Families should attend this meeting whether they already have an instrument or plan to rent. The initial informational portion will be less than 30 minutes, at which time families who already have instruments are welcome to depart.
Families renting an instrument must first see Mr. Williams to register (parent and student, if possible) for your instrument of choice. Sometimes there are physical considerations and instrument limitations that I feel should be discussed prior to finalizing your choice.
Proceed to the Gerry’s Music Shop tables to arrange for the instrument that you and I have agreed upon and the corresponding band method book. The purchase of a music stand is also recommended and is sold at registration at a discounted price. (Please have a driver's license and credit card with you.)
Rented instruments will be delivered to me, as students should not attempt to play their instruments prior to their first lesson. Some instruments can be easily damaged and bad playing habits can be developed very quickly. Students will receive their rental instruments during their first lesson.
If you have an old instrument, especially a woodwind instrument that has been sitting around for a number of years, chances are it will not play properly without some repairs. Sometimes a woodwind instrument will play fine for a few days until the felt pads fail and then students have an instrument that no longer plays properly. I strongly recommend that you rent an instrument until your instrument can be evaluated for reconditioning. It is much easier for a beginner to start on a properly working instrument and, due to the large repair/reconditioning load in September/October, repair shops may not be able to have your instrument ready in time for lessons. ALL STUDENTS MUST HAVE AN INSTRUMENT FOR THEIR FIRST LESSON THE LAST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER. If you do use your own instrument, you will still need to purchase a band method book - Standard of Excellence, Book 1.
The beginning band instruments are: flute, oboe (limited), clarinet, alto saxophone (limited), trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone horn, and percussion [total percussion: bell kit with snare drum] (limited). It is extremely important that we achieve a proper balance of instrumentation, so please have a minimum of 3 choices of instruments. We need a lot of clarinets, trumpets, horns, trombones and baritones. Often too many students sign up for flute, saxophone and percussion – and honestly too many do not continue. Those who select horn, trombone, and baritone are in smaller lesson groups and tend to still be playing years later. Therefore we must limit the number of students beginning on these other instruments. Remember that all instruments provide the opportunity for musical experience, growth and fun!
A special note regarding oboe and horn: These two wind instruments are especially excellent choices for students who enjoy singing and welcome a special challenge. Some piano experience is also a great advantage, but is not mandatory.
A special note regarding percussion: Total Percussion is the most demanding instrument as student must learn both pitched (bells/xylophone) and non-pitched (snare, bass drum, cymbals, etc.) percussion instruments. Some piano experience is also a great advantage for pitched percussion, but is not mandatory.