How to Rent An Instrument”:
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“Would You Like to Learn How to Play an Instrument?”
- My name is Brent Bowlin and I am the band director at Maurice Bowling Middle School (MBMS). If you ever considered learning how to play an instrument, band is the place for you! The MBMS Band is an award winning band program with over 135 students in the middle school band! I hope that you consider BAND as part of your child’s schedule next year! Learning to play an instrument is a fun, rewarding and exciting experience and we hope you will choose to participate! Any upcoming 5th grader can join band class, it’s part of the school day and is one of few optional classes at MBMS. I’d love to teach your child how to play music!
- Q: What instruments are available to play?
- A: We start with students either on Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, or Trombone. Later on in the year we add Euphonium, Tuba, French Horn, Bass Clarinet and Tenor Saxophone to students that are interested in switching. Percussion (Drums) is based on auditions for 6th grade.
- Q: How is instrument choice determined?
- A: Students are allowed to choose the instrument they play!! All students were able to try the instruments. Instrument specialists worked with each student to find an instrument that they liked and are well suited for!
- Q: What if I don’t know how to play an instrument or read music?
- A: You’ll be in good company! It is very rare for an incoming 5th grade student to know how to read music fluently, let alone actually be able to play an instrument. I expect ALL 5th grade students to come into the band not knowing how to play. We’ll be starting with the basics.
- Q: Will band take up a lot of time?
- A: No, band is a class that meets during the school day. Especially in 5th grade, there is very little time outside of class. We will have 2-3 after school concerts in beginner band throughout the year. Concerts are required, but dates/times will be distributed weeks, if not months in advance, so that everyone can be sure to mark their calendars and make arrangements for rides to the concert! Our concerts are in the MBMS Gym.
- Q: So if you are a part of band, do you get to take P.E. or Art?
- A: Yes, students who take band will still have a chance to take gym, art and technology classes! Students will have band 4 days a week, then Fridays are flexible. You can go gym, art or technology, or you can stay in band on Fridays to play your instrument.
- Q: How much does everything cost?
- A: Cost is determined by which instrument, and quality of instrument, your child chooses to play. I suggest using Buddy Rogers Music to get your instrument, however, there are other music stores and options to rent from. Buddy Rogers does a “Rent-To-Own” program, the rental fee also goes towards the price of purchasing the instrument.
Many of their options are around $25 a month to rent a good quality instrument. A benefit with renting is if there is ever any issue with the instrument, it can be sent back to the music store and fixed for free! Students will also need a book to play out of, and clarinets/saxophone students need to purchase reeds throughout the year. I’ll be sending that information home once instruments are decided.
If finances are tight, please contact me and we can try to work out some alternate plan. No student who wants to participate in music will miss out due to financial hardship!
- Q: What if we already have an instrument from a friend or family member?
- A: You are more than welcome to use that instrument! However, if it is an older instrument that hasn’t been touched in years, you might need to take it to a music shop to get it repaired or let Mr. Bowlin look at it.
- Q: How/When do I get my instrument?
- A: I encourage all parents/guardians to order all instruments at the beginning of the school year. We will have a Parent Night the second week of school with Buddy Rogers Music to rent instruments. Again, you are more than welcome to go with another music store if you would like, but I know that instruments from Buddy Rogers Music are quality.
- Q: Can we just buy our instrument online?
- A: While it is tempting to go online and buy an instrument, instead of renting, I suggest against it for a few reasons:
- 1. Most instruments that are cheap and easy to buy, normally break quickly and sound bad
- 2. Because they typically break easily, most music stores won’t even try to fix them
- 3. If it breaks, YOU are left with the repair cost. If you rent, repair is free and is typically back to the student within a week.
- 4. As we’re going through the school year starts and it seems your child is better suited to switch to another instrument, it is easy to switch out their instrument for another instrument if you rent. If you buy an instrument, your child is stuck with that instrument.
- Q: What if my child wants to be a part of other activities in middle school or high school? (Athletics, clubs, dance, cheer, etc.)
- A: The vast majority of our band students participate in multiple school and extracurricular activities! We have students in band that are also in: Football, Volleyball, Cheerleading, Archery, Yearbook, etc. I have a good relationship with all of the coaches. If a conflict arises between any of these activities, I’ll work out an agreement that lets the student participate in both!
- Q: Does percussion learn to play the “drums set”?
- A: Our beginner percussion focuses on fundamentals of drumming, focusing mainly on snare rudiments and keyboard playing and addresses fundamentals of playing many different percussion accessories (tambourine, triangle, cymbals, etc.). Drum set, as seen in rock bands, is not something that is taught at the middle school level, but is encouraged for at home use.
- Q: When does marching band start?
- A: Marching band does not start until high school and is ALWAYS OPTIONAL, NEVER REQUIRED! In middle school we focus on learning to play our instruments while seated. We add in the moving parts once their coordination is a little better ;) However, once they are in 7th/8th grade, your student will be offered the option to join the high school marching band.
- Q: Do I take band all year?
- A: Yes, band meets for 50 minutes 4 days a week, all year long just like English or Math class. Once you’re in band class, you take it for the year. Cut off to me in or out of band will be the first Friday of the school year.
- Q: Can I not join this year, but join next year?
- A: I suggest joining your 5th grade year. Again, everyone will be starting from the beginning, together. If you wait a year, you’ll be a year behind everyone else.
- Q: You mentioned trips and parties…Where does the band get to go?
- A: We strive to make band a fun and rewarding experience in and of itself, but we also like to spoil our students when they work hard!! We take a yearly trip to Kings Island, and attend other concerts/field trips. This past school year, students traveled to Morehead State University, Louisville, Lexington and Eastern Kentucky University. We also eat lots of pizza! If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me! I would be happy to answer any of your questions!