Band

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The band program here at Liberty is an opportunity for students to learn to play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, how to read and express musical notation, how to play as part of a group, and much more in a classroom setting during the school day.
The band typically consists of the following instruments:
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Flute
Clarinet
Alto Saxophone
Trumpet
French Horn
Trombone
Baritone
Tuba
Percussion ( Drums, Bells, Xylophone, and much more)
 
There are other instruments that are in a typical concert band, but many of them are very expensive, and we just can't afford to get them yet.
 
Who can be in band?
Band starts with 5th grade and continues on into high school. Students can start later with the understanding they will have to work hard to catch up to the others in the class. The later on in school they are, the more difficult it will be for them to catch up. 
 
Can students be in band and other activities?
Absolutely! The majority of what we do is done during the school day, except for the two concerts (if the current state of the pandemic allows it), and possible after-school rehearsals before them. I try to have any after-school dates sent out a month or two ahead of time so that people can plan their schedule accordingly. Every year that I have taught, I have had students that are involved in school sports, academic clubs, and band. 
 
What if I don't have any musical knowledge?
That's okay! The first few weeks of school in beginning band are spent testing students out on various instruments and learning the nuts and bolts of reading music. Most people in beginning band have no prior musical knowledge.
 
What will my child need to be in band?
Your child will need to get an instrument (after we've done instrument testing), the required book for that instrument, and a cleaning kit for that instrument. See "How to get a great instrument" for more information.
 
What will my child's school schedule look like?
Since band is a class during the school day, students who choose to be in band will not be in the rotation for art, P.E., library, and general music. We have band every day throughout the year.
 
Being in band requires a student to have an instrument to play. After each student has been tested on each instrument, I give a recommendation on what I think they will be most successful at. There are basically four different options to get an instrument. 
 
1. Rent-to-own an instrument through a music store.
Music Stop, Music and Arts, and Mid-State Piano Gallery and Music are three good options to get an instrument from. Music Stop has a representative that comes to the county every week to deliver supplies and take/return instrument for repair. Music Stop also has a damage waiver available with every instrument they rent. Basically, if their instrument gets damaged, they can repair it for no additional cost. The rent-to-own program makes a quality instrument affordable. Instead of paying a lot up front, you will pay a much smaller monthly payment. Once you pay it off, the instrument is yours to keep. If for some reason your child stops doing band, you can simply return the instrument to Music Stop, and the payments will stop. To see prices per month, visit https://www.nemc.com/the-music-stop-2/ and type Liberty into the school search box. The damage waiver is an additional $8 per month, but it is a worthy investment for the peace of mind. 
 
2. Purchase an instrument new from Amazon, Woodwind Brasswind, Musician's Friend, etc.
If the rent-to-own program is out of your budget, you can also purchase an instrument new from many sites online; however, you must be careful of the brand you buy. You can find some instruments on each of those sites for pretty cheap, but most of those brands are not very high quality, especially woodwind instruments like flute, clarinet, and saxophone. Those instruments are prone to having issues, and if it needs repair, no repair shop will take it in because they can't get parts for them. Please see "Recommended Instrument Brands" for brands that are known for quality and will have no issue being taken in for repairs.
 
3. Purchase an instrument used from a friend, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Ebay.
Sometimes you can find a great deal on a quality instrument on these sites. I personally have bought several instruments on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but I know what to look for in instruments. However, buying an instrument used does carry some risks. A used instrument may not work right or at all. Sometimes you end up spending more money on the repair than you did on the instrument. Also, if you get a bad brand, the repair shop won't work on them, like I mentioned earlier. If you find a good deal on an instrument, feel free to send me the ad. I have no problem looking at it and helping you decide if it will be a good investment. 
 
4. Check out a school instrument for the year.
If none of the above options work for you, we are fortunate to have a few school-owned instruments to be checked out by students at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, we do not have very many. If your child needs to use a school instrument, you will need to fill out a school instrument form. This form gives you the expectations of how the instrument should be treated, and explains the liability of using a school instrument. We also ask for a $35 instrument fee for the year. This fee goes back into the band program in the form of supplies, new music, and other classroom needs. Any school-owned instrument will need to be returned to the school before summer. You will also be responsible for getting the appropriate book for your child (about $10 depending on the instrument)
 
If you end up needing to use a school instrument, that is okay. I try to use it as a last resort since we do not have that many. Please don't let the financial aspect keep your child from doing band. Feel free to send me an email if you need some help getting an instrument!
 
Your student will need the following item each day in class:
Instrument
Instrument cleaning kit (available from Music Stop, Music and Arts, Amazon, etc.)
Book: Essential Elements 2000 Book 1 of their instrument (available from Amazon, Music Stop, and many more places)
Folder (supplied in class and will eventually contain their music)
Pencil
 
It is incredibly important for your student to have their own book, cleaning kit, and pencil this year due to the pandemic.
 
The following are the logos of several brands I recommend.
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The pandemic is going to affect how our class is going to work this year. Below are the adjustments I will be making.
  • Social Distancing between students as much as possible
  • No sharing stands, books, pencils, or any other materials
  • Bell coverings for most instruments
  • Masks are encouraged before and after playing
  • Cleaning procedures for each instrument (even more important for your child to have their own cleaning kit)
  • Mask and/or face shield worn daily by the director
  • Switching to a new method book that includes free access to an interactive program for band in case we have to go virtual.
  • Disinfecting of band room throughout the day.
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If you want to sign your child up for band, please fill out and submit this form for each student that will be in band this year. Please make sure to read the information on the site before signing up. I'm excited to have your child in band this year!
 
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Mr. Gieske
Liberty Band Director
Harris Assistant Band Director
Welcome back everybody! I'm looking forward to seeing you all again!