FAQs for Band Students and Parents/Guardians


What Band classes are offered at MCMS?

There are three band classes and one auditioned band club currently offered at MCMS.  The first band is for beginning students, called Lab Band.  It is called a “Lab” Band because for most students, it is the first time they get really hands-on with more advanced, more delicate instruments. 

The second band is Intermediate Band and this is for students with at least one year of experience in band.

The third band is Concert Band, and this advanced band that performs at festivals.Students must have previous experience on their instrument to be in Concert Band.Membership into this group is by informal audition.

The Jazz Band is an auditioned club that meets before school two days a week.Membership into Jazz Band is open to 7th and 8th graders with experience on a jazz band instrument.Membership is by audition only.Students in Jazz Band are required to be in a concert band class during the regular school day as well.

 
How do incoming 6th graders choose Band as their elective?

Incoming 6th graders may choose to sign up for either Band or Chorus, or may choose to be randomly placed in two of 6th grade elective classes, one class for each semester.  Elective forms will be sent home from MCMS soon.  Students that have applied and been accepted into ASB will automatically be placed in ASB. 
 

Is the Lab Band / Concert Band class a full year elective?

Students will be in the band class for a full year.  Most students will choose to continue in band during their 7th and 8th grade years as well, and continue up to the Oak Park High School Band Program. 
 

Can my student join Lab Band as a 7th or 8th grader?

Yes, any student may join Lab band, as long as they start at the beginning of the school year. 

 
Do I need to know how to read music, or know what instrument I want to play to join band?

No, the incoming student does NOT need any previous musical experience to join band.  At the beginning of the year, beginning students are introduced to all of the concert band instruments, and have some time to play them so that they can figure out, with help from the teacher, what instrument interests them and fits them the best. 

 
What instruments can my student play in band?

In the first year of band, students can choose from the following instruments:  Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone Horn (Euphonium), Tuba and Percussion (including snare, bass drum, keyboard percussion, timpani, etc.) 

 
What kind of expenses can we expect from my student participating in Band?

There are a few donations associated with a student participating in band.  Here is a breakdown of donations, not including instrument rentals or private lessons.
Uniform / T-Shirt: $25
Book (depending on instrument/s): $8-$16
Instrument care kit (reeds, cleaner, sticks, mallets, etc.): $20 - $100
Each band and choir group goes on one Music in the Park Field trip each year, paid for via suggested donations of $130-150.
 
Although playing an instrument can be costly, MCMS makes it possible for ANY student who wishes to participate in Band may do so.

 
Do I need to buy my student an instrument?

No, it is highly recommended that you NOT buy your student an instrument unless you have further consulted with me, or a private instrumental teacher. There are many cheap instruments out there that seem like a great bargain, until parts start breaking.  Many cheaper instruments are made with very soft metal, and can be misshapen quite easily.  This could very easily total the instrument.  Sometimes metal can be misshapen so that keys do not close, or valves no longer fit into their casings.  It is much less expensive in the end by renting a quality instrument.  There are even rent-to-buy deals!

 
Where can I rent an instrument for my student?

There are a number of stores in the area that you can rent instruments from.  The stores closest are: Nick Rail Music, Musician’s Depot and Musician’s Boulevard.  Depending on the store and the instrument, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 a month for a rental instrument. 
 

Can I rent an instrument from MCMS?

MCMS has a limited number of instruments for rent.  Renting these instruments is based on availability.  3rd year students and Jazz Band students have priority. Students are responsible for normal maintenance and wear and tear for as long as they are renting the instrument. The suggested donation for using a school instrument of $100 - $150 is requested at the beginning of the year.

 
Is my student required to take private lessons while in Band at MCMS?

It is highly recommended that student take private instrumental lessons while in band at MCMS, however it is not required.  Lessons can help a student catch up, perfect, or accelerate their personal playing skills where band class will be honing the “ensemble” playing skill

 
Do Band members perform in any concerts?

Yes, there are at least three concerts each year in which all students perform, the Winter and Spring Concerts and a spring music festival.The Winter Concert is usually in December, and the Spring concert is usually in April or May while the date of the music festival is March or April . These are required performances.
 

How can my student get into Jazz Band?

Jazz band is an auditioned group that meets before the school day 3-4 times a week.   Auditions are held in May, and students must prepare the proper Jazz audition music from my website.  Unfortunately, not all students that audition will get in.

 
What instruments can my student play in Jazz Band?

The Jazz Band consists of 2 Alto Saxophones, 2 Tenor Saxophones, Baritone Saxophone, 4 Trumpets, 4-5 Trombones, 2 Percussion Players (Drum Set / Auxiliary / Mallets), 2 Piano Players, and 1-2 Bass Guitar Players. 

 
Does my student have to be in Lab Band, Intermediate or Concert Band to be in Jazz Band?

It is required that students who are in Jazz Band also participate in the band or choir elective during the day.  Many of the elements that are taught in the concert band setting are also important for the jazz student to know. 

 
My student would like to play Piano, Bass Guitar or Drums in Jazz Band.  Can they play those instruments in Concert Band?

Piano, Drum Set and Bass Guitar are not instruments that can be played in concert band.  However, you may find that your student will pick up other instruments quite quickly, and may enjoy another concert band instrument.   Pianists and Drum set players often play Percussion because of the similarities between the instruments.  (Pianists can play Marimba and Xylophone very well because the set up is the same as a piano, and Drum Set Players will pick up Snare very quickly because of the identical rudiments.)  Bass Guitar players may pick another Bass Clef instrument, such as the Bassoon, Trombone, Baritone Horn, or Tuba, or may choose another type of instrument entirely. 
 
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