5th Grade Parent Meeting Tonight (9/25) 5pm.
Students need to have an instrument by the week of October 6. If you are using a used instrument, please get it serviced before using it in class. If you need advice on purchasing a used instrument, please feel free to contact me. Students will not be permitted to play on a sub-par instrument.
The most important part of any clarinet is the mouthpiece. After years of experience, I find that upgrading to a better quality mouthpiece makes better clarinet players in the beginning, and in the long haul. Clarinet players should be playing on a Vandoren B45. New mouthpieces of this type cost around $100 but you can find some in Music Arts stores that are gently used and sterilized for less than half price. Other options include Amazon.com or Woodwind&Brasswind.
Trumpet players should start on a Bach 7C or equivalent. Trombone/euphoniums should start on a 6 1/2 AL mouthpiece or equivalent.
Wind players will use the Essential Elements 2000 method book, and percussionists will begin on The Fresh Approach To The Snare Drum method. Both books are available at any reputable music dealer. You may purchase them there, or at your child's first lesson. The wind book is $9 and the percussion book is $18. Please put cash in an envelope, or write a check payable to "Fairbanks Band" for this purchase. You can also buy one online at www.stantons.com.
I recommend purchasing a music stand for home practice to promote good posture and technique. Stands are available at Music Arts Center or any other reputable music dealer for around $10. They are also popular garage sale items.
Band members will begin meeting the week of October 6. This schedule will be in effect until further notice:
Mondays - Flutes
Tuesdays - Clarinets/Saxophones
Wednesdays - Trumpets
Thursdays - Trombones
Fridays - Percussion
Students need to come to each class with their instrument, method book, and a pencil.
Supplies - Reeds/Valve Oil/Etc.
Reeds - I subsidize reeds for first year band members. I will charge only $1 per reed, which is significantly discounted. Clarinet and saxophone players should always have at least two playable reeds. Keep a few $1 bills or dollar coins in your case if you need to buy a spare from Mr. Keller. You can also buy reeds by the box directly from Music Arts Center or any other reputable music dealer.
Brass players should have their own bottle of valve/slide oil. They cost around $5 and one bottle should last an entire school year. Trombonists should use slide OIL on their slide and not slide cream (even if one is included in your case). However, a tube or container of tuning slide grease is good to have handy for lubricating tuning slides (please do not use vaseline for this...it corrodes the slides).
Cleaning kits are nice, but not required for beginners. All players can benefit from a soft lint-free cloth (like a handkerchief or old t-shirt square) in their case to remove fingerprints after each rehearsal. Clarinets can benefit from a moisture swab.
Drum sticks break. If they do, replacements pairs of Vic Firth SD1 sticks are only $10.
Tips For Parents
1. Be supportive - Encourage your student to practice and offer praise when they make progress. Help your child develop honest and effective practice sessions.
2. Be accommodating - help you student set a regular practice place and time and stick to it. Try not to refer to their music as “noise.”
3. Provide a good quality instrument and maintain it in good working order.
4. Be proud - have your child play for you and your family/friends. Good performers are made, not born.
5. Keep me informed of any questions or concerns. I am here to help your child succeed.
5th Grade Band is NO-RISK
5th grade band students do not receive a grade...only progress reports. Students are encouraged to experiment and get a feel for the band program without the fear of playing tests or grades. Students are expected to practice and make progress, but no penalties will be assessed for deficiencies. Students will also be required to come to class each band day. If your child wishes to not continue in the band program, I must have a note or phone call granting parental permission to quit. If a student simply stops showing up, expect a call from me.
Tips For Students
1. Come prepared for class to learn all you can.
2. Practice regularly - at least four times per week. Practice pays of with results!
3. Practice at least once in the first 24 hours after your lesson - this reinforces what you've learned.
4 . Practice what you CAN'T do, not what you CAN do. You will never improve that way!
5 . Practice your assigned music, but have fun improvising or making up your own songs as well!
6 . Perform for parents, family, and friends whenever you can. It makes them so happy and proud.
Band is good for you!
Better students are in band, and students are better because they ARE in band. Music students have better attendance rates and graduation rates. Students who study an instrument for three or more years have better spatial reasoning and higher IQ scores than similar students who did not participate in music. Band is a family at Fairbanks...students who support each other and care about each other. I care for you kids like they were my own and share in their successes and failures. I want every child to succeed and will work my hardest to help them achieve their goals. I'm so glad you've chose to become a part of the Fairbanks band's "Tradition of Excellence".
Stay In Touch
Find everything about the Fairbanks band program by visiting the following sites regularly:
Fairbanksband.org - the official site of the Fairbanks Music Department
http://twitter.com/fairbanksband - The official Fairbanks music twitter feed
Fairbanks Band is also on Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and Facebook (links are on the main page)
You can always email Mr. Keller at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know that often students and parents wonder why I choose the activities that I do and make the decisions as I do. They are not arbitrary. They align with the seven purposes of the Fairbanks Band Program that I set forth in 1993. They guide everything I do and have helped over a generation of band members to become better students, musicians, and citizens. Want to know what these seven purposes are? They are in the band handbook and always have been. They are also here. After two decades of trying my best to stay true to them, I think they have stood up quite well.
The Fairbanks Band program has several important purposes and goals:
1. To provide a quality education in the musical arts;
2. To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;
3. To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere conducive to music and learning;
4. To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens through responsibility, teamwork, and a quest for personal excellence;
5. To encourage artistic expression and to provide a forum for students to perform music to parents, students, teachers, and members of the community;
6. To provide a pleasant and helpful social experience for all involved in the Fairbanks band program and;
7. To instill in students an awareness of music’s important role in the enrichment of the human spirit.
If you already have an instrument:
You must have your instrument checked by myself, Music Arts Center or another reputable music dealer before your child will be permitted to use it. It is important that a child’s instrument be in good working order and in a good state of repair. It is challenging enough to learn how to play, but even tougher when their instrument is not working properly. Even though grandpa’s trumpet may be paid for, it may no longer be in good shape. It is worth the money to bring an instrument up to playing condition. If an instrument has been neglected or left in storage, it may take up to $200 to renovate it. I will not permit students to participate with instruments that are not in good working order. You might want to consider renting a new instrument to make learning for your child easier.
If you are looking to buy an instrument on your own:
Cheapest is not always best. Even though a $50 garage sale clarinet is good on the wallet, it may not be a quality instrument or in good working order. Please consult Mr. Keller or a music dealer on makes and models of instruments that you may consider buying. We will give you an honest opinion whether it is suitable and/or worth the money. I do insist however: DO NOT buy instruments from catalogs such as JC Penney or Sears, or department stores such as Target or Wal-Mart. They are low quality instruments that are designed as TOYS and not MUSIC INSTRUCTION. They are not easily repaired, break frequently, and are impossible to play well. I will not permit students to participate in band with one of these instruments.
If you plan on renting from Music Arts Center:
I have worked closely with Music Arts (formerly Colonial Music) in last fifteen years. Music Arts Center has stores in Columbus, and provides several rent, rent-to-own, and purchase options. Their salespeople are knowledgeable and friendly, and their repair shop employs a highly-trained staff. Please consider renting a new or rental return instrument to insure your child is learning to play a quality instrument that, with proper care, will last a long time. Quality student models have been chosen by me, and are recommended on my 22 years in teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced band classes.
Fairbanks Band Online
The Fairbanks Band program has a huge online presence. Student and parent information and materials are often distributed exclusively only. Please visit our site regularly to keep up with what’s going on with your child’s learning experience.
Facebook: Fairbanks Marching Band