Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign-up for band?
1) Select Band as your FIRST Choice elective on your Course Selection Card
2) Attend our Parent Meeting: March 19th, 2024 (Tuesday) at 6:30 PM / Location: Microsoft Teams (Online)
3) Attend our Band Instrument Selection Day*: March 23rd, 2024 (Saturday) 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Interested in Percussion?
Attend our Percussion Interview*: March 22nd, 2024 (Friday)
Band Instrument Selection Day*: March 23rd, 2024 (Saturday)
*Interview sign-up times will be released at the Online Band Parent Meeting on March 19th, 2024 (Tuesday)
What instruments do we offer?
Percussion Interviews: All students interested in trying out for percussion MUST sign-up for a Saturday time to choose their second choice. This is a procedure we do every year for beginner percussion students. On Friday, March 22nd, we will have our percussion “try-out” (you don’t have to have previous skills, we are looking for innate coordination). Families who selected percussion as their first choice will receive an additional email at a later date.
What if I’m not sure about band?
We truly believe that there is a place for everyone in our band program and we would love for you to come to try out instruments and meet the directors to see if it’s something you want to try.
Can I do band and other activities?
Absolutely! We have band students who are cheerleaders, football players, theater students, choir students, student council members, basketball players, karate ninjas, dancers, and so much more. We are always working with coaches and fellow teachers to make sure kids can participate fully in every activity they are in. In 6th grade, there are no school-sponsored sports, so there are no schedule conflicts. In 7th and 8th grade, many students participate in both band and sports. The directors and coaches work closely together to schedule activities so they interfere as little as possible. There are many 7th & 8th grade students who are in band, athletics, and other organizations. Because of the unique nature of playing a musical instrument, we try to encourage students to begin band in 6th grade.
What is a “like-instrument” class?
In order to truly learn about your instrument during that first year, classes are divided by instrument for optimal learning. (i.e. trombones with trombones, flutes with flutes)
Will this cost money?
There are some instruments that Clear Creek ISD helps provide because of their large cost and others that we ask families to rent through “rent to own” programs using our approved companies. These companies will be at instrument selection day to show you the exact cost and help you in any way possible. All electives have class fees associated with them, but please don't let that stop you from signing up! Assistance is available for those who need it.
Will there be before/after school obligations?
During the 6th grade year, there are very few obligations outside of school. They participate in 2 concerts a year and do not have any regular practices before/after school. We want to ensure that they focus on their studies during their transition into intermediate.
Why should I join band?
Learning a band instrument teaches students valuable life lessons.
learn how to be more personally responsible.
learn how to organize your time to achieve a goal.
learn how to work as a team toward a common goal.
learn how to think critically about themselves and their learning.
learn how to analyze and react to what they see, hear, and feel.
learn how to adapt quickly to changing situations during a performance.
learn how to respond appropriately to failures and successes.
learn the value and reward of focused, goal-oriented work
be challenged, intellectually and personally.
experience the joy and excitement of performing music.
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 in several concerts throughout the year.
Are certain instruments for girls and others for boys?
Does your child already have an idea of what they are interested in playing? Does your child know they want to be a part of the band but doesn't really know what they want to play? Either way, we have all students participate in the Instrument Selection Process to help determine the instrument they will be the most successful on.
How will the Instrument Selection Process take place?
In order to prepare for next year, we will start with a Online Parent Meeting that will occur on Tuesday, March 19th at 6:30 pm via Microsoft Teams. At this meeting, which should last about 30-40 minutes, we will go over the process of instrument selection, discuss the various methods for obtaining an instrument and provide a brief explanation of what your child will experience as a member of the Westbrook Band.
Your child does not need to know which instrument(s) they are interested in playing when they arrive for their interview. At the interview, we talk with your child to find out what instrument(s) they are interested in trying and then look at your child’s physical characteristics to help him/her select an instrument on which he/she will be successful. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to learn to play an instrument that is not suited for you; therefore, we want to avoid this situation. There is also limited enrollment on certain instruments. For this reason, we ask that you do not make arrangements for selecting or acquiring an instrument until after the student interviews.
What to expect during the Instrument Selection Interview
The interviews will take place at Westbrook Int. and will be spaced 25 minutes apart to allow time in between students. Students will arrive at the school by front of the school facing El Dorado Blvd. Once they have been checked in, they will be sent to a band director/station in the commons/cafeteria. The director will ask the student a few questions to get to know them and see what instruments they're interested in. The director will then try the student out on the instruments. At the end of the testing process, the director will give their professional recommendation and finalize the instrument decision with the student. We will provide you with the Westbrook Recommended Instrument List, as well as information regarding the different methods to obtain an instrument.
What happens after the Individual Instrument Interview?
Trust the Process: The Band Directors have many years of experience placing students on instruments and encourage you to trust our professional knowledge and judgement as we help students select which instruments they will be best suited for.
Joining band is like joining a sport. You get to choose the sport and the coach decides what is the best position that not only works for your success but also benefits the entire team. Likewise, when you choose an elective, you get to choose the activity and the directors help find the best instrument fit for your success and works to benefit the entire band program.
