Welcome to the MVMS Instrumental Music Page!

Dear Students and Parents,

I am excited about getting this year underway, seeing students I had last year and meeting a whole bunch of new ones. We currently have nearly 120 students just in our Beginning band and orchestras! : )  It should be a very fun year.

For now, I would like to answer some questions families of new students may have, so I will list some FAQs right here. Please feel free to drop me an email if you have any additional questions or need further clarification. Thank you!

Band and Orchestra Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to bring an instrument the first day of band or orchestra? 
No need for instruments on the first day. We’ll be going over how we run things here, going through the handbook, finding out where to put our instruments and things like that.

I have not played any instrument before. Can I still join band or orchestra this year?
Absolutely! We have beginning classes just for you! If you are not currently signed up, but would like to be, please contact your school’s counselor. We will gladly make room for more kids!

      A-L: Mrs. Bernstein, BBernste@Tahomasd.us   M-Z: Mrs. Thibert, lthibert@tahomasd.us

What instrument can I start on?
BAND INSTRUMENTS: We begin kids on the following instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone or euphonium, tuba and percussion. We also have beginners who play the oboe and French horn, but you must get permission from the director, as these instruments are very challenging and require private lessons outside of school.

ORCHESTRA INSTRUMENTS: Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass

If you are undecided, that's okay! Here is a very helpful website designed with kids like you in mind: www.bepartofthemusic.org. Click on the Band or the Orchestra section and watch the demonstration videos. Listen for what instrument you relate to because you like the sound, the tone, the size and the look of it. In addition, you can just decide if you want to play a band instrument or a string instrument and sign up for the appropriate class. We can figure out what you want to play during our class times through hearing them again, seeing them close up and even trying them out in some cases!

Should I rent or purchase an instrument?  
My quick answer is to rent, especially if you are new to band. However, if you are in your 2nd or 3rd year of playing, it may be a good idea to purchase a quality instrument at this time.

Where should I rent or purchase an instrument? 
I highly recommend you visit a local music store for this. There is no rush to do this—watch for our Instrument Try-out and Rental Night that will be coming up in September! Also, be wary of cheap, pretty instruments available online, as many of these instruments look very nice, but often are not built well, play out of tune and/or cannot be repaired if something happens to it. I’m happy to help with this process! I have a list of some good brand names for instruments under the documents section of this SWIFT site.

Does the school have an instrument for me to use? 
Possibly. We have a few standard instruments available, based on financial need. We also have some larger instruments (tuba, French horn, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, string bass, cello) available for students who have been approved to play one of them. Information on applying for a TSD instrument is in the Band Handbook or Orchestra Handbook.

I’ve already played in band in 5th grade at another school. Is beginning band just a repeat?
We will definitely review things, as I want to be sure I know your skill level, but we will be moving forward from where you are. Also, there are many additional opportunities for kids ready for them: Playing solos at concerts, playing in Jazz Band, and even performing with the Intermediate band or Orchestra at concerts if you are good enough!

I have more questions, like when the concert dates are, what the uniform will be, how grading works, etc. Where can I find this information?
These are good questions, and I'm glad you asked!  I have have Handbooks that I will pass out on the first day of school for both Band and Orchestra students. Please go through them thoroughly and then file it away for reference as I try to put important information in them. If you can't wait until the first day of school, or you need another copy, just click on the document section to the left then look for "Band Handbook" or "Orchestra Handbook" and download it to your computer.

I will see you soon!

Thank you,

Mr. Paul Johnson