Does my child need to have any previous musical experience?

No, we will teach your child how to play their instrument and read music from the beginning. Piano background helps but is not essential.

Which instrument should we chose?

When determining what instrument to play, we recommend it is best to take up whatever instrument your child seems to be excited about. Children tend to choose a particular instrument because they like the sound that it produces. Some choose instruments just because they think it’s “cool” or they like the look of it. Some stores will allow you to try instruments. In Portland, we have some dates for “Instrument Petting Zoos” where kids can try instruments (see our Rental Page). M.U.S.E. also opens up the office on certain days for this.  In the bay area, we have one Petting Zoo in the Hayward area each year.  There is also Rockin Robbies in Concord, who does this by appointment. See Rental page for California

If your child decides on the drums, we have designed our curriculum to include the tuned bells(Xylophone) as well. This way drummers learn how to play both notes and rhythms. In Portland M.U.S.E. rents a drum/tuned bells kit that is very handy and compact. In the bay are you will need to call around to some of the stores on our Rental List to find out if they have tuned bells(xylophone)  If your child is uncertain about which instrument to play, contact the M.U.S.E. office and we would be glad to talk with you or contact the instructor.

What is the easiest/hardest instrument to start on(band instruments)?

The answer to this question can be a bit tricky. Flute can be a little more difficult than some of the other instruments in the beginning stages but becomes easier as time goes by. Clarinet is fairly easy in the beginning stages but becomes more difficult (for a limited time) by the second year. Traditionally, music teachers recommend students, wanting to play saxophone, should start on clarinet; switching to saxophone later. However, there is no reason why students can’t start with saxophone. We are very successful with beginning saxophone players. The key to learning any instrument is practice! If a child chooses an instrument they desire to play, there is more likelihood they will want to practice that instrument.

Do we need to supply an instrument?

Band students need to rent an instrument if they do not have their own. We highly recommend NOT purchasing right away.  See how your child does first. When purchasing, avoid cheap instruments online. Research before buying. If you see a new trumpet, clarinet, flute, trombone for under $400-500, it’s probably not worth buying. Repair shops won’t even touch these if they break.

Oregon Band Instrument Rentals (through M.U.S.E.): For the convenience of parents, M.U.S.E. has partnered with the nationally acclaimed N.E.M.C. musical instrument rental service to provide top quality instruments for students. The prices are very competitive with local dealers and the quality is outstanding. If you are interested in finding out more about our rental plan, please click here to go to our rental page.

California Rentals: We have a current list of stores in your area that rent instruments. See Rental Page

Instrument Rental California

How much does my child need to practice?

We understand how busy students can get with all of their activities. We recommend that beginning students need to practice 15-20 minutes a day (3-4 days at a minimum). Small amounts of concentrated practice are better than longer periods of unfocused practice time.  It really is crucial that students come to class prepared. I try to explain to parents that learning an instrument really starts at home. In class, we show the students how to approach the music (teaching rhythms, notes, and concepts). It is their job to go home and work on their assignments. When they come back to class one week later, we, the teachers, re-enforce what they have been working on and let them know what they are doing correctly and incorrectly and make adjustments. What is great about learning an instrument in a group setting is that there are many others in the class to help re-enforce what we are learning. When a child is surrounded with others playing the same melody or part, it becomes contagious and easier to learn.

To give students added incentive to practice, teachers hand out reward coupons (Band Bucks) or points for those students who practice the minimum (or more). Students collect “Band Bucks” or points and can turn those in for rewards. We also have BAND KARATE Belts that kids earn for learning songs. Teachers also give out Student of the Month Certificates and Improvement awards on a regular basis.

PLEASE encourage your child to practice at home.

What is my commitment to the program?

We recommend that you sit and talk with your child to make sure they understand the commitment involved. We highly recommend that students make a year commitment to the program. It takes time to learn an instrument. Students will experience times when their lessons may be difficult. They need to practice and work through those times. Financially, please see our billing policies for details.

Can we change instruments after a few months?

It is best to stick with the same instrument for the year. If you rent an instrument through our NEMC program,(Oregon only-see instrument rental) you have 30 days to switch instruments. It is hard to catch students up with the rest of the class if they switch mid-year. Students who have been playing one instrument for a year and then decide to switch the next year, can do so. If you do decide to switch instruments, private lessons may be recommended in order to catch up with the rest of the class. Sometimes it may only take 3-4 lessons to do this.

Is there a deadline for Registering early with SUMMER Special deposit?

Yes. Preregistration is open from May 1 through July 15. Of course, you may register for our programs after July 15th. For more information, check out our Registration page. Once we have received your registration  and payment, we will enter your student into our data base. More information about the program will be emailed out to you in early August. Registration deadline for classes is September 30.

What type of performance opportunities do you offer the students?

Students sign up for band not only to learn an instrument but for the opportunity to perform. We have many performance opportunities for the students. During the holiday season, students perform as a school band for school events. At the end of January/beginning of February, M.U.S.E. organizes our annual winter concert. Students from M.U.S.E. schools in your area, perform together as one ensemble. We also do this at the end of the year for our annual spring concert. Individual school performances are organized by each instructor as well. We also sponsor a solo and ensemble festival in April. PLEASE try to make as many of these events as possible. These events/performances are what makes being in band so fun! These annual concerts can have as many as 200 students performing together as one large ensemble. It is a lot of fun. San Francisco schools also participate in the St. Patricks’ Day Parade in March.  In Portland, M.U.S.E. participates in the Portland Junior Rose Parade every other year and on the off year we now march in the St. John’s Parade in May.

What type of communication is there between M.U.S.E. instructors and parents?

M.U.S.E. instructors stay in close communication with parents through monthly newsletters and email correspondences. We also are available by phone or email if you need to communicate with the M.U.S.E. Office staff. We can get you in touch with your child's instructor immediately if you need to talk with them.


Still have questions? Please contact us at , or call us at 1-800-233-6873

Common Questions