Every year at the beginning of January, we talk about instrument switching in Beginning Band. This is not a requirement, but another option for students to enjoy Band and to further challenge themselves.
Please see below for some frequently asked questions regarding switching instruments in Beginning Band.
What is this whole instrument switching thing about?
In Beginning Band, we start with 5 basic instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone/baritone/euphonium, and percussion. That said, there are other instruments available to Beginning Band students: bass clarinet, horn, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, and tuba. Once we get to this point in the year, students may opt to audition to switch to one of those instruments. Typically, woodwinds switch to other woodwind instruments and brass switch to other brass instruments. Woodwinds and brass can audition to switch to percussion.
My student really likes his/her current instrument. Do they have to try out?
Not at all! There are several students who are happy with their current instruments, and that’s OK!
What is the audition process like?
First, please know that students are asked to audition on the instruments that they already play in Band. The point of the audition is to ensure that students can count rhythms, identify notes, show correct playing habits, and demonstrate correct fingerings for their current instrument.
All students who audition will be asked to:
*prepare a piece of their choosing from their Band book
*sightread a piece that Mr. Sanchez chooses
*demonstrate knowledge of note names and fingerings
*perform a few rhythmic exercises using their hands (for percussion tryouts only)
When are the auditions?
Auditions are during Flex on Tuesday, January 15 and Wednesday, January 16. Students may sign up in the Band Room using the form on the Band Room office.
When will we find out the results?
Results announced via Skyward and E-Mail by Friday, January 18. Students who are selected will need their instruments, books, and other materials by the following Band class.
What happens if my student is selected to switch instruments?
The student will need to rent their new instrument and purchase any accessories they might need for their instrument. Unless they choose to, students will not need their old instruments or books once they switch to their new instrument. A list of materials for each instrument can be found on the Band website. Some students may be able to rent an instrument from the school—please have them come see Mr. Sanchez for availability.
I’m worried my student will fall behind if they play a new instrument.
This is understandable, but there are supports in place for students who are switching so that they can be successful. First, Mr. Sanchez takes time in class to help each individual student get set up and started. They’ll be afforded practice time in class in a practice room with frequent check-ins to ensure everything is going smoothly. Also, Mr. Sanchez will be holding additional support classes during Flex so that students will have additional one-on-one time to help meet their needs. This has proven very successful in years past.
Why did my student not get selected to switch instruments?
There are many reasons that a student may not be selected to switch instruments. Sometimes it has to do with a student’s audition not meeting expectations. In other cases, students may have had a fine audition, but other students had better auditions: since we only have limited numbers of spots for certain instruments, Mr. Sanchez can only accept a limited amount of students per instrument to ensure that the band has good balance. Think of it like a football team: not everybody can be a quarterback: players need to be where the coach needs their particular set of skills. Similarly, not everybody can always play the instrument they want (we can’t have a band full of saxes, for example), but please keep in mind that Mr. Sanchez does everything he can to accommodate each student.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
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