Dear Parents and Students,
We are very excited about the return of the Trafalgar School Band, and hope that your child will join us in September as we learn all about making great music and playing an instrument together. Participation in a school band is rewarding educationally and socially. Our goal is to make it both fun and productive for our group. No previous musical experience is required, although if your child already knows how to read music, that is a bonus. Our band teachers, Michelle Anderson and Erin Marks are both professional musicians who love sharing music with people of all ages.
The students were very excited when they had a chance to see the band instruments in June, and to try making a sound on one of them. Every wind instrument produces sound differently, and some instruments are naturally going to physically suit your child more easily than others. This is fairly easy to determine by trying all of them out before deciding what instrument your child should choose. We have made arrangements for Trafalgar Band participants to rent or purchase their band instruments from Tapestry Music, which is a local store (Broadway near Alma), and a huge supporter of educational music in our community. They have offered to donate an instrument to the school so that we have an instrument available for a family who may not have the financial resources to rent an instrument. They are also loaning us a set of band instruments (along with all of the appropriate sterilizers) so that we can sit down and meet each student and give them the opportunity to try the instruments out thoroughly. We are going to be scheduling this on Thursday, Sept. 14th after school. We will send out more details once our time slot is confirmed. We would to schedule each student and a parent to come together for about 15 minutes, and will create a schedule similar to parent teacher interviews. We will also be sending out links with the rental information. Once your child has selected an instrument and met with one of the band teachers to confirm their choice, you can either pick up your instrument at Tapestry, or they will deliver it to the school for the first day of band. There are various purchase or rental plans, but an average instrument is about $200 to rent for the school year, and rental payments can be applied to buying an instrument. Most families do buy an instrument if their child remains in band for more than a year. All of the Vancouver high schools in our neighbourhood do offer school band programs, so there are many opportunities to continue to develop their skills after they graduate from the Trafalgar School Band.
We are recommending that families get instruments from Tapestry because we know that the quality will be excellent and the students will not be struggling with an instrument that is not well made. Having said that, there are certainly other very good instrument suppliers in Vancouver, and some sources that are perhaps not so good. Michelle and Erin are both happy to offer an opinion on instruments from other sources if you want to choose one somewhere else. We definitely recommending avoiding band instruments that you can buy at the same store that offers bulk laundry soap and cases of Mac N Cheese. They usually are very inexpensive, very difficult to play and don’t produce good sounds (but they can be converted into attractive lamps and other furniture since they often look nice).
There is so much learning that takes place in the school band, and you will be amazed at the transformation that occurs between the first enthusiastic squawks and blasts in September to the great music that you will hear throughout the school year. Band is a full year commitment, and we want our team of young musicians to grow and develop together in an encouraging environment. Our practises will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 am – 8:45 am. We expect full commitment to attend our sessions, and will do our best to make it fun so that the students will be enthused to wake up a bit early to join us.
During our first week, we will have a slightly different schedule:
FIRST LESSON DAY – A new instrument is very exciting to play, and we know the students will be eager to get started. An instrument can be accidentally damaged if a student tries it without proper instruction on how to assemble it properly. We prefer to introduce the instruments in smaller groups so that the first time the students try their own instrument they learn the proper technics with the band teachers. If the instrument is ordered online from Tapestry Music to be delivered to the school, we can hand them to the students on their first lesson.
Monday Sept. 18th – 8:00 – 8:45 am – all woodwind instruments (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe)
Tuesday Sept. 19th – 8:00 – 8:45 am – all brass instruments (trumpet, trombone, french horn, baritone/euphonium, tuba)
Regular sessions – every Monday and Wednesday, beginning Wednesday Sept. 20th – 8:00 am – 8:45 am – Activity Room
The Trafalgar School Band is a parent initiated group, and is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers. There will be opportunities for any interested parents to help out along the way, and you are welcome to attend our practises. Currently, our organizing committee is made up of Jessie Chen (PAC co-chair), Tze-Wo Leung (parent of an English Gr. 5 student) and Shaleena Jeraz (parent of a French Gr. 6 student). The cost for the Trafalgar School Band is just over $5 per band session, which is $350 for the entire school year.
More information will be coming your way, but we wanted to give you this set of information to begin planning. We will send out a sign-up form for the instrument tryout day soon. We hope that most of you will be able to attend on the 14th. However, Michelle is a Trafalgar parent, and lives in the area so could likely make other arrangements with you are absolutely unable to attend on that day.
Thanks for your interest in the school band. We look forward to seeing you soon!
The Trafalgar School Band Teachers and Parents’ Committee