The Podium November/December 2015

November/December 2015

Welcome to Band!

By Chris Baird, Band Director

I am delighted to be back for my tenth year as band director and twenty-fourth overall as brass instructor. When I first started at Blanchard in 1992, Charles Garabedian was our most excellent band director, the building was half its current size, there were two school busses and the current music room was Mrs. Plunkett’s kindergarten classroom. I taught brass lessons three afternoons a week and had no idea that I would become band director in 2006. My goal has always been and will always be to make great music with our students as they discover, enjoy and expand their own creative potential. I strive to help them express themselves through their chosen instruments celebrating the way the arts enrich and transform our lives. We are off to a fast start! Advanced and Gold Stage Bands have had two months of rehearsals and Beginning Band has had two rehearsals.

In order to make this year successful please continue to be involved in your child's musical endeavors. Here are a couple of suggestions to guarantee achievement:

1. Practicing is key! Consistency and quality of practice is more important than quantity as the students develop fine motor and musical skills.

2. Students should come to band rehearsals 5-10 minutes early with all needed supplies: these include their instruments, a pencil, music binder and any extra music supplies (reeds, valve oil, etc.).

This year the Blanchard Band program will continue rehearsals of three bands--Beginning, Advanced, and Gold Stage Band as well as offering three ensembles—Percussion, Woodwind and Brass.

I am very excited to be working with all of you this year and as always am most grateful for your kind support. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at school 978-263-4569 ext. 190 or on my cell 781-608-0890 and email me at I will be at Blanchard every afternoon and evening as well as all day and evening on Wednesday and hope to have the opportunity to see you all in the weeks to come!

♫♪♪ ♫♪ ♫♪♪

Ready... Set... Rehearse!

In order for your child to be properly prepared for performances, attendance and promptness at rehearsals is critical. When students arrive for rehearsals, they should leave their backpacks, coats and music cases in the gym along the long (side) walls in order to keep the hallway open and check their name on the appropriate attendance sheet. Band members are expected to assist in the setting up and taking down of chairs and stands.

♫♪♪ ♫♪ ♫♪♪

Storage of Instruments

The music room has special cages for storage of instruments. Instruments should be placed in the cages before school and all instruments must be taken home in the evenings. Instruments should not be taken to classrooms. All instrument cases must be labeled with your child’s name.

Our Bands

ADVANCED BAND will meet on Wednesday mornings at 8:00 a.m.. Advanced Band is generally open to every student who has played an instrument at least one year.

STAGE BAND will meet on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-4:30pm. Stage Band is open to any student in Advanced Band. Music played in Stage Band is quite challenging and requires a high level of commitment to practice and attendance.

BEGINNING BAND will meet on Mondays from 3:30-4:30pm. Beginning Band students should have started their private lessons in September.

Welcome New BBPO Board Members

Please join me in welcoming new Blanchard Band Parent Organization board members Kathie Schroeder, Vice-President and Yifan Gao, Secretary. They join returning board members Audrey Olfers, President, Deniele Pozz, Treasurer and Percussion Director Cesar Garde. Cesar is beginning his 21st year of extraordinary volunteer service to the band. Thank you all!

Private Lessons

Private lessons are an essential part of the band program at Blanchard. Students take a half-hour lesson each week. Blanchard has a history of having the finest teachers in the area, and lessons are offered at reasonable rates. You may choose a teacher not affiliated with Blanchard if you prefer. All private teachers run their own lesson programs and all arrangements (lesson time and cancellations) should be made directly with the instructor. Payment should be made to A-B Comm Ed. If a teacher is unable to attend a lesson, they will contact the parents, and an announcement will be made at the end of school. If you need to cancel a lesson, please try to give 24hrs notice.


If your child has played at least one year, is in the Advanced Band and is interested in participating in an ensemble, please mark your registration forms accordingly. A $125 ensemble fee is required upon enrollment.

Brass Ensemble: Chris Baird will direct the Brass Ensemble which will meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Music room.

Percussion Ensemble: Cesar Garde will direct the Percussion Ensemble which will meet in the Music room on Mondays at 8:00am.

Woodwind Ensemble: Henry Tervo will direct the Woodwind Ensemble which will meet in the Music room on Mondays at 8:00am.

Email Updates

If your e-mail address changes during the year, please let me know. We will be using email throughout the year for notices


The key to success is regularity, not quantity of time. A few minutes of concentrated practice several times a week is best. (10 minutes, 5 times per week) Music practice should consist of warm-up, skill and technique review, band music, practice on new skills, and, of course, a time for fun. Let your child spend a part of their practice time in just fooling around and having fun with the instrument.

Every instrumental student should have a music stand. Try to find a quiet place with a hard backed chair for a practice center.

Please spend a few moments listening to your child to admire progress. Parent involvement is one of the single most forces behind musical success. Show off even modest success to friends, family, or anyone who will listen!

♫♪ ♫♪♪

Why Study Music?

By Susan Williams

Studying an instrument is an extra commitment for our children, who are already busy with homework, sports and other activities. Getting them to practice can be trying at times. So why is studying music so important? Study after study has proven that music education dramatically increases early brain development and improves overall academic performance. Here is a sample of some of the research available as published in “Discover the Power of Music Education” (Advocacy Report, Spring 2001, Yamaha Corporation)

v Enhances Higher Brain Function: Music lessons have been shown to improve a child’s performance in school. Music training dramatically enhances a child’s abstract reasoning skills which are necessary for learning math and science.

v Provides Important Experiences: Music activities help children develop physical coordination, timing, memory visual, aural and language skills.

v Improves Reading and Math Performance: A research team studying first graders from two elementary schools found that students who participated in an enriched, sequential skill building music program dramatically increased their reading and math performance.

v Increases SAT Scores: The College Board reports that students with course work and experience in music performed an average of 55 points higher on the verbal SAT and 38 points higher on the math portion of the test than those with no music coursework. That’s an average of 93 points higher overall!

v Prepares for the Future: Studying music allows children the opportunity to experience excellence and provides a way to develop critical skills needed for the current workplace. In addition to teaching the habit of striving for excellence, studying music develops quick and decisive thinking, builds teamwork skills and enhances cooperation.

Students are introduced to many periods of music when they study an instrument which hopefully will broaden their musical tastes as they grow. Even if they do not pursue music as a profession, they will most likely incorporate music into their lives through attending musical performances, purchasing CD’s and playing their instrument for personal enjoyment.

Garabedian Scholarship

The Garabedian Scholarship Fund was established in 1994 by the BBPO in memory of Charles Garabedian, a beloved band director at Blanchard. The purpose of this fund is to support instrumental music study for Blanchard students who could not otherwise afford it. Money is raised for this fund through a Scholastic Book Fair that will be held November 16-20 and ongoing donations both private and corporate.

The board always does its best to fund as many requests as possible; however, we are limited by the funds which we have available. Parents who are applying for scholarships should plan to partially fund lessons throughout the year. The application deadline for this school year was September 25th , 2015.

* * * *

The Podium is published bi-yearly by the Blanchard Band Parents Organization, a not-for-profit organization, and sent to all families at Blanchard School whose children participate in the band program. If you have a concern or question about band, please contact Chris Baird. If you have a question about the BBPO, please contact one of the BBPO officers. Thank you.

Chris Baird, Director Cesar Garde, Percussion Director