Instrumental Music Program Overview

The Instrumental Music Program is divided into 2 main components: the small-group lesson and the rehearsal. Each student receives one half-hour lesson each week. Lessons are scheduled on a rotating basis so that the same subject is not missed repeatedly. This lesson time is when each student receives instruction in a small group setting, where individual problems or concerns can be addressed. Beginning students must be responsible for attending their lesson at the correct time, prepared with his or her instrument and supplies, including a lesson book.

When the students have progressed sufficiently, they will come together to form a Band or Orchestra. It is during these rehearsals that the concepts, which have been learned in the lesson setting, are applied and strengthened. The rehearsal also develops ensemble skills, such as playing together, following the conductor, and starting and stopping together. Together, these two components function as a total curriculum, developing the student as a soloist, as a member of an ensemble, and as a performing musician.

We are often asked, “Which instrument will be the easiest for my child to learn?” The truth is that no instrument is easier or harder than any other. They all take a commitment of time and energy in order to find success. The key is to choose an instrument to which they are willing to devote a great deal of time. We ask that each student consider their choice of instrument very carefully, as we take their commitment seriously.

Learning an instrument is just like any other subject. There is always daily homework: PRACTICING!

New students need guidance and structure in order to establish a routine of consistent daily practice. Without this commitment to daily practice students will not make progress, and will quickly fall behind. As their practice increases, so will their success rate. Parents must promote the development of these good study habits for they will follow the student beyond the practice room and beyond.

Each student will need the support of family members to be successful. There will be peaks and valleys throughout the school year as they learn new skills and concepts. It is during the tough times that they will need the most support, but only with a full school year's effort will a student truly know if they will be successful on their given instrument.

As each student considers their instrumental preferences, the music staff asks that they choose their 3 instrumental choices carefully, for they will be spending a great deal of their time practicing these instruments. An instrument should be chosen because of an attraction to its sound, not because a friend has made the same choice.

The Arlington Music Department strives to match each student to his or her instrument as closely as possible. However, given the popularity of certain instruments, students must understand that the number of available openings in a given school year on certain instruments is limited. Students must consider this as they listen to the instruments as they are demonstrated. Given the magnitude of students in the instrumental program, we encourage the students to consider their choices carefully, as teacher’s schedules prohibit restarting students on alternate instruments.

Becoming a member of the Band and Orchestra program is something that many children dream of. Your child is now ready to develop responsibility, to improve coordination, concentration, and discipline. Music also offers the chance to be creative, to discover and explore new talents. It builds confidence in meeting new challenges. Providing an opportunity in music is one of the best and most lasting gifts you can offer a child. While not everyone is headed for Carnegie Hall, all students can and will develop into lovers of music.

Whatever music becomes to your child, participating in the instrumental music program will offer your child a whole new world, with new friends and experiences. We sincerely hope you will consider the importance that the instrumental music program may have in your child’s life.