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Course Description

Students may enroll in beginning band as they enter the 4th grade (nine years old – turning nine in September is fine in most cases).  Generally, students younger than nine years old have yet to develop enough physically to handle the full sized band instruments.  Unlike stringed instruments that come in ¼, ½, and ¾ sizes, band instruments are only come in full size.  Older students who have never played a band instrument may also enroll in the beginner class.  Intermediate and/or advanced classes may be available for students who have at least one full calendar year or more of band or The Music Hutch Studio instruction.
Students are taught in thirty minute classes twice weekly with mixed instruments. Beginning band classes are designed for students who have never played a band instrument before.  Students in this class will be taught as if they know nothing about a band instrument.  The director will try out your child on instrument mouthpieces (sterilized, of course) to determine the best fit according to mouth structure, ability to produce a sound and student’s choice. So wait for information sent home from the director in the fall before acquiring and instrument for your child.
The Intermediate/Advanced class is for students who have one year or more of band or weekly private instruction.

Preparation for Class
It is the student's responsibility to have all materials at every band class. Materials include:

  • Instrument in good working condition
  • Supplies:
  • Woodwinds - 5 working reeds, swab
  • Brass - Valve/Slide oil
  • 1 inch 3-ring binder with pockets and 10-15 premium sheet protectors
  • All music and warm up exercises
  • Standard of Excellence Method Book
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Students are expected to attend class even when instrument is forgotten.

    Students are expected to attend every band lesson .  Only personal illness or a family emergency is excused.  If your child is ill and not able to attend class, please email Mr. Hutcherson at least 24 hours ahead of the class at director@vivacebands.com Also email or text him if your child wakes up the morning of a band class day ill and does not attend school or becomes ill and goes home during the school day. That will give him time to revise the class plan for the day.
    Check the calendar page on our web site at calendar for band days and holidays.

    Concert performances are an integral part of band pedagogy. Each performer masters their individual parts through daily practice and integrates it with all of the other performers to form a cohesive and interdependent group. Any performer (student) not available to the band at a concert alters the sound of the band and can affect that performance negatively. This is why it is critical that all students attend all band performances and why attendance is required. Concert dates will be published at the beginning of the school year on the vivace bands web site calendar and written material given to parents at the beginning of the school year.

    Acquiring an Instrument
    A list of music dealers in the metro area who rent instruments is available by clicking here: music stores   It is from many years of experience that we can advise you that the safe thing to do in the early stages is to rent, not buy.  Be sure to get all the accessories listed, as they will be necessary for proper maintenance of the instrument.  Please do not buy an instrument from a department store or membership type store since the quality and design is almost always significantly inferior to the suggested brand instruments. Most music instrument repair facilities will refuse to repair these instruments because of their tendency to break during the repair process.
    Beware of auction sites such as Ebay and Craig’s List.  Occasionally a good bargain can be found by trained musicians.  However, to the inexperienced, a used instrument may need so many repairs it could end up costing more than purchasing a certified used, or even a new instrument outright.
    After approximately the second year of study, thought should be given to “stepping up” the quality of instrument.  Talk to the director about recommended brands and models for your child. 

    Changing Instruments
    Once a student has selected an instrument and begun the course, he may not switch to another instrument.  In some very rare cases the director may suggest that a student change because of continued difficulty, but not without a Director/Parent conference.

    Home Practice
    Students are expected to practice outside of class, since the class only meets twice weekly.  Beginner band members are expected to practice fifteen (15) minutes daily. Intermediate/Advanced band members should practice from 20 - 30 minutes each day. The Smart Music program has an automatic “practice time tracker” the director will use to monitor time as well.  Students will have ongoing assignments in Smart Music to complete at his/her own pace and will be evaluated by the director on a weekly basis.  Beginning students will start the Smart Music program after approximately four to six lessons.  This time is needed for the band student to become accustomed to the instrument and able to produce a sound with proper tonguing technique.  Practice at home is still required, but at their own pace.  Students are expected to practice a minimum of 1-1/2 hours per week.  The best approach is to practice for about 15-30 minutes each day.  Some students will find they need to practice more to keep up. 

    We strongly recommend that a student stays in the program for the entire school year.  It takes that length of time to determine if your child will be successful as a beginning band student.  Band is also a sequential course of study and should be continued from year to year for the greatest level of success.  If a student wishes to withdraw, please communicate early to the director. In many cases a conversation with the student and parent can help with any issues that may be causing the desire to discontinue study.

    Parent Supervision
    Few of us have not said, “I wish my mother had made me practice the piano,” or other instrument.  There may be times of “slump” in the child’s enthusiasm and it will be necessary to be firm regarding daily practice.  A daily “routine” is helpful.  Some parents have said they use “Homework, Practice, Dinner, TV” as a routine and found it successful.