One of the popular Music Activity class options, offered only to the students in Grade 5, is Beginning Band. After having the opportunity within the first few classes of the year to try out the instruments we offer, students will, along with the guidance of their Band teacher, be placed on either flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone or euphonium. During the first semester all band students must begin on a wind instrument, but in the second semester of the school year students who are interested in drums will have the opportunity to try out for the percussion section which is added only after the first semester. If a student comes into Grade 5 already playing an instrument other than the ones we offer (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone or euphonium) we will try to accomodate them and allow them to continue with their instrument, but the band repertoire is at a beginning level and more advanced students may not benefit from being in the class.
Band students will be provided with a school-owned instrument to use, free of charge, for the year. All students will be required, however, to purchase an instrument cleaning kit for their selected instrument at a cost of approximately NT $600. Band students are required to take their instrument home for daily practice and bring it to school on Music Activity class days. Taking responsibility for an instrument, method book, and sheet music is an important part of the experience of being in Band.
In September, after students have had the opportunity to try playing all the instruments and have been assigned an instrument to play, all band students are required to attend our annual half-day Head Start Band Camp. Held at school from morning until noon, Band Camp is when student will first be given their instrument, learn how to clean and maintain it, and begin to establish, with the help of volunteer middle school students, good playing technique. They'll learn how to put together and hold their instrument, how to form the proper embouchure (mouth/lips formation), and begin learning the basics of good breath support necessary for playing a wind instrument. In an exciting moment for everyone involved, at the end of Band Camp parents are invited to hear the first sounds made by the group, the beginning notes of a year's worth of music to come.
Band is taught in like-instrument groups. All the flutes meet together with one teacher, the clarinets with a different teacher, trumpets another teacher, and trombones & euphoniums with another teacher. This approach allows students to get the instrument-specific instruction they need to be successful in the early stages of learning an instrument. As concert time approaches the instruments will come together for combined rehearsals, becoming the mighty TAS Grade 5 Beginning Band!