Why Should I Join The Band?
Learning a musical instrument is a wonderful and fun extra-curricular activity. Learning an instrument in a band is even better! It is a far more economical way of learning than individual lessons, and provides many other benefits and rewards associated with learning and performing as part of a group, including developing teamwork and building self-esteem.
What Instruments Make Up the School Band?
The school band is a brass and woodwind band. The children are able to choose to learn the trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, flute, clarinet, saxophone or drums/percussion.
Who Runs the School Band?
Musical tuition is provided by the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, and as such it is of an extremely high standard, and provided by tutors who specialise in your child’s chosen instrument. Receiving tuition from the Conservatorium means that our band is also able to participate in their various programs and performance opportunities (such as Band Festival), where our band can learn with and compete against other school bands in a friendly and supportive environment. The administrative component of our school band program is run by a parent band committee, who volunteer their time to oversee aspects of the band program, such as liaising with tutors, collecting fees, facilitating performances and fund-raising if required.
How Does the Band Work?
There is a “two-tier” band model. When a child first joins the band, they go into the “training band”. As they gain proficiency, they progress to the “concert band” (usually after 12 months), where more complicated band pieces are rehearsed and performed. Regardless of which band they are in, each child receives 30 minutes of tuition on their chosen instrument each week, which occurs in small groups (usually of 3-5 students). These tutorials occur during school time (either class or break time, depending on the tutorial schedule). All children also attend a full band rehearsal for one hour each week (this occurs before school 8.00 am – 9.00 am in the school hall). Therefore your child will receive 90 minutes of musical tuition each week.
Who Is Eligible to Join The Band?
The band is open to children in Years 3 to 6. The band is therefore currently recruiting children from Years 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Do I Need to Purchase an Instrument?
No – the school hires most of the instruments through an instrument hire company called Musicorp. This entitles us to cheaper hire fees than if parents were to hire instruments individually. There is no obligation to hire your instrument through Musicorp. Once children are well established in the band, some parents opt to buy their own instrument, which can save money in the long run.
How Are Instruments Allocated?
Children are asked to nominate two instrument preferences when they join the band. This is so an adequate balance of all the instruments can be maintained in the band. Where possible, children will be given their first choice of instrument, although this cannot be guaranteed. It is recommended that you talk about this with your child, and check they are happy with both choices when you select instrument preferences.
What Costs Are Involved?
Band tuition fees are set at the start of each term, and are currently $150 per term (this may be subject to change). Should you opt to hire an instrument through the school, this will also need to be paid for each term (or on an annual basis). The cost of instrument hire through the school is currently $190 per year for flute, clarinet, trumpet and trombone, and $250 per year for the saxophone or euphonium (this may be subject to change). Children also need to purchase a music book when they join the band (which costs around $25). Music stands have been purchased by the P&F and are kept at school for band rehearsal and tutorials. You may also opt to purchase a cheap music stand for at-home practice (for around $15-$20), although this is not mandatory.
What are the Children’s Responsibilities in the Band?
The children are required to take care of their instrument and treat it carefully. They also need to remember to bring their instrument to school 1-2 times each week for band rehearsal and their tutorial. They need to remember to take their instrument home again from school so that they are able to practice regularly. It is strongly recommended that children practice their instrument each day (for 10 minutes initially). Children also need to attend their tutorial and band rehearsal regularly. If your child plays the drums, they have the additional responsibility of setting up the drum kit for their tutorial before school commences (i.e. during play-time).
What are Parents’ Responsibilities?
Parents are required to keep fees paid in advance each term. Payment for the term is collected at band rehearsal in Week 1 each school term and includes both tuition fees and instrument hire (if applicable). Parents are also required to get children to before-school band rehearsal in a timely manner, arriving 10 minutes early (currently 7.50 am) so your child can help with band set-up. Children cannot be left at school any earlier than this as there is no supervision available. Parents are also required to actively check for band correspondence, which is routinely done by either email or SMS, and occasionally via the school newsletter. Finally, parents need to ensure their child practices regularly. If your child wants to join the band, parents should encourage their child to persist with their band commitment for at least a year, if possible. It takes time and practice to gain proficiency in an instrument, and even doing band for a whole term is often not enough time for early proficiencies to develop.
What happens if Tutorials are missed?
If tutors cancel tutorials, or if tutorials occur on a pupil-free day or day of a whole-school event, every effort is made to reschedule to an alternate day. Tutorials are not rescheduled or refunded if they clash with class events (e.g. year excursions) or when children have decided to participate in additional optional activities (e.g. representative sports days). Similarly, no refunds are given when children miss tutorials due to being away on holidays (even for extended absences such as overseas trips). Regardless of the number of children in the tutorials, our tutors still need to be paid each week and to be fair this cost needs to be shared equally amongst all band members on a regular basis. There is also no refund available for tutorials missed due to occasional child sickness. However, if a child misses more than three tutorials in a term due to an extended illness or injury, any subsequent missed tutorials that term will not be charged.
Want to Get Involved or Find Out More?
A parent committee is essential to ensure the ongoing success of the band program and to help with things such as fundraising, setting up for performances and providing transport. Your support, even in a small amount, can help with the smooth running of the band program. For more information, or should you wish to be involved in the band committee, please contact the office.