Band Questions and Answers

  • Below are some commonly asked questions by parents of beginning band students. If you have a question, please don't hesitate to contact Mrs. Rosen at janet.rosen@ncps-k12.org

    Question: Where can we get supplies such as reeds, cork grease, cleaning swabs, etc.?

    Answer: In our New Canaan area there are several stores that carry these items. We now have New Canaan Music right here in town that carries many of these supplies. You may also order supplies on-line or via phone from Creative Music in Monroe. They will deliver the items to the school for your child. There is also an online company called Woodwind/Brasswind www.wwbw.com, and Amazon is another source. See the Links page for more information. These are only suggestions, and are among stores and companies that teachers and parents have used in the past. WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RECOMMEND VENDORS ONE OVER THE OTHER. Regarding reeds, you will always be needing more! One suggestion is to buy them by the box, keep 4 in the case with the instrument, and keep the rest home, delving them out one or two at a time. The reeds suggested for beginners on clarinet and alto saxophone are #2 strength, and I recommend the Rico brand for beginners.

    Question: How much should my child be practicing?

    Answer: I am asking all beginning band students to practice a minimum of 5 days a week, at 20 minutes per day. See the Practice Tips page for more details.

    Question: What should my child be practicing?

    Answer: Each week in your child's lesson they are given an assignment of what songs and band pieces they should be working on. They record this, and their respective practice times in their method book. I ask that you initial the book, as a reinforcement of their efforts. I check the book weekly to see their practice habits.

    Question: When are the Winter and Spring concerts?

    Answer: To be announced soon for 2019/20 school year

    Question: What do the children wear for the concerts?

    Answer: Band, chorus, and strings students will all be wearing traditional evening concert wear which is white shirt/blouse ( ties for the gentlemen) and black pants and/or skirts("skorts"). The black and white evening dress is traditionally worn all over the world by musicians. It's kind of like a musician's "uniform", and also denotes a certain kind of team spirit, and promotes "esprit de corps".

    Question: Why isn't saxophone a choice of instrument in 5th grade?

    Answer: For a number of practical reasons saxophone is not a choice. The main reason is that for a great number of students the instrument is simply too large! The students struggle with the weight, the size makes it cumbersome, and uncomfortable. If a student really wants to play the saxophone, if they play clarinet for their first year, they may switch to sax in 6th grade, and it is an easy switch, as the fingerings are similar and the way the tone is produced. Another reason is that over recent years we have had an exorbitant number of sax players, and it causes a tremendous imbalance in the band. We make the analogy that you cannot have a baseball team where everbody wants to play first base, and nobody is playing third! Contact me for further elaboration.

     

  • "The easiest instrument to learn is the one you want to play. The hardest instrument to learn is the one you don't want to play."
-- James Moody, NEA Jazz Master

     

    There are a number of things to think about when making a decision of what instrument you'd like to play in band.

    At Saxe, your choices are: flute, clarinet ( start on clarinet if you feel someday you'd like to play saxophone), trumpet, trombone, and baritone horn (3/4 size). No drums, saxophones, piano, guitar, etc. Only the instruments listed. If you have questions regarding this, please contact us. 

    First and foremost, do you like the sound of the instrument? You will practice it more if you like the sound of it, and are trying to get that sound! If you're not sure, google the instrument you're interested in and listen to excerpts of it playing.

    Second, does the instrument suit you physically? If you are a very small person right now, the trombone wouldn't be an appropriate choice. It would be too large and cumbersome. If you love the sound of the trombone, start with trumpet, and switch to trombone when you grow a bit.

    Flute is difficult at first, because you cannot see your fingers. It requires a lot of patience and practice. Clarinet is easy at first (although hard to put together in the beginning), is somewhat similar to recorder. It gets harder in the more advanced stages. Trumpet requires energy,stamina, and good wind power. Trombone is like that too, but in addition is big for a fifth grader generally.