Band, Percussion, Windstars
Levels and Classes
There are two introductory classes for brand new students who wish to begin a musical instrument. There are 4 regular levels of band, grouped by experience, not age or grade.
Band students need to be a minimum of 8 yrs old by the time the semester starts.
Band classes can hold unlimited students. However, the introductory classes may be split into smaller groups if the classes are very large, in order to give the beginning students as much individual attention as possible.
For students who want to begin a brand new band instrument, there are two divisions of the beginning classes. Windstars is for students 8-9. Intro Band is for students 9+. New students will be evaluated and recommended for either Intro Band OR Windstars, based on age, physical maturity, previous musical experience, manual dexterity, or other factors. Unlike string instruments, band instruments tend to be very large and heavy. The point is to give each new student an instrumental experience that is encouraging, fun, and educationally appropriate to their current age and physical maturity. All beginning students are required to attend the Musical Instrument Demo before the semester starts. Check the NEWS page for date and time.
Windstars is a two-semester series of classes for students 8-9 yrs old. The two semesters of Windstars come before the one semester of Intro Band. Students will be given modified or alternate wind instruments (NUVO instruments) which fit their physical maturity in a way that makes playing much more comfortable. By the third semester (Intro Band), students will transition over to the standard band instruments. After completion of Intro Band and a successful testup, students will advance to Band 1.
Intro Band is a one-semester class for students who are at least 9 yrs old. Students need to be physically mature enough to handle the standard musical instruments. After completion of Intro Band and a successful testup, students will advance to Band 1.
Band classes are for students 8-18. The 4 levels are: 1-elementary, 2-middle, 3-intermediate, 4-advanced. Private lessons are always encouraged at any level, but not required for any level of band, except level 4. Students are leveled by experience, not by age or grade. In order to enroll in any level of band, a returning student must pass the testup for a level, or, in the case of new transfer students, audition for a level of band.
Testups and Auditions
New transfer students who already know how to play an instrument need to audition in order to be placed in the level that best fits their previous experience. Students should be prepared to show what music, scales, or books were previously studied.
Returning students always register for the same level they attended the previous semester. Students are never required to testup until ready, and can stay in their current level of band as long as they are comfortable. When ready for a testup, students will show that they have mastered all material from their syllabus, including scales/arpeggios, rhythms, good tone and intonation, reading, correct fingerings and alternates, articulations, or anything else that was learned.
All students in band classes are required to participate in the final semester concert. Each participating family will contribute to the cost of renting an auditorium (usually around $10-12). The combined dress rehearsals immediately before the concert are also required attendance.
Required Books and Materials
Windstars: a musical instrument will be provided and rented from FAYM ($15). The class book will be purchased from FAYM ($10). A workbook will be purchased from FAYM ($5). Students must bring their own music stand and pencil. A Metronome is also required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Intro Band: students must provide their own musical instrument, music stand, class book (Book TBA), and pencil. A workbook will be handed out in class ($5). A metronome is required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Band 1: students must provide their own musical instrument, music stand, class book (Book TBA), and pencil. A workbook will be handed out in class ($5). A metronome is required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Band 2: students must provide their own musical instrument, music stand, class book (Book TBA), and pencil. A metronome and tuner are required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Band 3: students must provide their own musical instrument, music stand, class book (Book TBA), and pencil. A metronome and tuner are required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Band 4: This is the only level of band that requires a private teacher. Students must provide their own musical instrument, music stand, class book (Book TBA), and pencil. A metronome and tuner are required for practice. A SmartMusic account is required ($9).
Percussion students in levels Intro, 1, 2, 3, and 4 will enroll in BOTH the Percussion class AND the corresponding Band level class. There is no extra charge for enrolling in both classes (both classes combined only count as ONE class).
Percussion class will focus on basic percussion technique, snare and timpani, other accessory instruments, sticking, and rhythm reading exercises. The corresponding band level class will focus on the mallet instruments. This is not Rock Band Drum class! Students should understand that they will be taught as concert percussionists, learning all percussion instruments found in a typical concert band or orchestra. A small amount of drumset will be included in the class, but it is not the main focus of the class!
In addition to the materials required above, percussionists also need these items: Percussion Kit (snare drum and bell kit in one rolling case), snare sticks and bell mallets (some stores do not include them in the instrument kit), and the drum book Fundamental Studies for Snare Drum by Garwood Whaley.
Other Instrument-Specific Things to Get
The standard care kits that are sold at music stores typically contain a lot of items that you don't need, such as pad powder (don't use it!) and key oil (a well-regulated instrument should not need it), and the cleaning swabs in those kits either don't work well or tend to get stuck in the instrument. It's cheaper and better to get just what you need:
Flute: a clean hanky or similar cloth for cleaning/drying
Oboe: cork grease, a minimum of 3 reeds (medium) and silk oboe swab
Clarinet: cork grease, a minimum of 3 reeds - Rico Orange Box, size 2.5 (size 2 is too soft!), clarinet swab
Sax: cork grease, padded neck strap, a minimum of 3 reeds - Rico Orange Box, size 2.5 (size 2 is too soft!), sax swab
Bassoon: a minimum of 3 reeds, medium; bassoon swab, seat strap, cork grease
Trumpet, Horn, Euphonium, Tuba: valve oil and tuning slide grease, hanky or cleaning cloth
Trombone: tuning slide grease, slide oil, hanky or cleaning cloth, small spray bottle for water
Where to Get Instruments And Supplies
Online Sources for books include: SheetMusicPlus.com, Amazon, and J.W.Pepper.
Band and percussion students need to provide their own instrument to play in any of the ensembles. Instruments can be purchased, either new or used, or may be rented. Most of the local music stores have very reasonable prices when renting an instrument, and even offer special pricing for the first few months.
Where to get band and percussion instruments: KBI, Music and Arts, Bang Music, etc. Please do NOT to go Guitar Center for a band or percussion instrument. We've had several problems in the past with Guitar Center selling the wrong instrument to families. Go to Guitar Center if you want a guitar, not if you want a band or percussion instrument. You want to go to a store that specializes in school band instrument rental and sales. Please do not buy a brand X instrument from eBay!
*FAYM owns a FEW instruments (larger or harder to find instruments, such as tuba, euphonium, trombone, bass clarinet, bari sax, tenor sax, and bassoon) that may be available for students to play. Quantities are very limited. The rental fee for a FAYM instrument is $15 per month. Please email FAYMdirector@gmail.com for availability.
WARNING: Please be aware of cheap brand X or Chinese instruments that can be found on eBay and in discount stores. These instruments tend to break down easily, and many of the local music stores have refused to repair these instruments because parts cannot be found. This is a classic example of "you get what you pay for." Your best bet is to either rent from the local music stores or buy a reputable brand name, either new or used. The student will enjoy playing and progress better on an instrument that is in good working order. Please don't be afraid to ask if you need an opinion on an instrument that you are considering purchasing. (Good brand names include Yamaha, Selmer, Jupiter, Artley, Vito, Bundy, King, Emerson, Fox, Armstrong, Gemeinhart, Buffet, Conn, Bach, Getzen, among others.)