The "Columbia" band is our beginning ensemble comprised of 5th grade students at Sangamon Valley Intermediate School. They learn the beginning fundamentals of playing and caring for a band instrument.
Common Band Questions & Answers
When does band meet, is it an after school program? No - students meet for band during school time (3 times each week) and get a small group lesson as well as full band. Students do not miss any core class time, and the only outside-of-school time commitment is a few concerts each year.
How often should my child practice at home? Ideally, they should practice three times each week or more, for 15 to 20 minutes each - they should not practice longer since they are just starting and do not have a lot of endurance. I recommend instruments go home over the weekend and on one weeknight.
I've never played an instrument - how can I help my child with band? Even if you've never read a note of music, you will be the most influential person on your child's success. Here are some ways you can help:
- Arrange for regular practice at home in a quiet place free from distractions
- Provide a good chair and music stand
- Don't make fun of sounds made at the beginning
- Provide a safe place to store the instrument away from pets and siblings
- Keep the instrument in good working order
- Make sure your child takes their instrument to school on band days
- Encourage your child to play for you and others
What if my child loses interest in band after I've purchased an instrument? I do my best to encourage every student to stay in band for at least the first year, but a handful of students may not make it to middle school band. Music dealers understand this fact so they allow you to set up a payment plan and return if need be. However, our band program at SV has been very successful - a good majority of students who enter 5th grade continue through middle and high school. I believe this happens because students engage and rise to the challenge that is playing an instrument - and we have a lot of fun!
Can my child play an instrument other than the standard six? We start with these 6 instruments because they are the foundation of a good band. Once students get older, they may be able to play one of the "extra" instruments such as French horn, tuba, piccolo, or the larger saxophones. Many of these instruments are provided by the school, so you will not end up purchasing two instruments.
5th Grade Band Instruments
(proficiency test required)