Frequently asked Questions for New Parents!

What will my child need for band by the first day of school?

  • An instrument in good working condition

  • Band Book:  Essential Elements, Volume One (this can be purchased either at school, online, or at Marshall Music)

  • A wire music stand for HOME practice.  This will stay at home throughout the school year

When will my child need the instrument?

Students will begin playing during the second week of school (September 8).  It is highly recommend that each student have his or her instrument at this time. If you are unable to obtain an instrument by this time, please contact us and we will do our best to help you.  Please do not allow your child to put it together during the summer until we teach them the correct way to do so.  This will avoid unnecessary damage to your new instrument! 

Do I have to buy or rent an instrument for my child? 

Most parents arrange a rental-purchase plan with a local music store.  This type of plan allows the student to use the instrument on a rental basis for an initial trial period.  Always rent your instrument from a music store that has a qualified repair shop.

Can my child play a used instrument?

Many fine used instruments are available from former band students and local music companies.  Please do not purchase a used instrument until you have had it evaluated by Mr. Arnold, or, at a local music store.  There are wide variations in the value and quality of all musical instruments.  We have found that an older instrument in need of repair can sometimes hinder the student’s progress. Also, you must evaluate the cost of renting versus the cost of purchasing.  Do not buy a used instrument until you are confident it is in top playing condition.  We also ask that you avoid purchasing instruments from catalog companies.  These instruments, while cheap, are of extremely poor quality.  In addition, local music stores will not fix broken instruments from these companies. 

Are instruments available from the school?

Families provide most instruments.  In order to balance the instrumentation in the band, the school does provide some of the more expensive instruments.  These instruments are normally assigned to students who have the ideal physical characteristics to play them.  The instruments that our school provides are the french horn, baritone and tuba.  There are other instruments the school provides, such as the tenor and baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, oboe and bassoon that students may switch to in seventh or eighth grade.  PMS does have a limited amount of instruments such as the trumpet, clarinet, trombone and flute.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience if you can’t afford to rent or purchase an instrument; we want your child in band, no matter what!

What are some reputable brands of band instruments?

In order for your child to succeed, they will need a band instrument that works well!  The market is flooded with poorly made instruments.  Fortunately, Marshall and Meyer Music sells only the best brands.  The internet, however, if full of ¨off brand¨ instruments.  Even though they look shiny & new, they will often break quickly.  The local music stores will not repair them.  Below you will find some of the best brands for beginning band students:

Flute:  Yamaha, Emerson, Gemeinhardt, Artly, Armstrong

Clarinet:  Yamaha, Vito, Selmer, LeBlanc, Buffet

Oboe:  Yamaha, Selmer, Renard, Fox, Buffet

Bassoon:  Yamaha, Renard, Fox

Alto Saxophone:  Yamaha, Vito, Selmer, Keilwerth

Trumpet:  Yamaha, King, Holton, Getzen, Conn, Blessing, Bach

French Horn:  Yamaha, Holton, Conn, Bach

Trombone:  Yamaha, King, Holton, Getzen, Conn, Bach

Baritone:  Yamaha, King, Bach, Holton

Tuba:  Yamaha, King, Bach, Holton

Percussion (students need a percussion kit - includes practice pad and bells):  Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig

What happens if my child signs up for band, however, when we receive the class schedule, band is not on it?

Call the middle school office immediately.  Make sure the school has your child enrolled in band class!

When are our concerts this year?

See the calendar for all up to date information regarding band events throughout the year.

Is private instruction available and is it required?

While we encourage private instruction, it is not required to participate in band.  Professional musicians will teach your child, one on one - more information about this will be shared in class.

How important is practicing at home?

In order to have the best chance to succeed in learning to play an instrument, students will need to practice at home.  It is important to have a quiet place to practice and to establish a regular practice schedule.  The amount of time necessary for practice will vary from student to student.  I also highly suggest that you purchase a wire music stand for home practice and for virtual band class.  It is very important for parents to encourage practice and to praise the results.

Can my child participate in sports while in band?

Yes!!!  The administration, directors and coaches make every effort to avoid conflicts throughout their middle school careers!

Is there a music company available in which to rent or buy instruments?

Yes!  Most families rent an instrument from Marshall Music in Lansing

How much will it cost to rent a new instrument?

Most instruments cost between $25-50 a month.  All music companies have a rent-to-own program.  You will receive a name brand instrument in excellent

condition