Course Beginner

The Beginner Band at AISD...

Who may participate in Beginner Band?

Beginner Band is open to any student in the 6th grade, regardless of musical background and experience. (If there is enough interest, it is possible that beginning instruction may be offered in 7th and 8th grade. As there is no guarantee of this, students are encouraged to take band in the 6th grade year.)

For high school students, AISD offers Instrumental Music. Rather than being a performing ensemlbe or band, this is an applied music course utilizing both group and individual instruction. Students begin the school year with group instruction. As they progress, instructional strategies and materials are tailored to the individual needs of each student. Unlike the middle school level, this is not a beginning band class.

What instruments are used in Beginner Band?

The middle school Beginner Band uses flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and percussion (snare drum, keyboard percussion - i.e. bells, xylophone).

Depending upon availability of instruments high school Instrumental Music students may choose from flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto or tenor saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium (baritone), trombone, tuba or percussion. (Percussion study is in concert percussion - snare drum, keyboard percussion, auxilliary instruments. No instruction is offered on drum kit/set.)

How are instruments chosen? In other words, how do I know what instrument I will play in Beginner Band?

This is a very important question. Students and parents should read through this answer very carefully and be sure that they understand how and why we choose instruments.

First, students do not yet know what they will play. Although each student may have an instrument in mind that they would like to play, it's not quite as simple as that. it is important to know that not every student is suited to every instrument. A combination of things such as hand/body size, mouth/lip/teeth formation, or hand/foot coordination play an important part in selecting an instrument. For example, a student who has a serious dental overbite may want to play trumpet. However, this formation of the teeth would prevent the student from experiencing any success on the instrument. A student with hand/foot coordination difficulties would not be suited to percussion. Each student is tested on 2-3 instrument choices to see which is best for them.

It is also necessary for the band director to consider balanced instrumentation when determining instrument choices. In the same way that everyone can't be the goalie on a soccer team, everyone in the band can't play the same instrument. An all-flute band is not a band!

Parents often feel that they are doing a good thing for their child by purchasing an instrument prior to this testing, or by purchasing one that is different from the choice made by the director and student. Before doing this, however, parents should remember that although it might seem like a good idea, the wrong instrument can be a serious source of frustration for the student, the teacher, and the parents.

This issue will be discussed with prospective band parents and students prior to the start of the beginner year.

Do beginners need to purchase an instrument?

No, they do not. In fact, we ask that parents do not purchase an instrument for the first year of band. Students will use school-owned instruments during the first year.

There may, during the course of the year, be an opportunity for an instruments change. For example, a clarinet player may change to bass clarinet, or a trumpet player may changed to French horn or tuba. Students who's parents have not already made the financial commitment to an instrument will be more likely to have such an opportunity.

At the end of the year, the band director will provide students and parents with information regarding the purchase of an instrument for the following year. Although there is information on this website about instrument choices and purchasing, it is for non-beginner students only. Beginner Band members should not have their own instrument.

How many concert do beginner give each school year?

Middle school Beginner Band performs two times during the school year. The first performance, given in late November/early December, is our "Demonstration Night". It is designed to give new band parents a look into our daily routine and to show them how the students progress from the beginning. It also showcases each of the instrument sections. The second middle school concert is given in May.

What do beginners wear for concerts?

Concert attire for Beginner Band is the same as with all other bands. Pictures and descriptions of the AISD concert attire may be found by clicking here.

Am I expected to practice at home?

At the start of the year, home practice is very important. Routines are being established, muscles and coordination are developing, new skills are being learned that require daily "care and feeding". Students will start the year needing to practice 20 minutes per day. As the year progresses, they will find the class and concert music requirements call for an increase in practice time. By late September/early October, practice time will need to increase to about 30 minutes. (Later in the school year, students may find that even 30 minutes is not enough! It is the minimum, however.) Students will be given a weekly Study Guide to assist in their practice routine.

Do we have a band textbook?

The AISD Beginner Band and Instrumental Music classes use "Standard of Excellence". The school maintains a set of these texts and they are checked out to the students. Students are responsible for the replacement cost of the book if they lose it.

What can I do in the year after Beginner Band?

Sixth and seventh grade beginners may choose to be in the middle school Concert Band during the next year. Eighth grade beginners are eligible for high school Symphonic Band. (It should be remembered that director permission is required for Symphonic Band membership).

Can I be in Band and other activites?

Absolutely! That's one of the great things about AISD. Band members are in soccer, basketball, volleyball, cricket, tennis, and swimming. Not only that, but AISD Band members can also be found in Student Council, National Honor Society, Model United Nations, drama productions and a variety of other activities.
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