Rocky River

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Some answers to your questions....

Extracurricular Requirements
  1. If I'm in Band, do I have to do anything outside of the school day? Yes, as a performing ensemble class, you will have to perform from time to time and as these performances would be less "special" during the school day, each band has a few performances in the evening during the school year/
  2. How many evenings are required? 6th Grade- 2; 7th Grade- 3; 8th Grade- 5, plus a Tuesday Night Practice with the HS Band (this includes 1 Football game, 3 "formal concerts" and our Saturday Cedar Point Festival at the end of the year)
  3. Can I miss a performance? We need every student at our performances because in band nobody "sits on the bench," every student is important, and most of all, the performances should be the most fun and rewarding thing we do throughout the year. We understand that emergencies happen and that MAJOR life events are occasionally unavoidable and if something comes up, let us know immediately (refer to our Attendance Policy in the Handbook), and know that you must make up the performance with Mr. Komperda by scheduling a time to perform some of the music one-on-one to affirm your mastery of the material.
Quarterly Assignments
  1. Do I have to do EVERYTHING that is listed in the Handbook? No, you only need to complete ONE QA each quarter.
  2. Can I do the same QA each quarter? Yes. If you are taking private lessons, you can fill out the verification form each quarter for full credit.  Likewise, you could do a Concert Review each quarter, provided you go to a different performance each quarter (i.e. 1st Q- One Direction Concert, 2nd Q- High School Band Concert, etc.)
  3. Can I do something different each quarter? Of course- what you turn in each quarter is up to you, as long as you are doing SOMETHING!!! 
Daily Playing Quizzes
  1. When do I go? You don't know for sure- just prepare the assigned exercise or excerpt and if you get picked the next week, you play for Mrs. Quimby or Mr. Komperda one-on-one.
  2. Do I have to play in front of everyone? No, just Mrs. Quimby or Mr. Komperda
  3. What if I "crash and burn?" Everyone has off days, but we will work with you during your playing quiz on anything you might be struggling with, and then if you would like to try it again (the next day or the next week), you may play it again for possible full credit.
  4. How many times will I be picked? It depends. At least once per quarter for 7th & 8th Grade, at least twice per quarter for 6th Grade. If you are in "Small Band" (Fridays) you will probably go more frequently. This is a GOOD thing- think of the quizzes like a mini-private lesson!
Taking Instruments Home
  1.  Do I have to take my instrument home every day? No, but it should be going home AT LEAST over the weekend.  If you leave it at school, you can't practice at home, thus you can't improve as much as you should.  How often you take it home is up to you.
  2. I'm a percussionist- do I have to take my whole percussion kit to school? No, you can keep your kit (bells and snare drum) at home to practice, and use our school percussion equipment when you are in class.  You may have to transport your sticks/stick bag, book, binder, etc. 


Information about buying a step-up or professional instrument:

Beginner instruments are designed to be easily playable, easily reparable and affordable for new players (and families) to be able to get "in the door" without having to make a huge commitment. As students progress, their goals on the instrument change and may need more from an instrument to further develop tone, intonation and even technique. This is comparable to the first two-wheel bike a kid has compared to a road-ready bicycle that an adult might ride- you can ride either one just fine, but if you want to start to push what you are doing, you need equipment that can handle it. A "step-up" or intermediate instrument is designed to provide that next level of equipment without the investment that a professional might make in an instrument that is their livelihood.

Please know that whatever instrument a student has (as long as it is in good, working condition) will be just fine through middle school and high school- we never require that students have a particular brand/level of instrument. That said, it might be worth having a discussion with your child about their level of commitment and if it seems like they might be ready for something more, and your situation allows it, a step-up instrument may be appropriate. Also, some students at the high school use their first instrument as a "marching band instrument" (which they are comfortable taking outside) and their better instrument as their "concert band instrument" (only inside, and little to no chance of running into someone with it). 

Buying an instrument can be tricky for parents who may not be familiar with the world of musical instruments, but I can offer a few tips if you are looking:

1. Treat the process the way you would buying a car (the most expensive Ferrari may be better than a Focus, but you may not need all the features it has at 5x the price of the Ford)
2. Do not buy something without playing it; every instrument is different (even within the same model)
3. Trust your child and your ear- if it sounds better when they play it, it is better for them; if they don't feel comfortable playing it, don't buy it even if it is supposed to be a good instrument
4. When you try instruments make sure to bring your own mouthpiece/good reeds/sticks, etc. so you can make good comparisons between instruments
5. The "accessories" make a big difference (what mouthpiece you play, what sticks you use); sometimes you can drastically improve playing without buying a new instrument, but just by getting a new mouthpiece
6. If your child is taking private lessons, it is totally reasonable to ask the lesson teacher if they can come along to help try out instruments (they know what to look for and how your child plays better than anyone)
7. Make your best guess about the term of the investment. Is this an instrument that they are likely to play for one year? Five years? Through college? If you think the instrument might get 5 years of use, you could have a different budget than if you think it will get 10 years. Keep in mind, barring damage, instruments can last a LONG time (I'm currently playing on a clarinet that is 60 years old and the saxophone that I got in high school).
8. Generally trumpets/trombones/baritones are in the lowest price bracket, followed by flutes/clarinets, then saxophones/french horns, and then the "other instruments" that we typically provide through the school (oboe, bassoon, tuba, bass clarinet, bari sax). Percussion tends to be "a la carte" with students getting bits and pieces over the years (note that if considering buying a drum set, the cymbals tend to be the most expensive part, and good cymbals are not usually included with the rest of the set- many set players add these on as they are able).