Future Band Members

5th Grade Parent Information

HOW TO JOIN BAND

  1. Decide if Band is right for you.
  2. Select Band as your #1 elective choice on your schedule sheet!
  3. Use the Instrument Selection Guide to choose 3 instruments you would like to try. Keep an open mind about trying instruments – they are all very fun to play! The directors will help you pick the one that is just right for you.
  4. Instrument tryouts will happen in the Spring semester, in either March or April.

You will be fitted for at least 3 instruments that night and will be informed what class and instrument you will play sometime in late APRIL.

Reading all of this in the summer time??  It is not too late!  Specific classes may be full, but you can still easily join the Timberview Middle School Band!  Email Mr. Straten.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Band:

  1. When does the band class meet?

6th grade band meets as a regular class for 45 minutes every day for the entire school year.  Students are grouped into classes according to what instrument they play.  The teacher-pupil ratio is kept low to facilitate individual supervision of student progress. Skills develop slowly at first.  Therefore, students and parents must be patient and committed for the entire school year in order to get the full benefit of band instruction! Skills developed during beginner band are to prepare students for 7th and 8th grade, so it is very important they commit to get the best results.

  1. What instruments are available?

Beginners can start on flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and percussion. We will help you choose the instrument that is best for you at our instrument selection drive in the spring semester, once you’ve signed up for band.

  1. Is any previous musical training necessary?

No!  The method books used in beginner band are for the musically untrained student. We teach the fundamentals of reading music as well as the fundamentals of playing an instrument.  As students progress, you will be able to recognize familiar tunes (by the time of our Winter Concert, you should be very impressed!). Their progress culminates in the Spring Concert at the end of the year.

  1. Can my child be successful even if I don’t have musical talent?

Of course! The most important requirement for success is the desire to succeed. We instruct students from a very basic, yet detailed approach to learning the instrument. Students are taught basic fundamental building blocks that will make them successful throughout their senior year in the Timber Creek High School Band and beyond!

  1. Are certain instruments for girls and others for boys?

Absolutely NOT! Instrument choices are not based on a student’s gender, but rather their desire to play that instrument.  Selection is based primarily upon the facial characteristics of the student and other physical characteristics that make specific instruments a better “fit”.  Trust your band directors!

  1. When do students need instruments?

Instruments will be needed on the SECOND day of school.  Storage lockers for all instruments is provided in the band hall.  Please make sure that the case is labeled with your child’s name.  Don’t wait too long!  Most music companies run out of stock in July AND raise their prices to take advantage of late renters/buyers!  We will have a recommended, local music company available at school on a separate date for you to reserve an instrument for the fall.  Follow our instructions during the spring semester and you’ll be in great shape!

  1. Should I rent or purchase an instrument?

RENT! Renting an instrument will give your child the opportunity to begin in band with only a small initial investment.  Your child can have the advantages of a brand new beginner model instrument; such as pride of ownership, freedom from error due to poor equipment, and the opportunity to be the best player they can be by having the best available instrument for their age level!  Your child will have the instrument and mouthpiece recommended by the band directors.  After their beginner year, most instruments require an upgrade to a professional model.

The instrument can be returned to the company at any time without further obligation. All rental payments are applied towards the purchase of the instrument and typically come with a repair plan option, so any repair that is needed is covered with no additional cost.

  1. What about buying used instruments?

Some used instruments are good bargains.  HOWEVER, you could possibly end up spending more money on repairs than the instrument is worth if it is not of good quality. For this reason, we ask that if you do purchase a used instrument to please contact a Timberview Band Director to examine it prior to purchase to make sure it will be okay for your child.  Local music stores and former band students are excellent sources of used instruments, provided it is an instrument on our Recommended Instrument and Supplies List.  You might see if the music companies have used instruments available.  We have found most pawnshop instruments to be of dubious quality.  WARNING: Please do not purchase a musical instrument from a department store!!  These instruments, in our opinion, are poorly made with inferior materials that, once broken, are not usually repairable and most local music stores will refuse to do any repairs on them.  Again, we recommend that you RENT an instrument the first year from a reputable music company.  We INSIST on every student having the recommended mouthpiece so that no student has a competitive advantage over another and so all students sound the same.

  1. Are there any school owned instruments available?

Yes.  The school provides the larger and more expensive instruments: oboe, bassoon, french horn, euphonium & tuba.  These are assigned on the basis of aptitude, suitability, and availability – NOT financial need.  Parents whose child is selected to play one of these school instruments are required by KISD to pay a $100 annual usage fee, and will still be required to purchase necessary accessories such as a mouthpiece, books, and reeds/valve oil.  Due to the unique nature and difficulty of the oboe, bassoon, french horn, and percussion instruments, it is CRITICAL that they take weekly private lessons. This offsets the cost paid by others from renting monthly from a music store.  These instruments can be challenging and considered specialty instruments.  If you are unable to take lessons, you should not elect to play them.  Private lessons for ALL instruments lessons are strongly encouraged!

