All of the Beginning Band students at the North and West Intermediate schools recently completed their sixth week of lessons!
Look What We Can Do
All of the students are now “experts” in assembling their instruments and performing basic maintenance, such as cleaning out the instrument and using accessories like valve oil and cork grease. Most students are able to produce and identify 5 sounds on their instrument from memory. Our “greatest hits” now include Hot Cross Buns, Rolling Along/aka Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Go Tell Aunt Rhodie. Here are some samples below:
West Intermediate Beginning Trumpets perform Hot Cross Buns
North Intermediate Beginning Saxes perform Mary Had a Little Lamb
North Intermediate Beginning Saxes perform Hot Cross Buns
What Success looks like….
The Beginning Flutes at the North asked if they could write their names on the white board after playing Hot Cross Buns as a solo…..We call this Success Graffiti!
Challenges We Are Meeting
The beginning band students are working on two challenges at this time. The first is trying to build time for practicing their instruments into their busy lives. Each week in lessons we are learning new skills and information and the students are given weekly assignments to practice. Since learning to play a musical instrument requires developing muscle memory and hand-eye coordination, it is VITAL that the assignments are practiced over the course of several days in a week (we recommend 4 – 5 days each week, for 10 minutes a day). Practicing 40 minutes in one day will not provide the necessary repetition vital for building the mind and body connections that we need to learn to play an instrument. Students are now participating in a 5 week experiment to see how well they are meeting their weekly practice goal. We will review their practice journals in a few weeks to see how they did.
Reading music is the other challenge that we are working on. Right now, we are trying SO HARD to combat the urge to write in the “letters” above the notes. When a musician reads notes on a page, those notes are actually giving them TWO pieces of information: 1. what sound to make on the instrument (pitch) and 2. how long to make the sound last (rhythm).
When students write in the letters, they are not actually reading music because they are only getting HALF of the information, what sound to make, but not the other critical part which is the rhythm. All of the woodwind and brass students are working to memorize five sounds on the staff. All of the beginning band students are also working on identifying: quarter notes and rests, half notes and rests, and whole notes and rests.
Keep Up The GREAT Work!
Beginning Band students can keep up this great progress by working to be responsible and well prepared on lesson days. Every student is required to bring their instrument and lesson book to every lesson. Additionally, they need to have their practice journal as well, all filled in and signed by a parent/guardian. Every band student should work hard to try to practice their weekly assignments at least four days each week, for about 10 minutes each day.