Important Information about Grade 4 band 10.2.2020

Hello parents of 4th graders,

If you are a veteran “band parent”, this year might look different. If you’re new to the band experience, then this will be our temporary normal.

I have been working with fellow band directors from other schools and Mr. Gleason on the best ways to offer band this year to our grade 4 class.

In past years, the band program has started in grade 4 with beginner lessons in person (small classes) on Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone and Percussion.  This fall, I have had the opportunity to visit each cohort in person this fall to discuss band and playing a band instrument. It’s been great to meet with, and get to know the students. Thanks to the Grade 4 teachers for allowing time so I could visit the classrooms.

Video Message to Parents: I’ve made a short video message to parents about the band this year:

Click here to view this message.

New Normal: As we have learned through CDC recommendations, playing a wind instrument indoors (at this time) is not safe.  Students would have to be spaced 14’ apart.  Taking my usual lessons of 15 students on instrument “X” would become impossible to fit into any room inside the building. We are rethinking how to teach band, keeping all students safer.

Big Picture: The band program will be taught in video lessons (we will be using google meets for our video lessons) when students are at home.  Ex:  Cohort 1 might have a lesson on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday, Cohort 2 on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.  I would set up a schedule of meeting times and students would be grouped into one of these video lesson times.  Students would “tune in” from home with their instruments, and we would all play through a video meet.  Students would receive one lesson (via video class) a week.  Ex: Monday, 11:30AM-12:00PM.

Small Picture: (Schedule)  Presently, I am not sure of an exact schedule. I need some information from parents to group students, set up class meetings and then set a schedule that works for all.  First I need to know (a) who wants to play (yes or no to band) and (b) what instrument they are choosing (flute, clarinet, saxophone, etc..).  Think of a restaurant not sure how many meals of X or Y to prepare until they get the orders from the table.  I have attached a form for you to complete. This data will be critical for me to group, sort and schedule students into lesson groups.

Where you come in: I am asking parents to have a conversation with their 4th graders. Ask them (1) “Do you want to play in the band? And (2) “What instrument do you want to play?”  Knowing these answers will help me to know how best to help you and the 4th graders.  It is important (for the process) to come to a clear answer on these questions.  A new way of teaching band will present some challenges. Students should know which instrument they wish to play. Changing instruments (this year) will present far more challenges with a video class schedule. I aim to keep all video lessons smaller, so that I can effectively help all students. In short, please try to be as certain as possible when choosing the instrument your 4th grader wishes to play. I’m asking for this survey/info to be returned to me by Friday, Oct. 9th

Link to Survey here.

Possible changes of offerings: This year, with limits in access to students/times/days, I may have to omit some of the instrument choices. I hope to offer all instruments listed above, but may need to omit a choice due to schedule and time limitations. This all depends on all of the student choices. Once I know the instruments selected, I can then compose a schedule.  Please know that I’ll do my best to offer as “normal” a program as possible.  My aim is to provide the best band experience that time and schedule permits. 

Please make sure to click the link and complete the grade 4 band survey.  This data is very important for planning the band program for grade 4.  Even if your child will not be in band, please complete.  

Thank you,

Brad Ciechomski (Mr. C) Band Instructor YES & HMS