  1. Can my child start playing as soon as he/she gets an instrument?

NO! In order to prevent costly repairs and the formation of bad habits, we prefer that the instrument stay in the case during the summer.  Instruments will stay in the storage room of the band hall during the first week of school.  After formal instruction is given on the care and assembly of the instrument during the first week of school, your child will begin taking their instrument home.  This is to protect your investment!  When you rent/purchase from a music company, the store will deliver the instrument and materials to our band hall before the first day of school.  An additional option for eager students is to start band this SUMMER with one of the Private Lesson teachers on our staff (with the approval of Mr. Straten). This is a chance to get one-on-one help and be set-up for success with one of the professional musicians who teach on our campus each week.  The teachers understand that some lessons might have to be rescheduled due to family vacations.

  1. Can my child participate in both athletics and band at the same time? Band and Choir? Band and Orchestra? Band & Theatre Arts?

YES! If it fits on your schedule, we make it work with ease.  There are many middle school students who are in band, athletics,and other organizations such as theatre arts, choir, etc.  Because of the unique nature of playing a musical instrument, we try to encourage students to begin band in 6th grade and then take other electives along with band in their 7th  & 8th grade years.  If you want your child to learn a band instrument, you will need to put band as your FIRST CHOICE for an elective.  In 7th grade & 8th grade, the school administration, coaches, classroom teachers and band directors work together to try to avoid conflicts in scheduling as much as possible. We have current Timberview MS Band members who are also in 7th & 8th grade football, volleyball, basketball, math/science team, cheerleading, choir and school theater productions!

  1. Are there any extra rehearsals required?  Concerts?

Beginners are required to attend only three (3) performances their first year:  the Winter Concert in December, Beach Within Reach Band contest in April, and our Spring Concert in May.  There will be one after-school rehearsal prior to each of the three concerts. Other than these few performances & rehearsals, there are NO after school responsibilities or activities in 6th grade.  We also have a few fun social events throughout the year (Main Event, Hurricane Harbor, etc,) – there are even more in 7th and 8th grade!

  1. Will my child be required to practice at home?

YES! Students are required, as a part of their grade, to practice 15-30 minutes at least 6 days a week outside of class.  As with all things, communication is key if your student has a “busy week.”  We do not want anyone to worry or get stressed out, but there is homework in every class, including band (it’s just more FUN to do band homework!). They record their time on a “Practice Record”, which is turned in and graded on a weekly basis.  For home practice, students are to purchase a folding music stand and a combo metronome/tuner (electronic time-keeper) which is all included in the beginner kits purchased from the music store. We have found that these items are important in carrying the classroom experiences over to home practice.  Parents are encouraged to give positive support to the student as he/she progresses.  All instruments are required to be taken home every day even if they cannot practice that evening.

  1. Do the grades my child receives in other classes effect participation in band?

Although your band directors stress academic success in all subjects, grades do not effect participation in beginner band (much). When going into the 7th & 8th grade bands (and the Timber Creek High School Band), students will be competing in both individual and group competitions.  Students are required by state law to be passing in all subjects before being allowed to compete (House Bill 72 – “No Pass, No Play”).  However, grades do not effect the daily participation and membership in band, or participation in concerts.  It only effects competitions.

  1. Are private lessons available?  Are they required?

Private lessons are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED for all students, but are not required.  If your child takes private lessons, he/she will receive one-on-one instruction from a professional musician/educator (many of which have multiple graduate degrees). Lessons are held once a week at Timberview Middle School (supervised by a band director) at a cost of $19 per half hour.  Private lessons help challenge faster-paced students and strengthen slower-paced students.  Again, they are not required, but above average results are almost guaranteed!  It is better to RENT a less expensive instrument and participate in the private lessons program than to purchase a top line instrument and not take lessons!  Lessons are important and are the back-bone of our band program’s success!

  1. What other costs can we expect throughout the year?

Students will be required to purchase their band books, proper accessories to maintain their instrument, a band t-shirt that will be worn as their band uniform and pay small transportation and contest fees (total of $15).  Private lessons are strongly recommended. Information will be sent home regarding the price of private lessons.  Lessons are not required but are extremely helpful to all students. We ask that all students participate in band fundraisers since the cost of many paper, music, supplies, clinicians, master classes, etc., comes out of our yearly budget that we must raise funds for.

  1. Why do some beginning band classes have limited enrollment?

Some of our band classes have limited enrollment due to the availability of school owned instruments.  If we only own 10 tubas, we can only start 10 tubas.  We also have to limit enrollment in classes in order to fill out normal band instrumentation.  Each grade level needs proper instrumentation (correct number of instruments) to play the level of literature that our performing bands play in 7th/8th grade.  We also need to consistently send every instrument to Timber Creek High School for their success.  Band is like a recipe.  For example: it takes several ingredients to bake a cake. In order to build strong band instrumentation the ingredients are flutes, oboes, bassoons, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, french horns, trombones, euphoniums, tubas, and percussion.  The more students that join, the band will increase the number of instruments offered in each section.  Instrumentation is all based on percentages.  In order for a band to be successful, all instruments are needed and that instrumentation must remain solid from 6th grade beginning band, through middle school, and up through high school.

If you have any questions, please email Mr. Straten – ryan.straten@kellerisd.net