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Beginning Band Information Page

 

 

clipart_music_brass_071††††††††† Welcome to those of you who are considering membership in the Dutchtown Middle School Band. We hope this will be the beginning of a long and successful association with music, both here and in high school. This page has information on what you will need for beginning band for the first year, and what you can expect from band both this year and in the future.

††††††††† If you are a 5th grade student at either Duplessis Primary School or at Dutchtown Primary, you should consider joining the band next year at Dutchtown Middle School.We have one of the best band programs in the state of Louisiana, both here and at Dutchtown High.In order to be in the band at Dutchtown High, you must have played in the band in middle school.And if you are thinking of band as an optional extracurricular activity, you should be aware that students that are in good music program show consistently higher standardized test scores.Go to this link for more information on the effect of music instruction on academic performance.Another little known fact is that a considerable amount of college money is given every year to band students, far more than is ever given to athletes.

††††††††† Band instrument testing will be done at both primary schools by the end of the first week in May. At this time you should start making the decision of what instrument to play in the band. We will be making a recommendation to each child that is interested in band as regards what instrument to play.Parents will be getting a letter to this effect soon after testing takes place.

You do not need to buy a band instrument at this time, and I do not recommend that you do so as yet.We will be having a meeting to discuss what instrument to purchase and how to go about this before school starts in August.

When it does become time to purchase an instrument, you should realize that this is a very important decision and that you should consider price as only one element in the equation.Most times the least expensive instrument available is not the most cost effective.I strongly recommend buying or renting a first line US or Japanese made band instrument.†† I suggest that most students should rent an instrument at first; in order to make sure that the instrument that we have chosen will be appropriate for the student. Occasionally, we have to change a child's instrument in the early months of band.Also, some students will switch to a school owned instrument, such as French Horn or Tuba early in the first year of band. Most music stores have a rental program for beginning band students. My personal recommendation is Zeagler Music in Baton Rouge. I find that they have good prices and are very helpful to our band. Allsonís World ofMusic in Prairieville is also a good place to go.When used instruments are available there are a few things to be concerned about and not all these things are easily determined by people not familiar with band instruments.If at all possible, let me evaluate any instrument you are considering purchasing before you put out any money.I have had some real horror stories with parents buying used instruments, so please make sure that any instrument is guaranteed and can be returned if defective.†† If you are considering a pawn shop, you should be aware that usually they do not repair the instruments before selling them, and the repair bill on a saxophone can run over $300.00.It is a very risky to purchase clarinets, saxophones, or flutes used without having the instruments checked by a professional.Important Warning: You will see in department store catalogs, big retail stores, wholesale clubs, internet auction sites, and some pawn shops, brand new instruments for what seems to be a very reasonable price.Buyers beware.These instruments are usually made in third world countries, and they frequently fall apart during the first year of band.Sometimes they canít be made to play at all.You must understand that you will not save any money in the long or short run with these instruments, as they will not be repaired by any repair shops I am aware of, and they usually only come with a very short warranty. Please talk to me before going in this direction.Below is a list of first line brands that are of acceptable quality.†† The instruments I prefer are listed first.These are what most of the beginner band students will have and the band will sound better if the brand of instruments is the same.

 

Flute. Gemienhardt 22SP. Also acceptable are Armstrong, Artley, Selmer and Yamaha.

Clarinet.†† Selmer 1401.Also acceptable are Vito, Leblanc, Buffett, Yamaha, Artley, and Armstrong.

Saxophone.Yamaha YAS-23.This is by FAR the best Alto Sax for beginning band students, and I am reluctant to even mention other brands.

Trumpet. Yamaha YTR-2320. Also acceptable are Bach, Holton, Conn, or King.

Trombone.Bach TB-300.Also acceptable are Yamaha, Holton, Conn, or King.

Percussion.Students will need to purchase a Bell Kit.This will include a practice set of bells and a snare drum practice pad with sticks for each.CB, Ludwig, or Pearl are good brands.Most other brands are acceptable.

 

Once you have an instrument, the next thing is making sure you have the supplies you will need.When you buy a new instrument most of this will be included.For the following listed instruments, I will give the supplies needed. Many items such as reeds and oils will need to be replenished during the year.I sell limited quantities of some of these items for emergencies, but normally you should purchase these things at a music store. Most items will be available at Zeagler Music in Baton Rouge or Music Inc. in Gonzales.In addition, each student must have a copy of The Standard of Excellence, by Bruce Pearson, book one, for the instrument that they will play.I usually sell these at school, and they are also available at the music stores mentioned above.

 

Please make sure you have the following supplies at all times.

Flute.A Silver polish cloth or soft cotton cloth.A cleaning rod.

Clarinets.At least 4 working reeds at all times.You will need a reedguard for 4 reeds.

Reeds should be Rico 2 Ĺ strength.A cleaning swab.Mouthpiece cap.

Saxophones. At least 4 working reeds at all times.You will need a reedguard for 4 reeds.Reeds should be Rico 2 Ĺ strength.A cleaning swab.Mouthpiece cap and end plug.Neck Strap.

Trumpets, French Horns, Baritones and Tubas.One bottle of valve oil.A container of Tuning slide grease ( I find the best is Selmer Tuning slide grease.) A soft cloth to wipe fingerprints.

Trombones.One container of Slide Cream or Slide Oil.Slide Cream is preferable and works better.It is also more economical.If you are using slide cream, you will need a water spray bottle ( like a hair spray mist bottle.)Tuning slide grease.

Percussion.A pair of snare drum sticks size 2B or SD1.A pair of M-4 Bell mallets or equivalent.

 

Home Practice.Students should practice a minimum of 30 minutes for 5 days each week.Practice charts will be signed and returned in beginning band as outlined in the band handbook.

 

Performances and rehearsals.Beginning band members will have 2 required performances the first year. They are the Christmas Concert and the Spring Concert.The beginning band will not generally have after school practice.It may be necessary to have one after school rehearsal prior to each of the two concerts.Once a student is in the 7th grade and up, you can expect an after school rehearsal once a week.

 

Private Lessons.Private instruction is recommended.There will be an optional private lesson program set up after school. More information on this will be coming.The Bandroom is usually open after school till 4:30 if students are interested in coming to get extra help.See Mr. Bresowar to make sure that it is ok to come that day.

 

Students will make amazing progress with a little support and encouragement.All beginning students reach a point where the newness has worn off and they get a bit tired of band.This will be the time for a little encouragement.Please contact me if there are any problems or questions.We need to work together to have the best band possible.

 

Band is a great experience.There are many benefits and rewards for good band members and good musicians.I look forward to working with your children this year and in years to come.

 

Richard Bresowar

Director of Bands

Dutchtown Middle School

 

 

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