Frequently Asked Questions for Gr. 6 Band:
Q: Which instrument is the easiest / hardest to play?
A: Every instrument is very DIFFERENT! Each instrument has things that are easy and hard about them. What’s hard for one person, might be easy for another!
For example: For all woodwinds, you need to use all your FINGERS. For a flute, you need to blow OVER the mouthpiece. For clarinets oboes, and saxophones, you have to use the REED properly. For brass, you need to use your LIPS to control the pitches and HEAR the correct notes. For trumpets, baritones, and French horns, there are only THREE valves to make ALL the notes. For trombones, you have to LISTEN to know where to stop the SLIDE for each note. For percussion, you have to be good at keeping a STEADY BEAT and be able to play LOTS of different percussion instruments.
Come talk to Mrs. Chong if you’re not sure which instrument to pick!
Q: Are there stringed instruments in band (eg. cello, violin, etc), because my child already plays it.
A: No, sorry, there are no stringed instruments in concert band. (That would be a strings program or orchestra).
Q: What instruments do percussion players need to buy?
A: All percussion students need a BELL KIT (like a xylophone). Mr. Reimer suggests RENTING a bell kit to start, as some students MAY move on to snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, etc. Some percussion students STAY on bell kit. (Note: NO students play “drum sets” in concert band).
Q: Should I buy or rent the instrument?
A: You may PURCHASE OR RENT the instrument. There are also RENT-TO-BUY programs. It’s your family’s decision. The main thing to remember is that it is best to go to a PROPER MUSIC STORE (such as Tom Lee or Long & McQuade). Stores that do not specialize in music may not sell instruments of good quality.
Q: What brand of instrument do we recommend?
A: It is really your personal preference. Just like buying anything, people have different reasons for choosing different brands (eg. quality, price, etc) It is up to each family to decide what is most important to them!
Q: Do I have to take band? How many years do students take band?
A: Band is mandatory in Grade 6 and 7. (In middle school, you do not have “Music” class any more. You have “Band” and “Choir” classes). Band is an elective in Grade 8, but most students choose to take band. It is also an elective in high school, from Grades 9-12.
Q: When are band practices, and are there performances?
A: Band will be one of your courses in middle school, so your band practices will happen during band class! There will be performances, such as the Christmas concert, spring concert, etc.
Q: Do you have to practice at home?
A: Yes, the only way to get better at playing an instrument is to practice! You will have weekly band practice assignments that you’ll have to hand in to Mr. Reimer.
Q: Are students allowed to change instruments in Grade 7 or 8?
A: Students play the same instrument throughout middle school (unless Mr. Reimer feels that a student should change, but this rarely happens). This is because the music gets more difficult each year, so if a student starts a new instrument the following year, they would be a beginner again.
Message Mrs. Chong in Seesaw or by email if you have any other questions!