Flatirons Elementary Instrumental Music Program
Grade 5 Handbook
Benefits of Instrumental Music
In instrumental music classes, your child will learn so much more than just how long to hold a half note and how to produce sound on an instrument. Participation in this program will also foster development in the following areas:
· Mental focus and concentration
· Fine motor coordination
· Problem solving
· Self expression and self esteem
· Persistence, tenacity
· Citizenship (patience, sacrifice, understanding)
There are countless studies in circulation that profess music students’ ability to score higher on standardized tests, get better grades, and be more involved in school. However, these benefits to do not merely materialize by just sitting in music classes. Students must take their study of music seriously and work at it every day.
Steps to good practicing (a.k.a. instrumental music success)
Practicing must be done every day and parents must aid in practicing. Students will not practice themselves! To be successful in practicing, set aside a time as part of the daily routine. A good time might be after dinner or before homework time. Don’t wait until it’s too late in the evening, though, practicing requires a lot of good focus. Beginning students should be practicing 15 minutes a day.
Find a good practice environment. A room that’s quiet, out of the way, and well-lit is ideal. The room should also have a music stand to insure proper playing technique and a tape recorder is recommended to tape and play back sessions. This is also helpful at those times of waning enthusiasm, as listening to old tapes can be quite energizing.
Make goals for your practice time. Decide ahead of time what it is you want to accomplish in your practice session. Do you want to work on those new high notes? Fix a difficult passage in your band music? Explore some new genres? Remember, always start your practice session with a warm-up, then work on something difficult, and always finish with something fun. It’s important to remind ourselves why it is we love to play.
Parental involvement is key. To persist at the study of music the student will need to become adept at recognizing the small steps of progress. This will seem simple at the beginning, but as progress gets less visible, enthusiasm can wane. Constant support from you will be most vital at those times. Help your child perceive progress. Point out small things that he or she may overlook (“We hadn’t noticed how deeply you had to breathe in order to play.” Or “Your arm doesn’t seem to get as tired as it used to.”)
Most importantly, have fun and don’t be afraid to ask for help—this applies to both students and parents. Feel free to contact us any time regarding any questions you may have about instrument playing or even if you’d like some extra music.
The introduction of an instrument to the home should be a fun adventure, not another opportunity for a daily argument. By following these steps, instrumental music should be a successful part of your child’s education.
Please note: There is a practice chart in the inside front cover of your child's book. Please help them to complete the chart and sign it each Monday for class on Tuesday.
Lesson Days and Times
As you already know, instrumental music is held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:10-2:50. Students should attend class with their instrument, book, music stand, pencil, and completed practice chart.
Instrument Maintenance and Supplies
Instrument care and maintenance are key to your child’s success and also to the longevity of the instrument. Please pay special attention to the beginning of the Standard of Excellence book for the correct way to assemble, disassemble, and care for the instrument.
Care kits can also be purchased from local music stores. These kits include what is needed to maintain the instrument in proper working order such as cork grease, swabs, valve oil, etc.
If your child's instrument needs repair, please do not wait to call the rental company. Have it fixed right away so your child does not fall behind in class!
Students will receive a report card grade for instrumental music. They will be graded in the following areas:
Technique, Articulation, Embouchure, Hand Position, Playing Accuracy, Breath Control, Tone Production, Posture, Note Reading, Rhythm. Also: Care of Instrument, Number of Absences, Number of Times missing book or Instrument, Attitude, Practice, and Cooperation.
Instrumental Music will be performing two concerts this year. Dates, times, and appropriate concert dress information will be forthcoming.
Drop Out Policy
The teachers and administrators are of the firm belief that students need to take lessons for an entire year before they can determine the true benefits of instrument playing. As we explained earlier, instrument playing is something that requires work and a lot of effort on the student’s part. Through our experience, students who want to quit after the first month or two are just frustrated and haven’t gotten to experience music making yet. We feel that it is imperative that students give an instrument a full year before making a final decision about whether or not to continue.
Please contact us at school if your child is having any doubts about instrument playing. Sometimes an extra help session will rectify the problem or some extra practicing. Please, communicate with me so I can help fix the problem!
Other Ways to Get Involved
We welcome parent involvement and support. If you have any experience in music and would like to help during band class, please contact me. Parent volunteers will also be needed at the upcoming concerts.
Your Instrumental Music Team