Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment

How do I register my child for Band/Orchestra/Chorus?

Use the Google Form on our Enrollment page to register. A copy of your enrollment form will be emailed to you once you submit.

Can my child join band and chorus? What about orchestra and chorus? Band and orchestra?

Students may join band and chorus OR orchestra and chorus. They cannot join both band and orchestra due to scheduling conflicts.

Class Structure

When will these classes meet?

Band, orchestra and chorus classes will start the week of September 21st during asynchronous learning blocks. This means students will not be "pulled out" of any other classes or miss any instructional time for other subjects. Check your student's Canvas calendar for information on their specific class time as well as the Google Meet link once they are enrolled.

How often will class meet?

Band and orchestra students will receive two 25 minute synchronous lessons each week. Chorus students will receive one 25 minute synchronous lesson each week.

Are Band, Orchestra, and Chorus graded?

Yes, all three are graded courses and will appear on your student's report card at the end of Q2 and Q4 for the 2020-21 school year. Students will be graded on mastery of curricular skills as well as on attendance at synchronous classes and completion of asynchronous assignments.

Obtaining an Instrument and Supplies

Where can I get an instrument and supplies?

Any of the local music stores will have everything you need in stock. Please DO NOT purchase instruments and supplies from Amazon or other online websites unless they are on the recommended brands list! I want to be sure you are investing your money in equipment and materials that will last for the entire school year.

Do I have to buy an instrument?

No! In fact, I strongly advise AGAINST buying an instrument at this time. Beginner instruments start at a few hundred dollars and go up from there. That's a lot of money to spend on something that your student may not continue to be involved in. I recommend renting or participating in a "rent-to-own" program from a reputable music store.

What is rent-to-own?

Rent-to-own is a payment plan that many music stores offer. It works just like it sounds. You are renting the instrument from the store on a month by month basis (so you do not have to pay for the full price of the instrument). Over time you can come to own the instrument because a certain amount of the monthly payment goes to owning the instrument, similar to earning equity in a car or house.

What about this $100 dollar instrument I found online?

Would you buy an engagement ring from the dollar store? What about a brand new, shiny car for $3,000? Likely not. The quality of those items is probably very sub-par. Quite simply put, these $100 dollar instruments are made with thin metal/wood that bends and cracks with minimal effort. The solder and glue is used as sparingly as possible. I have seen over and over the heartbreak a student feels when their instrument is not playable just days after receiving it. And repairing it is often not an option because repair shops refuse to work on an instrument that may not be able to stay fixed for any length of time. If there is one single decision a parent can make to help their student in music, PLEASE don't fall for the attractive price. A musical instrument is an investment in your student's success in band and orchestra class. Refer to the Recommended Brands page for good brands to look for and contact Ms. Bryant with any questions before purchasing if you choose to do so.

We need help obtaining materials for our student! What do I do?

Email Ms. Bryant at jaclyn_bryant@hcpss.org and she will gladly help you with obtaining an instrument and supplies for your student to participate in band or orchestra.

Practicing

Do students have to practice at home?

YES! Individual practice is the key to being successful, no matter what ensemble your child is in. At this age, students are expected to practice 10-15 minutes a day, for 5 days a week. Practicing for short, consistent chunks is much more important than practicing long hours in one block because it will reinforce daily the skills that they are learning.

Tips for Families to Help Students Succeed

Set up a consistent practice time in their schedule

Just like with math and reading, students who consistently do their homework (practicing) will progress faster and be less frustrated than those who do not work on their music assignments consistently at home.

Encourage your student to perform for you!

Be supportive! Ask them to play or sing you something they've been working on. Invite them to play for visiting relatives and friends, in person or over the phone/internet. Praise their achievement and effort, even if they make mistakes.

Don't expect a lot of progress at first

Students in band and orchestra especially might not sound "good" at first, and that is okay! What's important is they continually work to improve. Remember, they are beginning what can be a lifelong journey as a musician and positive feedback is crucial to helping students build their confidence during the learning process.

Make sure your child is attending all classes and has all the supplies/materials they need for class

Supplies, specifically for band/orchestra, will need to be replenished over the year based on the list on the Required Materials page. Please make sure your student has what they need to be successful!

Treat band, orchestra, and chorus as a year-long academic commitment

Music is a part of the core curriculum under the Common Core standards and should be treated as a class, not a hobby or a club. Please do not "take away" music class from a student or use practicing as a punishment - this is the equivalent of taking away their math class or not letting them do their reading homework. If there are issues, please contact Ms. Bryant or Mr. Javorsky so we can work together to help your student succeed.