GRS BAND PARENT INFORMATION
INFORMATION FOR BAND PARENTS
I have included the following information to answer some of the most common questions that parents have about the GRS band program. If you have a question that cannot be answered here, please feel free to contact me at GRS. Or, if you have something that I should include in this information, please let me know and I will put it on the page.
On a personal note, I would like to thank all of you for your absolute and continued support of the band and music programs in Watseka. I have appreciated all of the kind words and encouragement that you have extended to us over the past years. We truly could not maintain our programs without your help. We don't say it enough - THANK YOU!
Q. Can my student be in band at GRS?A. Of course. The GRS band program is open to any interested student, regardless of age, grade level or experience. Obviously, those students that participate from fifth grade have an advantage, but any student can join band at any time.
Q. Doesn't band take too much time away from school?A. Absolutely not. All band practices are limited to school hours, so no extra time is required before or after school. Students are encouraged and should take time on their own to practice at home, but there are no band rehearsals outside of the school day.
Q. Doesn't my student need a study hall instead of band/choir?A. No. Most students who are in band and choir still maintain an above average grade level without a study hall. Students learn how to manage their time by participating in these activities. Academics are emphasized because students must maintain their academic eligibility to participate in contests and concerts. Mr. Diaz and I have found (and there is adequate research to back us up) that the students who are involved in many extra-curricular activities are those that do the best in the classroom.
Q. How do we go about getting an instrument?A. There are many ways to provide an instrument for your student. The most common is renting or buying an instrument through one of our local music stores. B&J Music in Danville, IL and King Music in Bradley, IL are excellent providers of beginning through advanced instruments. A simple phone call can set everything up and they will even deliver the instrument to the school. The contact information for these stores is included on the links page. Other families have found instruments on garage sales (please be careful), through the classifieds (again, be careful) or by using an inherited instrument. The school does own many larger instruments, such as trombones, tubas, baritones, French horns and others. These are available free of charge to the students.
Q. How do I know what instrument to get for my student?A. Important: over the last year, many department stores have begun offering musical instruments. Please, please, please for your student's sake - do not buy him or her an instrument from Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sam's, sears, JCPenny, etc. These instruments are of horrible quality and most music stores will not do any repair work or maintenance on them due to the lack of parts and poor quality.
Most students are capable of playing any instrument they want. Some are better suited to a particular instrument, but most figure that out as they try instruments in the beginning of the fifth grade year. As far as specific makes or models of instruments, as long as everything is working properly and the instrument is of sound design, the brand matters little. As students advance in ability and look for higher level instruments, there are major differences in manufacturers. For beginners and middle school students, any properly maintained instrument should suffice.
Q. Is my student required to practice outside of school?A. Technically, no. Since there is no way to keep track of outside practice time, that is largely up to you and your student. Obviously, if your student wishes to improve his or her playing, he or she must practice outside of school. I often tell students that not practicing won't make them worse, but it won't make them better, either. Those students who practice outside of school progress faster and enjoy band much more than those that struggle because of lack of practice.