Students will be notified of their instrument assignment at the end of the interview - unless it is an instrument that has limited enrollment for example perucssion results. Directors will provide each student with their instrument's supply list and explain how to proceed with the next steps in the process.
We take great care in the instrument placement process and take it very seriously. It is our sincere desire to fit students on an instrument that they could be successful on for many years. It may or may not be the instrument you were expecting. All that we ask is that you trust the process and welcome the surprise!
How do I choose an instrument?
There will be a beginner band instrument selection day on Saturday, March 23rd. This is where the incoming band students and parents are able to try out and choose an instrument. Students will have an instrument interview, and a band director will guide you through the available instruments and help match the instrument that you can be the most successful playing. During our virtual band parent meeting, you will sign up for an interview time. The process should take approximately 15-20 minutes.
How will I get an instrument?
A band supply list and instrument model information will be included in the final placement. You have the option to purchase (either new or used) or to rent the instrument from a music store. Please do not make arrangements for an instrument until you have received the final placement from your band director.
Purchasing an instrument is not necessary. There are several options:
Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, and Trombone rent instruments from a local music retailer. The rental companies will be at our instrument interviews so that you can visit with them and place an order ahead of time.
Oboe, Bassoon, French Horn, Euphonium, and Tuba are instruments rented through the school. School-owned instruments are in limited supply and must be divided among each class for use. These instruments also receive a home instrument for home practice.
Percussion has a list of specific equipment they have to purchase before the school year begins.
If a student and parent are not able to attend the beginner band instrument interview, please e-mail Mrs. Maloy (email@example.com) and we will send an informational e-mail about instrument and rental options.
Purchasing or renting an instrument from a well-established music store that has a qualified repair shop on the premises is one of our recommend ways of obtaining an instrument. Music stores generally have a good supply of new and used instruments available for rental or purchase.
Please be sure to select the instrument brand and model numbers suggested on the supply sheet. Our reason for providing you with this information is to help students obtain a quality instrument, which will enable them to be successful. In addition, we also take into consideration the durability of the instruments over time and their history of repair. An inferior instrument or one in poor playing condition can make it difficult for your child to reach his/her full potential, as well as make it difficult for them to sound as good as the other students in the class.
If cost is a concern, please don't let that stop you from choosing to be in band. Contact a band director to speak about possible options.
When do students need instruments?
Instruments will be needed by the second week of school. Students will need to keep their instruments in the band hall for safety. Please make sure that the case is labeled with your child's name. We will have a music company attend our instrument selection meeting for you to reserve an instrument for the school year.
Should I rent or purchase an instrument?
RENT! Renting an instrument will give your child the opportunity to begin in band 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. 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 rental applies towards purchase.
If you decide to purchase a new or used instrument from an individual, we ask that you please consult with a band director to make sure you are purchasing a quality instrument.
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, try to let a Band Director examine it prior to purchase. 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 pawnshop instruments to be of dubious quality. Please contact us if you find an instrument online or in a store before investing in a purchase.
Are there any school-owned instruments available?
Yes. The school provides the more expensive instruments: tuba, euphonium, French horn, oboe, and bassoon. These are assigned on the basis of aptitude, suitability, and availability - NOT financial need. Parents whose child is selected to play one of these school instruments are required to pay a usage fee, and will still be required to purchase necessary accessories such as a mouthpiece, books, reeds/valve oil. Due to the unique nature and difficulty of the oboe, bassoon, french horn, and percussion instruments, it is REQUIRED that they take weekly private lessons. Private lessons for all instruments lessons are strongly encouraged.
Can my child start playing as soon as he/she gets an instrument?
In order to prevent costly repairs and the formation of bad habits, we prefer that the instrument stays in the case until the student can receive instruction. After formal instruction is given on the care and assembly of the instrument during the first week of school, your child will begin playing at home. This is to protect your investment! If you rent/purchase from a music company, the store will deliver the instrument and materials to our band hall before the first day of school.
What about private lessons? Are they required?
Private lessons are strongly encouraged for all students but are not required. (The exception to oboe, bassoon, french horn, and percussion) We are very fortunate here at Westbrook Intermediate to be able to provide private lessons for every band instrument. We have a FANTASTIC private lesson staff who are specialists at their instruments and have dedicated their time to perfecting their performance skills and teaching their respective instruments. Some of our private lesson teachers have graduate and doctoral degrees in music, have made professional recordings, and even performed professionally in symphony orchestras!
We highly recommend private lessons for all students who exhibit self-discipline and are serious about getting better at their instruments. Private lessons are in no way a form of remediation or tutoring. In fact, we expect and encourage our most skilled band students to take private lessons.
A private lesson is a one-on-one session (generally 30 minutes) with a professional on your child's instrument. They occur each week. Many students have their private lessons at school during their band class, although some occur before or after school. Payments are made directly to the teachers.
Private lessons are not like tutoring, in which only students who are struggling take them. This can be true for some, but the vast majority of students take private lessons to get ahead. Their instructor will give them techniques, goals, and exercises that are specific to their needs, ability, and interest.
Financial assistance may be available for those who qualify. Please contact Mrs. Maloy for more information. (firstname.lastname@example.org)