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August 5th, 2009 Dear Parent(s): Welcome to those of you who are considering membership in the BAICA beginning band program. We hope this will be the beginning of a long and successful association with music. Learning how to play a band instrument can be a very rewarding experience. Researchers in child development have identified music as one of the seven intelligences, just as important as linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. Music provides an avenue for creativity and self-expression. Participating in music adds richness to the quality of life. Students who learn to play an instrument learn discipline and how to cooperate with others. Students participating in music tend to earn higher grades in all subjects and score higher on standardized tests than those not involved in music. Students in grades four through twelve have the opportunity to participate in the school band program. Band class is after-school (3:54 – 4:50) Monday - Thursday. Although instruction is provided, students are expected to provide their own instrument, music stand (for home practice) and any other required equipment such as reeds or valve oil. These can be obtained from most local music stores. There are several steps to join band, which are outlined below. 1. Choosing an Instrument - It is very important that students choose an instrument that they can be successful with. Each student will be better suited to some instruments than others. Students should choose the instrument that is the most natural fit for them. Students who choose an instrument they are well suited to, will produce good-sounding notes easily, and can focus their energy and practice on learning songs, notes, and rhythms. Students who choose an instrument they are not well suited to, often struggle to make any sound at all. These students become frustrated as they "fight with the instrument" while other students in their class are easily learning new and fun songs. Choosing the proper instrument is the most important aspect of signing up for band. Therefore we’ve included information about each instrument. Please read this information carefully! It might also be a good idea to visit a local music store that has the instrument your child is interested in to try it out and make sure this is the instrument that best suits your child. Percussion If your child likes to pound on things at home, please don't assume he or she will make a good drummer! Most kids associate drums as starting out on a drum set like they see in Rock bands. The modern Concert band does not have drummers, but percussionists. The Percussion family is an interesting case, because every member of the percussion section in band must play every instrument in the section. Players of these instrument are unique in that they don’t just play one instrument. Percussion players are responsible for learning an entire family of instruments. Beginning percussion students may learn the bells, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, and several other small percussion instruments. Young percussionists frequently assume that they will just play the snare drum and move on to a drum set but all instruments have to be learned at some point. The percussion section sometimes gets so large that not everyone can play at the same time. The students who tend to succeed in the percussion section are those who are self disciplined. Those students with a background in piano often due well with percussion instruments, especially pitched percussion. For those students who take piano lessons or continue piano lessons the success rate is very high, without them the success rate is very low. Taking care of percussion instruments is easier than most others. Since percussion instruments don’t come in contact with the player’s mouth, cleaning is not as much of an issue. They all need occasional adjustments but day to day maintenance is not a big issue. A regular expense will be drum sticks and bell mallets since they tend to wear or get lost. Flute The flute is one of the most popular instruments for beginners. The flute can be a straightforward instrument to learn, but some children have difficulty getting the flute to produce a sound. This can be very discouraging for a beginner. I recommend that only the children who are highly motivated and really want to play the flute start on this instrument. The fingerings for flute in begining band are also a bit tricky and flute players are advised to spend a fair bit of time at the beginning practicing moving the fingers from one note to another until it becomes easy. Students who are best suited to flute have a flat upper lip. Many people have what is called a "Tear Drop" in their upper lip. This is when the upper lip dips down in the middle. When this occurs the air which is supposed to blow across the flute's tone hole is split. Having a tear drop makes playing the flute extremely difficult. Students with a tear drop should consider a different instrument. Students who do sign up for flute and have a tear drop rarely stay with the instrument more than one or two years. Those who do continue with the instrument have a difficult time producing a good tone throughout their time playing the instrument. Clarinet The clarinet is also a popular instrument for beginners. The