|Many parents know very little about what school band is all about Our philosophy is dedicated to the support of music education. We strive to make society better, one musician at a time.
You may have questions like the ones listed below. These are all great questions and we want to provide as much research and answers to you as possible.
Can my child play in the band?
The answer is: probably. If your child makes passing grades in the seventieth percentile or higher, they will most likely have the ability to be a good band student. Instrumental music actually helps the intelligence (I.Q.) of students. By the time they graduate from high school, many average students will excel at music. There are only a few physical problems which prevent people from playing a band instrument. These are rare and most can be overcome by matching the student with the correct instrument.
The most common question we get is concerning braces. Braces will cause some discomfort on instruments which press the lip into the teeth (flute, trumpet/cornet, trombone). This might discourage practice and therefore hender their progress. A child's desire is the biggest motivational factor there is, and we've all seen kids who "shouldn't" play a certain instrument excel.
As your beginning band student matures from a lowly sixth grade band member into young adulthood, you will be amazed at the emotions that they expel through their instrument. You might give some thought where these emotions will go without the music.
An old band director I knew used to have what I thought of as a very corny saying. He said, “teach a kid to blow a horn, and they will never blow a safe”. Corny it may be, but many people involved in music education have some version of the same idea.
Why should I want my child in the band?
An Education in Music Is an Education for Life!
Organized, sustained music study gives a student intellectual and creative advantages that will last a lifetime. The study of music allows students to gain an appreciation and understanding of some of civilization’s greatest achievements. Music nurtures skills and abilities that form the basis for success in any area of endeavor.
Because of all the things listed below, and many others, band students are, as a group, the best students. Typical East Texas school band members represent about twenty percent of the total school population. However, they usually represent about seventy-five percent of the National Honor Society and less than three percent of the school discipline problems. I ask you, isn't this where you want your son or daughter?
Important Skills Your Child Learns In Band
- Using Symbols: Learning to read, write, and interpret musical notation strengthens the use of other symbol systems such as mathematics and language. Some schools even give foreign language credit for the study of music.
- Making Good Value Judgments: Learning to comprehend, consider, and evaluate music can help your child make informed decisions and uphold value judgments in other aspects of life.
- Classifying Knowledge: The student musician learns to classify styles of music and to recognize how cultures use music for personal expression.
- Coordination: Hand and eye coordination working together are the ingredients for playing an instrument. These coordination skills transfer to many other aspects of life, like driving and sports. It is believed the the simultaneous use of both sides of the brain is what causes students to excel academically.
- Self-Confidence: Being able to go from learning notes and rhythms to producing meaningful music instills a sense of accomplishment, pride, and self-confidence.
- Teamwork: Every child wants to be part of a group. Band allows everyone to belong by being an important part of the team. Basketball coaches marvel that they can get five people to cooperate on the court. Think of 25 to 125 high school musicians playing as many as 4 notes in one beat of rhythm… and doing it together!
- Self-Discipline: A key ingredient in learning the basics of music and performance is self-discipline. The self-discipline transfers both to other school subjects as well as life in general. A study showed that medical schools prefer students with musical training partially because of this self-discipline.
- Creative Problem Solving: Learning the basics of musical language and interpreting a work through performance teaches the musician to understand a problem and reach an appropriate solution. The student learns to think more clearly.
- Communicating: Music offers the ability to cultivate our feelings and thoughts through non-verbal means, and to respond to these non-verbal thoughts in others.
- Emotions: We all know that adolescents are filled with complicated and intense emotions. Music is a positive way to express these feelings. A child who may not be able to tell their parents how much they love them can often express those feelings in a tender ballad, and can vent anger and passion through other musical forms.
- Comprehension: Learning to perceive and derive meaning from musical sounds sharpens the musician’s ability to comprehend abstractions.
- Reasoning Logically: When the student learns to analyze a musical work from all perspectives, or to improvise within a certain musical style, both inductive and deductive reasoning grows stronger.
What instrument should my child play?
In East Texas area schools most students will have been tested to answer this question before they are invited to join the band. It is a fact that a student may perform very well on one instrument and not be able to perform at all on another.
For this reason your director has usually tested your son or daughter for all kinds of physical characteristics. The list would include, but not be limited to, their overall size, shape of the lips, breath stream, length of the arm, length of the fingers, size of the fingers or hand, and several other traits.
Also taken into consideration is the student’s desire to play one instrument over another. Was the child able to produce any tone on the mouthpiece of a given instrument? Does the student “hear” or quickly recognize a given rhythm or tone?
If you wish your son or daughter to play an instrument that the band director has not listed on the band invitation, you should call or meet with them and discuss it. This can sometimes get “touchy”. Don’t be confrontational. The director is only trying to avoid kids dropping out of band because they fail to keep up with other students. Some kids want to play an instrument for which they are completely unsuited. For example, if a child wanted to play the flute and the lips are not shaped for the flute tone hole, they would have to work four times harder than a child with the same IQ, the same desire, and other similar physical characteristics. The director also has to "balance" his band. They can't have a band with 40 drummers! For your child's sake, give careful, prayerful consideration to what the band director tells you.
