We have seen an instrument advertised in the newspaper or on ebay. How can we know if it will be adequate for our child to use in band?
Quality is very important when selecting an instrument. There are several brands that look okay, but the workmanship is quite inferior. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” definitely holds true. An instrument is the musician’s tool to produce the music. Think like a carpenter; buy quality tools that last a lifetime versus cheap tools that break or don’t even work properly.
We suggest you consider the rent-to-own programs available through Saied Music Company. www.saiedmusic.com or 888-330-5541. They service what they sell and work closely with our program to insure that students play on quality instruments. In the event of a needed repair, students are rarely without an instrument for more than one day.
Beware of instruments from EBay and large discount stores. Even brands from our recommended brand list on EBay can be suspect. Discount stores sell instruments that are simply one step above a toy. If you are looking to buy a “bargain” instrument, then please know that reputable repair shops will not work on them. Read this from the website of an experienced repairman: www.johnnypaulsmusicshop.com.
Used instruments are usually fine. We suggest you look locally since it will most often be one of the brands we recommend. Make sure the instrument is in good repair. If you are not sure, take the instrument to a repair shop and have it checked before you buy it. (It’s similar to taking a used car to your most trusted mechanic before you make the deal). Saied Music Company also offers used instruments for rent or sale.
How many reeds am I going to have to buy?
In the beginning, clarinet and saxophone players seem to go through reeds like they are candy. A big part of this is simply being clumsy and breaking the fragile reed. The other reason is if they buy only one reed at a time it will wear out quickly and have to be replaced. We encourage the students to keep four reeds going at all times. They should number them on the backside with a pencil and play on a different reed each day, for example reed one on Monday, reed two on Tuesday, reed three on Wednesday, reed four on Thursday, and back to reed one on Friday. This allows the reed to rest three days and they will last twice as long. When a reed wears out or is broken simply put a new one in the rotation.
My child is involved in so many activities. Won't all those activities affect his/her band or orchestra performance and vice versa?
There's truth in the old adage, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." Music students often have many varied and well-rounded interests that make them among the school's busiest students. There is usually plenty of time in the day if the time is well spent. The experience they gain in balancing these interests and activities often proves to be one of life's most valuable lessons.
My boy would like to play football. Won't he have to give up band?
There is much more to band than marching at halftime at football games. There are concerts, contests, festivals, parades, and many other performances, but most of all, band and orchestra is music education. No student should have to give up one part of his education to participate in , another. Provisions are made for students with multiple interests. We currently have several football players participating in the band and orchestra programs at Conway.
My girl would like to be a cheerleader. Won't that conflict with band?
We currently have several cheerleaders participating in the Conway band and orchestra program. There is so much more to band than playing at sporting events. There are concerts, contests, festivals, parades, and many other performances. but most of all, band and orchestra is music education. No student should have to give up one part of his education to participate in another. Provisions are made for students with multiple interests.
Can band affect my child's grades in other subjects?
It's now well established that music has a positive influence on grades. Poor grades are often a problem of application rather than insufficient time. Band and orchestra teach self-discipline, perseverance, the value of preparation, and the pride of accomplishment - all useful qualities in other schoolwork. As a result, band & orchestra students consistently average higher grades than non-music students.
I am apprehensive about purchasing an instrument when I don't know if my child will stick with it or not.
We encourage parents to utilize the rental program that Saied Music offers to our programs. There is no obligation to purchase an instrument and they offer maintenance and repair of the instrument during the rental period. The program is all-inclusive and provides the beginning student with a quality instrument, supplies, and books needed to be successful. The company stands behind their products and service and, most importantly, a representative visits our school every week.
How can we encourage our child in his/her music?
Your respect for his/her efforts is sure to have a tremendous effect on what he/she deems worthwhile. Take time to listen occasionally, attend all the concerts and performances, and give compliments as often as they are deserved. Never joke or kid about their efforts, as their confidence is very tender at first. For most children, a parent's interest and approval are prime motivation.
How can we be sure he/she won't decide to drop out of band or orchestra?
Of course we can never really be sure of what children will want to do. The best we can do is provide every opportunity and encouragement and hope that they will take advantage of them. however, even if he/she should drop out at some point, the experience of having been in the band or orchestra will have lasting value that is likely to be treasured all through life.
My child's interest in music occasionally wavers. Should we try to influence him/her to continue music if he/she doesn't seem to want to?
"I wish my parents had encouraged me to learn to play a musical instrument" must be one of the world's most repeated sentences. Children can't know what experiences will be meaningful for them later. They rarely ask permission to go to church, school, or scouts. The most worthwhile thing a parent can give a child is guidance in what will be important to them later. Music is fun and rewarding in so many ways, but it is a challenge. Sometimes complaining and whining is a signal to a parent of "please don't let me take the easy way out, I just need a little push to get through this". Children shouldn't be the masters of their own destiny, parents should be. Children are simply not mature enough to know what activities are going to enrich their lives. Help them with encouraging words and demonstrate an attitude of "we are going to see this through" and we guarantee that he/she will thank you for giving the gift of music; the gift that lasts a lifetime.