All students are asked to make a minimum one-year commitment to their instrument of choice. Only if for some physical reason, you or I feel that your child is having difficulty in succeeding on the instrument, I will be receptive to changing instruments.
Families are asked to supply their child with the following items: a quality beginning level instrument (see more information about this below), a Standard of Excellence band method book, basic instrument supplies (reeds, oil, cleaning materials), and a one year computer online subscription to SmartMusic to practice and submit assignments at home. This information will be discussed at the Instrument Rental Night.
Since I began directing the program in Granby, 40-60% of the 4th grade students have enrolled in Beginning Band. We are very proud of this high participation rate compared to national average of 20-25%. In addition, more than 90% of beginners successfully complete the first year and the retention rate for students joining the Junior High Band after 6th grade has been above 80%.
In the event you come to the conclusion that your child will not be continuing with the instrumental music program, please speak with Mr. Williams before committing to that decision.
All students are scheduled for a rotating half-hour pullout lesson each week during the school day between 8:30 and 11:00a. Each student is asked to bring his/her instrument, method book, and a working pencil to their lesson. If the student does forget, and no one is able to bring them to school in time, the student is still expected to come to the lesson. When a student does miss a lesson, the student should continue practicing the previously assigned lessons and try the next exercises on their own. All students must make up all classroom work missed during the half-hour lesson. This has usually not been a problem in the past.
Most lesson assignments, after about two months, will be able to be practiced and submitted with SmartMusic at home.
The first lesson will be longer than a half-hour for some instrument groups. This is necessary to help the student get started properly.
On the first Tuesday or Thursday of February, the beginning instrumental students begin their band ensemble experience with rehearsals before school on both Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 7:30am (they should arrive about 7:20a to be ready to start). These rehearsals are required along with the weekly scheduled lesson. Students may be dropped off or may ride the high school bus which will drop them off at East Meadow.
The Beginning Band students will have an open rehearsal for parents on the first day of Beginning Band in February. Dress for this is regular school clothes.
The Beginning Band will have a demonstration at the end of the East Meadow Open House, usually scheduled for April. Dress for this event is regular school clothes.
The only formal concert this year for Beginning Band is usually scheduled for one of the last two Thursdays of May at 6:30pm at the East Meadow Stage. All instrumental students are expected to perform and concert dress is expected – start planning now. Concert dress is Semi-Formal: boys: dress shoes and socks, slacks, and shirt (tie is optional) – Girls: dress, skirt and blouse, or slacks and blouse with dress shoes and socks or hose. Please no athletic sneakers, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. This is an important and special occasion in the students’ lives.
End of the Year Ice Cream Social
The East Meadow beginning band, advanced band and chorus students are treated to an after-school celebration usually scheduled on the Thursday following the Spring Concert, sponsored by the Granby Music Parents’ Association.
Quality Beginning Level Instruments
Unfortunately, there are many inexpensive instruments sold on the internet and sometimes in large chain stores. Unfortunately, experience has shown that these are inadequate for student musicians and their families. Although some play just fine brand new, they are often not able to be maintained and repaired due to substandard and non-uniform parts. Please ask me about an instrument before purchasing on your own.
It is often more economical to at least initially rent to assure your student musician has a high quality beginning band instrument to develop foundation skills on. Then, if an ongoing rental program is not possible, it may be possible to find a quality used instrument to repair. Mr. Williams may also be able to secure a school instrument or a donated instrument. All these are advisable over a poor quality instrument.