I'm SO excited to get to work with your kids this year! They are so bright, polite and excited so far, they make me super excited for this year.
I wanted to touch base with you all because I'm sure you've been hearing things about what's been going on in my class and I want to make sure we can streamline the process of getting started as well as make sure you have the correct information about where we are headed.
You may or may not have had your student come home excited about switching instruments! I want to explain the rationale and exactly what was said in class.
Rationale: When these guys showed up in my class if you look at the instrumentation we have a whole lot of alto saxophone and not a lot of much else. Unbalanced instrumentation in elementary school is ok because everyone is playing the same thing mostly, but as we progress and get better at our instruments, each one gains more independence and therefore each instrument becomes more important to the group. It's important to have a balanced group of musicians to maximize the sound and experience for everyone. There are also instruments we need that were previously unavailable to beginning band students. I've spent the last couple days showing the kids some of the options for instruments and explaining what we need and why. Right now it's kind of like we have a football team with only quarterbacks, we need to learn some new positions so we can be effective!
That being said, I am not requiring anyone to switch. Some students I've encouraged to expressly not switch instruments even because of what they play. Also I completely understand that families have made a financial commitment and also some kids just really like the instruments they started on. That is all fine, no one has to change. I am also open to allowing kids to try an instrument for a concert cycle and then make a final decision. Each concert cycle is about 8 weeks. If this is the case we can work out an arrangement for the instrument rental.
To streamline this process I am going to send home instrument rental forms. If a student returns with a signed form I'm going to assume you are giving them permission to play a new instrument. Another option if you are renting from the music store is to talk to them about switching your rental. More often than not they will work with you to move your accrued payments to the new instrument. If your student wants to play something like a bass clarinet, bari sax, tuba or bassoon, I recommend starting with a school instrument first before investing yourself.
Please feel free to email me with any questions. Another resource is the Elementary Page on my website as it has information for kids starting new instruments. Found here: