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Q. Does my child need to be able to read music to join the band?
A. No, the band director will teach your child how to read music, how to play the instrument and how to handle and care for the instrument.
Q. My child takes piano lessons, how will this affect learning to play a band instrument?
A. The music reading skills and coordination your child has gained from studying the piano will be very helpful in learning to play a band instrument. Many students study both piano and a band instrument, with half their practice time allotted to each.
Q. How much time should my child practice at home?
A. Each band director has different expectations as to home practice, so please consult your child's band teacher for specifics. In general, we suggest scheduling home practice sessions either before or after other homework or as a break in the middle of other homework. Providing your child with a quiet place and a regular time to practice will ensure success. Remember that 5 minutes of home practice is better than none at all.
Q. How did you determine the instrument that was recommended for my child?
A. After an instrument demonstration assembly, students were asked to think about which instruments they preferred. Later, your child was tested on several instrument mouthpieces (or given a rhythm skills test for drums). For wind instruments various factors such as the shape of the mouth and teeth, ability to coordinate facial muscles, and hand/arm size are taken into consideration. For potential drummers, factors such as eye/hand coordination and rhythmic memory are considered. With these factors and your child's personal preference in mind, a recommendation was made to help you and your child choose an instrument that they will enjoy learning to play.
Q. My child has braces or is going to get braces. Will this prohibit learning to play a band instrument?
A. Many orthodontists agree that braces will not severely limit your child's participation in band. Any instrument can be played with braces.
LESSONS: Band students receive a small group instrument lesson once a week during the regular school day. A special scheduling system is used so that the instument lessons do not impede academic performance. Lesson material includes learning to read music, the aspects of playing the instrument, and instrument maintenance.
BAND: Students also meet in Full Band rehearsal where they learn to follow a conductor and perform as a group. They study & learn to appreciate a wide variety of music. The Full Band rehearsals are usually scheduled during lunch recess or study hall.
CONCERTS: Students will be featured in at least two concerts per school year (usually in December and May). In addition to performing in the group band setting, solos and small ensembles are encouraged. There are additional opportunities that may be available to advanced students including Solo and Ensemble Contest/Recital, Band Festival, and Honor Bands.
INSTRUMENT: If your child is going to use a used instrument, have it checked by an instrument repair person to be sure it is in top playing condition. If you need an instrument, you may rent a new instrument at the music store of your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Point of view of some parents after their child had started Band
(courtesy of “Be Part of the Band”)
How learning an instrument can benefit the brain
(courtesy of “TED-Ed”)
Quotes From Past Band Students That Our Teachers Have Worked With
“MusicAlliance has provided me with many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. Participating in a MusicAlliance band program has helped me better myself as a musician and as a person. Had I not participated in a MusicAlliance band program, I am certain that I would be a very different person today.
The support of my MusicAlliance teachers gave me the skill and confidence needed to audition for the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony. I performed in this group all throughout high school and I even traveled to Europe with the organization two summers ago. Currently, I am a member of my college athletic band, university band, and I am a secretary of my college marching band. I am also an active brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, which is an honorary band service fraternity. Participating in a MusicAlliance band program has led me to some of my best friends, best memories, and best experiences of my life.”
~ Alexander Monreal
“My name is Lauren Welich-Holtman and I am a board certified music therapist. I have a fulfilling career where I get to help people by using music and I have MusicAlliance teacher and administrator Debbie Blechman to recognize and thank. The discovery for my love of music started in elementary school. I started saxophone when I was in the fourth grade. Struggling in school socially and sometimes academically was challenging for me, but Debbie Blechman fostered a bully free environment and everyone was expected to be kind to one another. I finally felt that I fit in and was good at something. I also went from a student who earned B’s and C’s on their report card to A’s and B’s by the fifth grade. Band gave me confidence and helped teach me discipline.
Fast forward to today. I am now using music in my own way to help people. I couldn’t have done it without the foundation that was provided for me by Debbie Blechman. Music is an amazing tool, and a necessity for humanity.”
~ Lauren Welich-Holtman, MT-BC
“I started band when I was in 4th grade, starting on the saxophone, and there was no way of knowing the impact being in band would have on my life. I continued with band through high school, eventually majored in music in college, and I am currently finishing my Master's in Saxophone Performance at The University of Akron. My career goal is to be a professor of saxophone at some capacity, after attending school for my Doctorate in Musical Arts in Saxophone Performance. I would not be here if it wasn't for my band directors who were involved in the MusicAlliance band program, helping me get started and show me how much fun music is and how much it truly helped me throughout my life.“
~ Matthew Riley
“Being involved in a school band program like the ones offered by MusicAlliance had a profound impact on my life in so many ways and was one of the very best experiences I can recall from my youth. I immediately fell in love with playing the saxophone when I first joined in the school band in 4th grade and I enjoyed performing for others at band concerts. As an elementary school student, participating in band allowed me to make new friends quickly and it really helped me become more outgoing and social. Being in band helped me feel “comfortable in my own skin” because I felt that I had found a place where I belong. I loved playing in band! It was always one of the highlights of the school week for me. As I grew older and developed more musical skills, I appreciated the opportunity to take private lessons and to participate in honor bands and solo & ensemble contests. These activities challenged me and helped me grow as a musician and as a person. Looking back, I realize that my school band program provided me with a solid musical background that served me well when I decided to study music in college.
Being involved in the school band as a child also helped me develop many of the life skills that are important to have as an adult. By studying music and participating in my school band program, I learned about time management, organization, leadership, setting the right example for others, and being on time and prepared for classes/lessons. Through music instruction, I was encouraged to be creative and also learned crucial problem-solving skills. I started to learn all of these valuable life skills and lessons by participating in my school band.
Ultimately, participating in band gave me a life-long love of music that is still with me to this day and has shaped my career as a band director with MusicAlliance. I am honored to work for such a great organization with an exceptional and hard-working teaching staff that truly cares about all of our students. Being in my school band program gave me so many wonderful experiences as a student, and I am very pleased that I can share my love of music as a teacher with MusicAlliance and give back to today’s students.”
~ Jason Werden