Does my child have to read music to join Beginning Band?

Students are NOT expected to already be able to read music notation to join the band.

Does my child have to already play an instrument to join Beginning Band?

Students are NOT expected to already be able to play an instrument to join the band.

What year in school should my child start Beginning Band?

In the Granby Public Schools, band instruction begins in the 4th grade. Experience says that starting "late" is a significant disadvantage that is best overcome by acquiring a private instructor in addition to the regular instrumental lesson instruction. Parents should be aware that band is a progressive and sequential course of instruction - much like mathematics or foreign language. Students that start in the 5th grade are a year behind in instruction and typically don't do as well, but they can succeed.

Going to a new school seems to be such a significant adjustment for a 4th grader. Wouldn't it be better to wait until 5th grade to start band?

We have found that being able to have a positive peer group (like the band) to identify with from the beginning of the East Meadow School years is one of the best ways to make the change easily. Band provides an instant peer group that is focused in and on a positive activity. Band students on the average are some of the most successful students in the school.

How do I get an instrument for my child?

Gerry’s Music Shop of South Hadley services the Granby Music Program with weekly visits to Mr. Williams. That store is where the director recommends that parents go to get an instrument. Parents can shop where ever they would like, this is just a recommended store that serves the school.

How often do band classes meet and when?

Instrumental Lessons meet weekly at East Meadow for 30 minutes. Students are dismissed from their scheduled class to attend lessons and are responsible for making up all missed assignments and tests. Lesson times rotate weekly so that the same class is not missed weekly.

Beginning Band rehearsals meet twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, from February through May for 30 minutes. These rehearsals take place before school. Students are asked to arrive at 7:20am in order to be ready to begin rehearsal on stage by 7:30am.

How many performances do Beginner Band students have in one year?

Typically two: "A Performance Demonstration" at the April Open House and a Spring Concert in May or June.

Do I need to get a private teacher for my child?

No, but it is VERY beneficial and HIGHLY recommended – especially after sixth grade! Some students take summer lessons to maintain the skills they have developed during the school year. Please feel free to discuss lessons with me.

Can my child try band and quit if he/she doesn't like it?

Enrollment in Beginning Band Class is intended to be a year-long commitment. Changing schedules after enrollment causes problems in the school schedule and in band instrumentation balance. Recently, between 40% and 60% of the fourth grade student body has enrolled in the beginning band. There is a lot that is enticing about being in the band for the students. The East Meadow Bands feed into the Junior High Band, which feeds into the Granby High Band. The Granby High Band presents at least two concerts a year, performs at a UMass Football game annually as a part of a 3,000 member band called Band Day, and marches in the Granby Memorial Day Parade - so students have something very exciting to look forward to. Recently, 90% of beginners have successfully completed the first year and the retention rate for students joining the Junior High Band after 6th grade has been greater than 80%. These are very high figures compared with national averages and we are very proud of them in the Granby Band Program.

Here is a colleagues's podcast about making the decision to end instrument lessons and band.

What if I feel my child should not be "pulled" from another class or service?

Although our schedule is designed to have the least impact on what students are missing, there may be families with specific academic areas of concern. First, please review your child's schedule to confirm that it actually meets between 8:30 and 11:00 am. Second, consider the actual impact of the rotating schedule on that class/service and then consider the impact of periodically missing instrumental lessons. Third, you might consider discussing this with your child's teacher as well.

With the rotating instrumental schedule, students only receive 30 minutes of instruction, at most, every 7 days. When one lesson is missed, half a month passes between instrumental instruction.

If you do choose to have your child remain in certain classes, instead of attending instrumental lessons, please notify both your child's teacher and Mr. Williams of your preference and discuss this decision with your child. These missed lessons will not be made up and the responsibility for remaining in this class instead of attending lessons is that of the student and family, not Mr. Williams or the classroom teacher - although we will do our best to remember.