Most music stores, including ours, will let you rent or rent-to-own an instrument to get your child started in beginning band. We do this because we know that you have doubts about your young student’s desire or ability to play an instrument. The cost is very low and you can return the instrument for any reason. If it doesn’t work out for your child, it is not the end of the world and you're not stuck with a musical instrument that you don’t want.
Your director will almost always know by the end of the first six weeks grading period if your child has the talent and can do the work. You will know if the child still has the interest after the first few weeks of excitement.
What brand of instrument should I try to find?
You have decided to get into the school band. You know what instrument you need. Now let's talk about what “brand” of instrument you need.
It will take only a few minutes of your time on the Internet for you to learn that band instrument prices vary a lot. Flutes, for example, cost as little as $125.00 to tens of thousands of dollars. So, what should you get? Lets start with the term “student instrument”. Directors and musicians generally define a “student line instrument” as an instrument that is suitable for a fifth or sixth grade student to start band with and continue through high school. Just so you will know, about five to eight percent of the students in the East Texas area will decide to purchase a “professional instrument” before they graduate from high school.
All major brands make student, intermediate, and professional instruments. Yes, there really is a difference between a professional and student instrument as it applies to your student, even though they look a lot alike. It is not suggested that you purchase a professional instrument for a beginner. Most directors recommend that you purchase a student instrument for beginning band. For our discussion here, I hope it is enough to say that the differences are important for the success of your child.
Most East Texas directors will give you a list, or even the name and model number, of the instrument they want you to purchase. They do this because they don’t want their students or parents to waste money on instruments that will make it difficult or impossible for the child to succeed. However, they can't list every acceptable instrument as it would just confuse a buyer unfamiliar with the various brands. As long as you compare "apples to apples", there is not a significant difference in the quality of the major brands. Any major brand name student instrument is great for beginning band. If you find an instrument which is not specificially on your director's list, as long as it is good quality, most directors would be glad for you to get it.
Below is a list of things to look for.
- If the list price of a flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, cornet, or trombone is less than $700.00, forget it! Drum kits or percussion kits will be a little less. I know. Wow! That is a lot. Please do not make your child sit in a section with an inferior instrument working their hearts out only to give up thinking they have no talent, and think that for the rest of their life. In fact, they may have a lot of talent, but their horn will not perform to the same standard as the other kids.
- DO NOT purchase an instrument out right for the first six weeks of band. Give the director and yourself that long to be sure that the student both can, and is still interested in playing in the band. Get a rental/purchase instrument where you get a new horn for a trial period. The cost should be about $80.00 for the first two months. That will give you the time you need to decide, not feel rushed, and not feel pressured to stay with something that just isn't right for your child. On ocassion, the instrument chosen is just not a good match. The rental/purchase gives you the option of changing instruments without penalty (if done so in the trial period.) The most you can lose to give your child the best possible chance in music is only $60.00. After that, you can give the instrument back, purchase it, or pay it out.
- Never, ever purchase a band or wind instrument from a place where you can not see and talk to a QUALIFIED repair person in the store. DO NOT buy your horn where you are told that “they can send it off” or “mail it somewhere” or “some other store will take care of the repair”. Like your car, your instrument will need regular check-ups and maintenance. Every day it is in the mail or in transport, your kid is falling more and more behind.
- You should purchase or rental/purchase your instrument from a SCHOOL MUSIC DEALER. They have what you want, they know what you need, and they have the franchise and the warranty. Also, you will want to know that many of them have as good, or almost as good, a price as a cut-rate place or unseen places on the Internet. Isn't it worth a few extra dollars to look someone in the face, shake their hands, and know the name of the person you need to go to if there is a problem?
- DO NOT let anyone RUSH or PRESSURE you into a purchasing anything. You can always get reliable information and have prices for comparison by calling us at 903-593-3195. We have real people answering the phone.
What does it cost?
Most parents do not know whether their child is capable of playing a musical instrument. They are often reluctant to purchase one. Our Rental/Purchase plan allows you to lease an instrument with all the money going toward its purchase.
Here is how it works. You can either come into the store or call in and fill out a short form (name, address, etc.) and pay a fee. The fee is usually $80.00 including sales tax. This gives you the instrument to use for two months. This is done so you have a full grading period to see if your child has the talent for band, and if they still want to be in the band after the beginning excitement has worn off. At the end of the two months you have several options.
You may return the instrument and owe no more money. It cost you just $80.00 to give your child the best possible chance to succeed in music. Most of the kids who drop band do it during the first six weeks.
If you become confident that your child will stay in band, many parents take advantage of our substantial cash discounts and purchase the instrument. The first $80.00 goes toward the purchase price so you will lose none of your money. The cash discount price usually puts us in line with most of the Internet places, if not under them. For these customers we offer an attractive discount for cash, check, or payment by credit card. This price is good for 90 days after you take possession of the instrument.
If you wish, you may decide to purchase the instrument over time. The payments are easy for most families. This is the way that most of our customers buy their instruments. All the information is contained in the form that you fill out when you get the instrument. As long as your payments are up-to-date, you may return the instrument any time during the course of the contract and owe nothing else.