Band: Frequently Asked Questions

What instruments are taught in beginning band? Beginning Band instruments include: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet and trombone. Students interested in percussion (snare drum & bells) must start on clarinet, trumpet or trombone. Instruction on the other “transfer” instruments (oboe, bassoon, bass clarinet, french horn, baritone and tuba) is offered to selected students beginning in the summer after 6th grade.

How do we select an instrument? We will individually meet with you and your child, during this summer, to assist in this important choice.

What if my child is interested in playing percussion? Much like the other transfer instruments, such as the oboe or french horn, certain natural abilities are essential for success. We will evaluate all interested students throughout the first nine-week term and begin percussion instruction during the second term. Those students who demonstrate a propensity toward success and the necessary level of diligence will be invited to play percussion.

If my child begins band now, will he/she be able to study a foreign language? Yes! Most of our band students begin their credit-bearing foreign language study in the 8th grade. The 6th grade exploratory foreign language is not offered for credit and is not a prerequisite for enrollment, or success, in the traditional, credit-bearing languages offered in the 8th grade. Many of our students also take “Honors” level classes, including advanced math courses (Algebra and/or Geometry). Current research confirms the study of music is one of the most effective tools to improve learning throughout a child’s academic curriculum

How do I obtain an instrument for my child? It is quite easy and cost effective to provide an instrument for your child through flexible rental programs available through local music stores. We highly recommend that all students begin with a rental.

Can I purchase an instrument from local department stores, membership clubs or over the Internet? It is of vital importance that your son / daughter begin their musical experience on an instrument which meets certain industry-wide standards of quality, materials, and workmanship. Instruments which may seem like a bargain, (often found on the internet, departments stores, and membership clubs) generally do not meet these industry standards and are often extremely difficult, if not impossible, to play properly. What seems to be a wise economical choice, in reality, becomes more expensive when one considers the cost of more frequent repairs and maintenance. Often these instruments cannot be repaired locally, leaving the student without an instrument while it is shipped back to the manufacturer for repair. Also, the difficulty and frustration your child may face in attempting to play these instruments is discouraging. The instrument list below, although not exhaustive, is a representation of companies that abide by these industry standards and produce a product suitable for the beginning band student.

What brands do we recommend? Instrument brands with an asterisk (*) are the director’s recommended brands. Currently, I believe the Yamaha product is the best student-line instrument available today. Based on many years of experience, Yamaha has proven to be simply the most consistent and well-built instrument for the middle school band student.

  • Flute: Yamaha (*), Gemeinhardt (*), Armstrong, Selmer
  • Clarinet: Yamaha (*), Buffet (*), Selmer, LeBlanc (may also be called Vito or Noblet)
  • Alto Saxophone: Yamaha (*), Jupiter (The Yamaha student sax is, in my opinion, so far superior to other instruments that it is difficult to recommend another brand.)
  • Trumpet / Trombone: Yamaha (*), Bach, Jupiter