clarinet takes more patience. It is more difficult to produce a pleasing tone when starting out, but usually by the middle of the first year of playing the tone can be refined. The clarinet becomes more challenging as the year progresses. Clarinet players learn more notes than any other of the band instruments during the first year meaning that they have more fingerings to remember. Students who are best suited to the clarinet have lips that are on the slightly thicker side. They also have fingers that are not too narrow. The clarinet requires students to cover holes on the instrument with their fingers. If their fingers are too narrow this is hard to do and the instrument "squeeks." Saxophone The fingerings are almost identical to the recorder and the instrument has pads to cover the holes so they don't squeak the way a clarinet can. Saxophone is a large instrument which is too big for many fourth grade students. Occasionally, there are students with small hands who have had trouble reaching the keys. It is also very difficult to control the volume of a saxophone (it is often played far too loud). Due to the higher cost of the saxophone, I recommend that before starting, you talk to your child about the strong commitment he or she has to make before choosing this instrument. Trumpet and Trombone Students interested in trumpet and trombone should keep an open mind about both. Both instruments use a very similar cup-shaped mouthpiece. The trumpet uses a small mouthpiece and the trombone uses a larger one. Most students will naturally get a better sound on one than the other. Students should choose the one they get the best sound on. In order to produce a sound on a brass instrument, students must be able to produce a buzzing sound with their lips. Some children have difficulty doing this and as a result their trumpet playing is restricted to only a few low notes. With hard work this can be overcome, but it can be very discouraging for the young musician. All brass players need to have a musical ear as the same fingerings will produce different pitches and they must rely on their ear to let them know if they are playing the correct note. The trombone is a somewhat large instrument, but it is not very heavy. The trombone is similar to a trumpet in difficulty. The slide has seven positions. Trombone players need to have a good musical ear in order to know if they are on the correct note and if they are playing it in tune. It takes time and patience to learn, but the trombones is one of the most fun instruments to play. 2. Submit your instrument selection form – form attached, complete the form and email it or turn it in to Mrs. Barrandeguy as soon as possible. 3. Receive Instrument confirmation from Mrs. Barrandeguy - Please understand that occasionally a student might be placed on his/her second choice instrument due to the overall instrumentation of the band. 4. Purchase your instrument – The most important aspect of purchasing an instrument is the quality of that instrument. Students will only be successful if their instruments are capable of producing a good sound and are free from mechanical problems. The instruments sold from most music stores are generally of a high quality. Families may purchase their instruments from any music store that they wish. Here are a few we would suggest: Texas Music Center - downtown http://www.texasmusic.com.ar/ Casa Libertella – Belgrano http://www.casalibertella.com.ar/ FAMusic – Belgrano, Martinez and San Isidro http://www.famusic.com.ar/marcos/index_marzo.htm El Atril - San Fernando MJ Music – Martinez Used instruments should be taken to an instrument repair shop and checked for "Play Condition." A repairman will check to make sure that the instrument does not leak air and that all the moving parts work properly. The repairman will also play the instrument himself to make sure that it plays well. Most used instruments sold by music stores have already had this done, but it is best to check to make sure. When receiving an old instrument from a friend or relative do not be surprised if it needs costly repairs in order to be useful to a student. Through personal practice, productive rehearsals, performing opportunities and support from parents and the community, we hope to improve musically on a regular basis. I hope to see your child in band next year! If you have any questions, or concerns please email me at email@example.com . Sincerely, Angie H. Barrandeguy Band Director Bob Newman School Director My child has permission to be in the BAICA Band for the school year 2009 - 2010. Parent’s Signature__________________________________________________ Child’s Name______________________________________________________ Parent’s Name______________________________________________________ Home Address______________________________________________________ Phone_____________________________________________________________ Email address_______________________________________________________ Instrument preference. Please put a 1 by your first choice and a 2 by your second choice. ____ Flute ____ Clarinet ____ Alto Saxophone ____ Trumpet ____ Trombone ____ Percussion OR ______I have experience playing the instrument indicated above and already own an instrument. If so, how long have you been playing?
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