I know that Band is a very unique elective and there are always a lot of particular questions or concerns that parents have when your child first joins band. Below are some frequently asked questions that can hopefully answer your question or concern before having to send me an email! If you don't see an answer to your questions below then please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always updating this page with more answers to questions so before you ask a question make sure to come double check this page and make sure it hasn't been answered!
"How much money does it cost for instruments/materials in Band?"
A: Not as much as you would think! Most students will do an instrument rental through Music & Arts where you will pay a monthly fee to rent the instrument. You can cancel the rental at any time and eventually if you continue to rent you will have paid off the instrument and you will officially own it! This happens about 2.5 years into renting. A monthly rental fee costs between $25-$35 depending on the instrument.
DISCLAIMER: I would highly recommend to NOT PURCHASE an instrument when your child first starts out. They may end up not continuing in band after a semester or two and I do not want you to have wasted your money! Rent first and then if you are sure this is the elective for your child you can think about purchasing an instrument!
"What instruments are available for my child to play in Band?"
A: There are 3 different categories of instruments in the Band world. Below are those 3 categories plus the instruments that a Beginning Band student could start learning music on.
1. Woodwinds - Flute, Clarinet, Alto Sax
2. Brass - Trumpet, Trombone
3. Percussion - Snare Drum, Mallet Instruments (Xylophone), Auxiliary Percussion (Triangle, Tambourine, etc.). Percussionists must learn ALL of the Percussion instruments. Depending on the number of students who are wanting to play Percussion students may have to learn a Brass or Woodwind instrument FIRST and then can have the opportunity to audition to switch to Percussion at the end of Quarter 1. This information will be confirmed the first week of school.
Some more complex instruments can be switched to once the basic concepts of playing an instrument and reading music are learned on one of the above instruments. The other instruments that could possibly be switched to after 6th grade are: Oboe, Bassoon, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, French Horn, Euphonium, and Tuba
"Can my child do sports, clubs, and/or other extra curricular activities and still be in Band?"
A: Absolutely! Band will never have any after school rehearsals that will conflict with other activities at school. The only time that students will be expected at school after school hours for Band is when we have concerts. Those concerts are set in August so you will have PLENTY of time to plan around them. I am actually the Soccer Coach at HRMS as well so I make sure that my Band students can be involved in as many things as their heart desires!
"I want my child to take advanced classes to push them academically. Will my child being in Band interfere with their course load and homework?"
A: Not at all! Many Band students are taking high level classes and thriving in all areas. Band "Homework" is to practice 10-15 minutes each day; a very minimal amount of work. If they work on what we have covered in class 10 minutes each night they will thrive in Band and then have plenty of time for the work in their other classes! Win-Win!
"Does my child need to know anything about how to read music or play an instrument to start band?"
A: None at all! 99% of the students that join Band in 6th grade have no prior knowledge or training on how to read music or play an instrument. I will teach them everything that they need to know!
"When are the Band Concerts?"
A: They are listed in the Band Handbook that is passed out on Day 1 of school, but can also be found on the Band Website here. The concert dates are also listed on the school calendar which can be found here. All Band Concerts will be at 6:30 pm unless otherwise posted.
"What is the attire for students at the Band Concerts?"
A: Gentlemen: White Button Down Shirt, Black Pants, Black Socks, Black Shoes, Black Bowtie OR Black Tie
Ladies: White Top with Black Pants/Black Skirt OR Black Dress, Black Shoes
"My child's instrument is broken; where do I take it to get it fixed?"
A: First thing you should do is let your child come show me what the problem is. If it is a small issue there is a good chance that I can fix it myself and then you won't have to spend any money on repairs. If it is beyond my ability to fix then I will send you in the direction of Music & Arts. You can bring your instrument to their store in Cary at the Crossroads Shopping Centre where they can help get your instrument taken care of. Their address is:
Crossroads Plaza 426 Crossroads Blvd., Cary, NC
"How do I sign myself/my child up for Remind 101?"
A: The steps to sign up for Remind 101 can be found here on the Band website. Click here to be directed to the Remind 101 directions.
"My child uses reeds for their instrument (Clarinet/Saxophone). What type should I get?"
A: Vandoren or Rico reeds are what I recommend. Both are very reliable with Vandoren being the better of the two, but also being slightly more expensive. A box of 10 Vandoren reeds costs somewhere around $25-$30. A reed, if taken care of properly, should last 2-3 weeks so a box of 10 should last you a couple months. As for thickness of reeds I suggest 2 or 2.5. I would not recommend going above 2.5 unless I told your child to do so.
"Does my child need their instrument every day?"
A: YES! We will be using instruments every single day in band. There are very rare circumstances where they will not need instruments (I am sick, we are doing an activity, etc.) and I will always inform you and the students via Remind 101 in the early am. Students are expected to bring their instrument home as well to practice their music at home!
"I am confused by your policy for playing tests. Can you please elaborate on how this system works?"
A: Playing tests are the main method that your child will be graded in band. They will have to play a short excerpt from something we have worked on in class for me and everyone else. EVERY student is required to play their playing test; HOWEVER, if for some reason your child is having an off day or is unprepared to take it they can opt out of playing the playing test that day in class. EVERY student, regardless of whether they took the playing test in class, has 1 week to retake the playing test AS MANY TIMES AS THEY WANT and I will take the BEST GRADE to put in the grade book.
If a student does not take their playing test and then never comes to me during Homeroom or STING time to retake their playing test then I will have to put a 0 in for their grade. It is the student's responsibility to be on top of their playing tests; not the director nor the parents.