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; however, that does not exclude 5th and 6th grade students that have the desire to learn an instrument and begin their musical journey.  Starting at different times has its pros and cons, but if a student is willing to put forth the effort any hurdle can be easily jumped over.

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. Sargent. 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 Jr/Sr 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.

Scheduling

The ultimate goal of instrumental lessons is to have a consistent day that your child comes to lessons.  That way, there are no surprises for your child and accidentally forgetting an instrument on the day of a lesson.  When all students are accounted for (4th grade - 6th grade) with their instrument and lesson time, I can better fine-tune a schedule so that students are not missing the same coursework.

Scheduling will continue to be a work in progress.  Thank you for your patience.