Fall is always an exciting time of year. Beginning band students eagerly await learning to play an instrument for the first time, while returning students can look forward to learning new skills and refining techniques.
If your student is new to band this year, please wait until your student’s instrument choice is confirmed during the first week of class to rent your instrument. Your student should have a first AND a second choice of instrument in mind. If not, don’t worry! We will be discussing instrument selection on the first day of class. Many students learn about instruments they may not have considered previously, and they learn the importance of having a balanced blend of instrumentation throughout the band. I always try to honor each student’s first choice of instrument, but sometimes this is simply not possible. Certain instrument sections, such as saxophone and percussion, need to be smaller in order for all sections to be heard. Other instrument sections, such as flute, clarinet, and trumpet, can be larger. And we always need trombone and baritone players to play that all-important bass line!
It is not uncommon for students to express an interest in switching instruments. More often than not, this is due to a wonderful curiosity that is developed as young students learn and play with the variety of instruments found in any band! Another common reason is the frustration that inevitably arises when learning any instrument for the first time, and a student perceives another instrument to be “easier.” Of course, occasionally the instrument is simply not a good fit for the student. If your child expresses an interest in switching instruments, please consult with me so that we can work together to maximize his or her progress and enjoyment of music!
Of course, if your student has previous experience on an instrument, he or she should plan on continuing with that instrument unless other arrangements have been made. This will maximize your student’s progress.
Home practice is an absolutely essential component of any instrumental music program. All Oakwood band classes use SmartMusic, an interactive software program that can be installed onto any computer or iPad. Beginning this year, Oakwood will purchase students’ individual SmartMusic subscriptions. In class, students will receive a code that will enable them to log in to SmartMusic, set up their unique username and password, and “enroll” in their SmartMusic class. They will then be ready to receive and submit regular assignments using the program.
On the first day of class, students will receive a detailed syllabus stating class expectations, including grading policies and concert dates. Please read this over carefully with your student and mark concert dates on your calendar. Time flies by quickly, and our Winter Concert will be here before we know it!
I look forward to a fun and productive year with each student. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.