football game so they decided they want to play that instrument. This instrument may be a good fit for them or it might not. The only way to find out is to give all the instruments a try and see what they like and are good at. Once our students start in band, we are proud to say that the vast majority stick with it - on average, we lose less than 12% of the band from one year to the next - this is drastically below the national average! Most kids that start band like it and stay with it. To us, this shows our process of helping them find the right instrument works :-)

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions about band at Ankeney, please feel free to shoot us an email at any time!

Laura Conrad - laura.conrad@beavercreek.k12.oh.us

Andrew Weaver - andrew.weaver@beavercreek.k12.oh.us