Frequently Asked Questions about South Valley Junior High Band

If you have other questions, please email me at mrbannon@cox.net or john.bannon@gilbertschools.net.

Do we have to buy or rent an instrument?
The expectation is for parents to rent or lease instruments from local music stores. When renting, you can build equity with the music store in most cases. All repairs should be covered by the store when you have insurance on your rental, make sure to ask first! Please be careful of cheap, off-brand instruments.
If you have a question about any brand, please contact me. You generally do get what you pay for!

What about percussion?
Percussionists are NOT required to rent a bell set or Junior Percussion Kit. While having that at home is very helpful, it is not required. Percussionists ARE required to provide specific sticks, mallets and stick bag. Please see the Required Supplies and Accessories for a complete list.

How much does it cost to rent an instrument?
Most good-quality used instruments cost approximately $25 per month to rent. The advertised price should include tax and insurance. Be wary of stores that advertise a low price, then add tax and insurance later. Instruments in the $25 per month range are Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet and Trombone. Other instruments (Saxophone, French Horn, Baritone and Tuba) can be considerably more expensive. Make sure to compare what each store covers with their insurance. Ask these types of questions: What if the instrument is lost/stolen? What repairs are covered? Are loaner instruments provided while my instrument is being repaired?

Where can I rent an instrument?
Both new and used name brand instruments can be rented from local music stores. Rates from one store to the next should be within a few dollars of each other. The rental cost of “Economy” and “Used” instruments will typically be less per month than “New” instruments. Economy and used instruments can be very good if they are quality brands. Be wary of stores that don’t offer name brand instruments or that don’t advertise a price that already includes tax and insurance. An instrument that is “New” isn’t always better. For your convenience, here is a List of Local Music Stores.

Is it better to buy or rent?
For junior high students I believe that it is better to rent a good-quality instrument because of the built-in insurance. If your child chooses to continue band through high school, purchasing an instrument will make more sense. When buying an instrument, remember that not all instruments are created equal. Look for name brand instruments. The quality of the instrument is a very important factor in your child's success.

I found a great deal on an instrument at a warehouse/department store. Should I buy it?
No. It is my experience that instruments purchased in this manner are often of significantly lower quality. Students will struggle to produce a good sound on these instruments and they tend to experience frequent mechanical troubles that established music repair shops are not willing to fix. Quality name brand instruments have proven themselves over time to provide a better learning experience for your child, please stick with them.

I found a great deal online - eBay, Craig's List, etc. Should I buy it?
Rarely. You can SOMETIMES find a good quality new or used instrument on auction and trade websites. However, most are off-brand instruments (all those department store ones that former owners are looking to unload!). Local sites, like Craig's List, at least allow you the opportunity to take the instrument to a qualified instrument repair shop for an appraisal before purchasing. If it is a reputable seller, make arrangements to meet them at the repair store.
That sweet deal on a $200 saxophone might need $1,000 in repair! Again, look for name brand instruments. You get what you pay for.

What brands of instruments are considered "name brands"?
Instrument quality is a very important factor in your child's success. The following are commonly considered name brands for Brass and Woodwinds: Bach, Besson, Blessing, Bundy, Cannonball, Conn, Eastman, Evette, Gemeinhardt, Getzen, Holton, Jupiter, King, Reynolds, Selmer, Vito, and Yamaha. For Percussion, CB700, Ludwig, Pearl, and Vic Firth are well known brands.
Because I am sometimes asked for this information, Conn-Selmer is the company that manufactures instruments in the U.S.A. Conn-Selmer brands include Bach, Conn, King, Holton, Selmer, Armstrong, Leblanc and Ludwig.

Are there other materials or supplies that we will need to provide?
Yes. Please see the Required Supplies and Accessories for a complete list.

Can my child still participate if we can’t afford to provide an instrument?
We have an extremely limited supply of working school instruments to loan to students with financial needs. While I cannot gaurantee an instrument for your child, please contact me if you are in this situation. I can also put you in contact with local philanthropical groups that may be able to supply a free instrument to your child.

Does Band meet during the school day?
Yes, every day for 60 minutes, just like every academic class. Band is not an extracurricular activity.

Do Band students receive a report card grade?
Yes. Students earn letter grades (A+/-, B+/-, etc.
) just like every academic class.

Do students have to miss other classes to be in Band?
Almost never.
Field trips and 7th grade combined rehearsals leading up to a concert are the exceptions.

Are private lessons required?
No for MOST students. Students playing oboe and bassoon really should be taking private lessons. Private lessons outside of school are highly recommended if it is financially viable. Students enrolled in private lessons from a qualified expert on the instrument progress MUCH more quickly and deeply than those who do not. Please let me know if you need help locating a qualified private teacher.

Are there any commitments outside of the school day?
Students are expected to practice at home to be successful. All concerts are mandatory and represent a significant portion of the band report card grade. A list of concert dates is available in the band handbook.

 

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