Beginner Band Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are all students beginners in 6th grade?
Usually. Some kids who transfer in or who have had private lessons may not be beginners, but our 6th grade program is tailored toward students who are playing for the very first time. If you are not a beginner, please be sure to let us know.
2. When do students need to choose and buy/rent/borrow and instruments?
We will begin with instruments during the first week of school!
3. How do we choose an instrument?
In a normal year, we provide students opportunities to try our band instruments at school. This year, we are providing instrument demonstration videos and info pages about each instrument to help everyone find a few exciting choices. It is important that students like the sound of what they are choosing and a few things about the instrument’s role in the band.
4. Is it true that some students really do not “fit” certain instruments?
Yes. For example, a very small young person with extra skinny fingerprints may not be able to cover clarinet holes. Other examples will be listed on instrument pages of the portal.
5. What about buying / renting / borrowing (and possibly repairing) an instrument?
We let the stores represent their own products and pricing, but Rettig Music and Music and Arts stores have a long history in the business and work closely with us to make sure that they service our band families appropriately. You can buy or rent at the time of your fitting OR shop around. There are other store options, and we recommend that you take the band instrument accessory list with you when you go.
It is our experience that instruments sold on popular websites or at discount warehouses that also sell food, clothing, tires, and electronics are NOT of the same quality that you will find at a music store. There is a definite reason that band instrument prices are lower at the discount warehouses. Likewise, there are beautiful, inexpensive, new instruments for sale on Ebay of poor quality. Buyer beware.
6. What about students that have their heart set on one instrument, but it isn’t a good “fit”? Can they still choose it?
Yes. The music teachers will not choose instruments for students. We will give honest opinions based on observations and experience, but it is the student who will ultimately be doing the practicing, so the student must be comfortable in the choice that they make. Sometimes a student with their heart set on doing something AND a strong work ethic can overcome mismatch issues.
7. OK, we picked an instrument and bought it. Now what?
A smart thing to do is store it and don’t play it unless you’re planning to deal with private lessons. A lot of kids mess around with an expensive new instrument and accidentally cause damage. Others think that because they are not able to figure out how to play it right away, their choice was a bad choice. PLEASE be patient until class starts, when we can help to teach proper handling and playing…step by step. If somebody is really anxious to try, at least commit to searching some YouTube videos that show proper assembly and handling tips.
Percussion will be offered to students who successfully complete a skills screening with a Band teacher.
We have LOTS of band kids in sports and many, many other activities. In fact, the music teachers work closely with the athletic directors to prevent conflicts. The practice requirements for band are not too demanding to be able to balance music and sports.