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Handbook, p. 2

Changing Instruments

Some students will be allowed to change instruments, so that our bands can have full, well-balanced instrumentation. This is a perfect opportunity for students to learn to play a new instrument. Typically, woodwind players will switch to woodwinds and brass players will switch to brass. There are some exceptions to the rule, however. Because we do not start saxophones in Beginning Band, a limited number of clarinet players will be selected to make that switch after the Winter Concert based on interest, success on the clarinet, well-kept practice journal, Band grades, and classroom behavior. Students interested in switching instruments need to speak with the director for further information. No student will be allowed to make any switch of instruments without the consent of the band director.


School-Owned Instruments

Our school has a limited inventory of instruments, which include oboes, bassoons, bass clarinets, tenor and baritone saxophones, horns, euphoniums and tubas. These instruments are assigned at the discretion of the director. When a school instrument is used, a contract must be completed per Wake County policy. The student is responsible for any damage to the instrument or loss of the instrument.

When a school instrument needs repair, the director must take it to a shop approved by the school system. The county will pay for all routine maintenance of the instrument.

Anyone assigned a school owned instrument must have a completed and signed Instrument Loan Agreement on file with the directors. Please find it on the reverse side of the Personal Property Waiver in this handbook.


Take Your Instrument Home

Students are required to take their instruments home each evening for practice. The school's insurance does not cover the loss or damage to student property. Students who leave their instruments in the school overnight, weekends, and over holidays do so at their own risk. I strongly recommend that you add your child's instrument to your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy.


Bus Overcrowding

Some buses are crowded due to the growing student population here at Salem. Bus drivers may request that students leave larger instruments at school. If this occurs, be polite, follow their instructions, and see me the next day. These situations will be handled on an individual basis with the administration.


Class Participation Policy

All students are expected to play each day in Band class. Class participation is a large portion of each student's quarter grade. Below are the "top four" leading excuses I hear each year. Each excuse is followed by our policy on the subject.

Braces. Many students have braces. I realize that these are sometimes painful, especially if the orthodontist tightens your them in the morning and you have band in the afternoon. I will work with you on this as long as I believe that you are not taking this situation for granted. Follow your doctor's instructions. Sometimes. gargling with warm salt water will help ease the pain.

"I forgot my instrument." This will result in a deduction from your participation grade for each occurrence. Without an instrument, you cannot participate in class. The same consequence applies for not having any reeds or any other accessory, which renders your instrument inoperable.

"My instrument is in the shop." No instrument should go in for repair until I see it first. I may be able to repair it much quicker if it is minor. If your instrument is taken to the shop before I see it, you must bring a note from your parents, which includes the following:

  1. What is wrong with the instrument?
  2. Which shop is it in?
  3. What is the estimated time needed for repair?

"I don't feel good." In general, if you are well enough to be at school then you should be well enough to play. I realize that this is not always the case, therefore, situations will be handled on an individual basis.


Purchasing New Instruments

As a student's interest and commitment to music and Band grows, parents often seek to purchase a higher quality instrument. There are three basic types of instruments available.

  • Beginner: Used by students in elementary and beginning band. These instruments are designed with the young student in mind and will take a moderate amount of abuse. Generally, sound quality gives way to durability.
  • Step-up: Nicer than a beginner instrument, this type is built with the older student in mind. Step-up horns will have nicer features and will not endure as much abuse as a beginner model.
  • Professional: Used by serious middle and high school music students, college music majors and professional musicians. These instruments are of the highest quality and will not take any abuse. They produce the truest symphonic sounds and cost substantially more than beginner models. Parents who wish to purchase an instrument should contact me. I will be happy to suggest a brand and model that will suit your child's needs.



All woodwind students are encouraged to purchase a step-up mouthpiece. These mouthpieces are designed to withstand the air supply provided by a growing student. They also cause a noticeable improvement in the quality of sound produced by the player and are an appealing option when compared to the purchase of a new instrument. A beginning instrument with a step-up mouthpiece will give young players the opportunity to produce a more mature tone. The brass mouthpieces listed are step-up sized mouthpieces and are the ones on which we start our brass students. If your child's instrument was supplied with any other size brass mouthpiece, return it to the dealer and exchange it for the listed size.

Step-Up Mouthpiece Examples

  • Clarinet (Bb and Bass): Vandoren B-45 with a Rovner ligature. Specify Bb or Bass Clarinet.
  • Saxophones (Alto, Tenor, Baritone): Selmer C Star S-8O with a Rovner ligature. Specify alto, tenor, or baritone saxophone.
  • Trumpet: Bach 3C Horn: Bach 11 Trombone and Euphonium: Bach 6.5 AL or Schilke 51 (pronounced 'shill kee)
  • Tuba: Bach 18

-If you are studying with a private teacher, follow his/her instructions regarding reeds and mouthpieces.


Percussion Equipment

7th and 8th Grade percussion students are expected to purchase necessary mallets, sticks, and a mallet bag. A list of necessary sticks/mallets is given below. Percussion students will only be allowed to play the instruments with the correct mallets. With proper care and storage these mallets will last through high school. Percussion students should not depend on other students to provide them with these materials. As you can imagine, these items are small and easily lost or stolen. You are responsible for caring for them.

  • Mallet Bag: Used to carry, protect and store mallets.
  • Vic Firth SD-1 Snare Drum Sticks: Used for snare drum and cymbals.
  • Medium-Hard Rubber Mallets: Used for xylophone
  • Medium-Hard Yarn Mallets: Used for xylophone, vibraphone, and suspended cymbal
  • Lexan Clear Plastic Mallets: Used for orchestra bells and xylophone
  • Vic Firth General Timpani Mallets: Used for Timpani

Handbook, p. 3





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