Duxbury Alden School Beginning Instruments
Fine Arts education is not only a creative activity; it is a cultural and cognitively challenging experience for the child. Other benefits of being in a performing group include: responsibility, hard work, dedication, teamwork, confidence, and pride. Music students consistently have much higher SAT scores than the state and national average. In a recent study it was found that 80% of all physicians in America at one time played a musical instrument!
At the beginning of the year, the music department will hold an instrument demonstration for the entire 5th grade class. 5th grade students are not required to play an instrument, however usually over 90% of the 5th grade does, so why not try it for a year or two? At the demonstration students will be shown all the instruments available and asked to list their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices. We have to limit the number of students on any particular instrument to ensure proper class size, student success, learning environment, and instrumentation for school bands. After the students have submitted their requests and been assigned an instrument, there will be an instrument hand-out night with information from the school and rental company about renting an instrument.
Music instruction is provided by the Duxbury Music Department in small group lessons either during the day or after school. Once your child has selected an instrument and an appropriate time he/she would prefer their lesson to be, the music department will issue the schedule of lessons, but every child will need to have a musical instrument with which to study. We recommend that parents do not buy an instrument, but rent an instrument the first year until they are confident that the student will be committed to learning that instrument.
We strongly suggest that parents rent instruments from the Goulet Company and Acoustic Strings of New England. They are both reputable music companys that rent beginning instruments at a low monthly cost, and the rental applies to the purchase. You are not obligated to purchase the instrument! They both work closely with the music department to offer quick and easy access to valve oil, reeds, strings and other accessories. They will also repair the rental instruments at no additional charge and give students a loaner instrument to use while their instrument is being fixed! However, they do charge for the repair of instruments not rented through them, and at times will not repair non-name brand instruments purchased at large retail stores. Oftentimes these instruments are unrepairable by any repair shop due to the poor quality from which they are made.
1. When does the instrumental class meet?
Beginning instruments meet as a lesson class for 25 minutes once a week at different times throughout the school day for the entire school year. Students are grouped into classes according to what instrument they play. The teacher-pupil ratio is kept low to facilitate individual supervision of student’s progress. Skills develop slowly at first, therefore, students and parents must be patient and committed for the entire school year in order to get the full benefit of instruction.
2. Is any previous musical training necessary?
No. The method books used in beginner band are for the musically untrained student. We teach the fundamentals of reading music as well as the fundamentals of playing an instrument. As students progress, you will be able to recognize familiar tunes. Their progress culminates in a concert near the end of the year.
3. Can my child be successful even if I don't have musical talent?
Anyone can learn to play an instrument! Music psychologists have tried for many years to determine whether heredity or environment has the greatest influence on musicality. Interestingly, both sides use the same data to support their arguments. The most important requirement for success is the desire to succeed.
4. Are certain instruments for girls and others for boys?
Definitely NOT! Instrument choices are not based on a student's gender, but rather their desire to play that instrument. Instrument selection is based primarily upon the facial characteristics of the student, and most importantly, their personal choice.
5. When do students need instruments?
Instruments will be needed for the first lesson; the schedule of lessons will be given out at the instrument hand out night. Please make sure that the case is labeled with your child's name and they also have a book and other accessories needed for their instrument. It is also advised that students to not open their instruments, however tempting, until the first lesson. This will ensure all students handle their new instrument with proper care.
6. Should I rent or purchase an instrument?
RENT! Renting an instrument will give your child the opportunity to begin with only a small initial investment. Your child can have the advantages of a brand new instrument such as pride of ownership, freedom from error due to poor equipment, and the opportunity to be the best player they can be by having the best available instrument for their age level. Should you need repairs, these are covered by the rental agreement. Plus your child will have the instrument and mouthpiece recommended by the band directors. The instrument can be returned to the company at any time without further obligation. All rent applies towards purchase.
7. What about buying used instruments?
Some used instruments are good bargains. However, you could possibly end up spending more money on repairs than the instrument is worth. For this reason, we ask that if you do purchase a used instrument, local music stores and former band students are excellent sources of used instruments. You might see if the music companies have used instruments available. We have found most pawn shop instruments to be of dubious quality. WARNING: The “band instruments” listed in department or big-box stores are very poor quality! These instruments have been known to break after only a few uses, please do not buy any of these instruments.
8. Are there any extra rehearsals required? Concerts?
Beginners are required to attend only 3 performances their first year: One concert in December, a combined concert with all the bands in February and our May spring concert.
9. Will my child be required to practice at home?
Yes. Beginning the first week of lessons, students are required as a part of their lessons to practice 15-30 minutes every day outside of class. They record their time on a "Practice Chart", which is signed weekly. For home practice, students are to purchase a folding music stand and metronome (electronic time-keeper). We have found that these items are important in carrying the classroom experiences over to home practice. Parents are encouraged to give positive support to the student as he/she progresses.
All instruments are required to be taken home every day even if they cannot practice that evening, this is for the safety of your investment
10. Are private lessons available? Are they required?
Private lessons are for all students, but are not required. If your child takes private lessons, he/she will receive one-on-one instruction from a professional musician (many of which have graduate degrees and are professionals on their instrument). Private lessons help challenge faster-paced students and strengthen slower paced students. Again, they are not required, but above average results are almost guaranteed! It is better to RENT a less expensive instrument and participate in the private lessons program than to purchase a top line instrument and not take lessons!! Lessons are important and strongly encouraged!