Hello Parents and Guardians of Grade 5 Students!
My name is Mr. Jim Mitchell and I am the elementary band teacher for Holy Trinity Elementary Schools in Moose Jaw. As our band program starts in grade 6, we are already getting the ball rolling with the current grade 5’s.
This past Wednesday and Thursday, I, along with two University of Regina music students (sponsored by St. John’s Music in Regina), visited each school and gave every grade 5 student the opportunity to try out a couple of the band instruments. I must say the kids were pumped!
The goal of the instrument tryout is to help your child which instrument they would like to play in grade 6 band. Some students left knowing exactly which instrument they liked best, while others were having a tough time deciding. Which brings me to my first few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
How soon does my child have to pick an instrument?
It would be very helpful for me to know before the summer which child your instrument will be playing.
How do we let Mr. Mitchell know which instrument they have chosen?
You will let me know which instrument your child has chosen by completing the Band Registration Form* and submitting it to either your child’s homeroom teacher or the school secretary. There is no due date for the registration form, but again, it would be very helpful to have this information before the summer. *The band registration form is currently being reworked and I will send forms home as soon as they are available.
My child has chosen an instrument. Where does the instrument come from?
Most families rent-to-own an instrument from either St. John’s Music in Regina or Long & McQuade in Regina. A pamphlet was sent home to give you an idea of what it costs per month. It can be as little as $13.95 (for an experienced flute/clarinet/trumpet/trombone) or as much as $58.95 (for a sparkling new alto saxophone). French horns and euphoniums are even more than that, so the band program has a few available rent-free on a first-come-first-served basis.
You can also buy an instrument (and avoid the cost of borrowing associated with renting-to-own), but please only buy from a reputable music dealer. There are deals to be found on ebay (or other internet retailers) but the quality of these instruments is deplorable. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn on a faulty instrument. Kijiji might have some good instruments, but look for reputable brands (Yamaha, Selmer, Bach, etc.). If you are unsure, please email me first!
Of course if you have a family-owned instrument, your child can definitely use that. If it has been out of use for a few years or more, it would be a good idea to take it to St. John’s Music Regina or Long & McQuade Music Regina to get it tuned. A good cleaning and tweaking usually costs about $75. Do not wait until September to take it in as both stores are inundated with hundreds of instruments over the summer. Now is the best time to take it in!
If these options seem out of reach, do not hesitate to email me. The band program owns a few instruments that are available for students in need. It is our firm belief that every student should get a chance to experience instrumental music!
Grade 6 is the BEST time to join band and learn a wind instrument.
Making music is awesome. I could go on and on about the many, many benefits of learning to play a musical instrument, but the number one reason we teach music is so that your child can make music now, and for as long as they want. And band lets your child learn an instrument with their peers during school time (so almost no conflicts with extra-curricular activities).
Contact me with any questions you may have!
Mr. Jim Mitchell
Director of Elementary Bands, Holy Trinity Catholic School Division
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada