What instruments are available to choose from for band classes and what if my child doesn’t know what instrument they want to play?
A: Here are demonstrations of each instrument created by M.U.S.E. students so you can get an idea of how each instrument sounds and is played.
Trombone Demonstration (coming soon)
Percussion Demonstration (Xylophone and Snare drum) (coming soon)
How do I help my child choose a band instrument?
A: The best recommendation we can make is to choose the instrument your child is excited about. It’s important to focus on what they feel good about playing because they’re the ones who will have to practice the instrument and they are more likely to do this if it’s the instrument they choose! If your child is not sure what to play, take your child to a local store to browse and have the store personnel help you. We also offer Instrument Petting Zoos in September and private appts. in August to help kids find the instrument that fits them best (more info on this below).
A common question asked by students and parents is ” What is the easiest or hardest instrument to play?” The simple answer is practice. Each instrument has it’s challenges but nothing too hard that cannot be overcome with practice.
Do students need any prior musical experience?
A: No experience needed. All the other students in the beginning band class have never played their instrument of choice. A piano background always helps but is not necessary for these classes.
Is the instrument included in the tuition?
A: No. Instruments are separate from class tuition. We HIGHLY recommend you rent an instrument first to see how your child does. Do not buy online unless you really know what to look for. There are a lot of new instruments that look like good deals but usually turn out to be cheaply made. Most importantly, we want your child to get a great start on an instrument that works well consistently so they get the best possible experience. If the instrument is struggling, your child will also be struggling to get a sound and play notes easily.
If you have an instrument in the family or friends, please have it looked at a local music store in your area to make sure it is in good working order.
Why do we recommend renting an instrument first, instead of purchasing?
Before investing in any instrument, you’ll want to make sure your child will make a commitment to his or her lessons. Avoid purchasing instruments online unless you really know what you are doing. There are a lot of cheaply made instruments out there and many repair shops will not work on these when something breaks or it needs maintenance because they cannot get parts that fit correctly. Especially beware of Craig’s List used instruments or garage sales, etc. Sometimes a great instrument is a lucky and inexpensive find but more often than not there is lots of repair that has to be done before the instrument is in proper playing condition, ie: corks and pads replaced, sticky valves and slides, missing pieces, instruments made with plastic parts which are not replaceable, etc.
Most importantly, we want your child to get a great start on an instrument that works well consistently so they get the best possible experience. If the instrument is struggling, your child will also be struggling to get a sound and play notes easily. We also don’t want our parents to lose money in a poor investment. Once you know your student is into the instrument and enjoying playing, then we do recommend buying. We can help you find a used instrument or direct you where to find a new well made instrument from local shops we’ve worked with for years. There are lots of options!
Where do we find a rental instrument?
A: For Portland area
A: For Bay area
A: For St. Pius V
A: For Eugene, OR
What is a petting zoo event?
Each fall in early to mid September, we offer a couple weekend days where students can actually hold and make a sound with any or all of the instruments we teach. However, due to Covid-19, we are not going to be able to offer this in the fall. We highly recommend you watch the instrument demonstrations we mentioned earlier under “What instruments are available to choose from for band and what if my child doesn’t know what instrument they want to play?”
What do drummers play?
A: Drummers have to rent a bell/drum kit. This kit includes a snare drum, a practice pad and tuned bells with music stand. These bells are played with mallets and teach the students how to read melodies. Percussionists, which we like to call our drummers, start the year with bells and then transition to snare drum in Nov/Dec We also offer workshops during the school year and we require drummers to attend at least two of these which will be online.
Does offer Guitar/Ukulele and piano classes?
A. Yes. But right now it is very limited. We have a few schools with programs for Guitar/Ukulele, and piano classes. These instruments are taught separately from band for many reasons.
What is the procedure if the instrument I rented needs repair?
A. For more details:
St. Pius V
If you notice or the teacher lets you know your child’s instrument needs maintenance or repair, try to get it in as soon as possible! Many repair shops have a line up for repair and the beginning of the school year and the end of year are very busy times for repair – fall because all music programs are getting started, including middle school and high school bands, and spring because many schools are performing musicals, end of year concerts, etc. So remember, you may not be able to get the instrument repaired quickly if you wait until you are in a time crunch. Plus, your student may miss valuable time practicing and playing in class. Please note: We don’t usually have a loaner instrument available.
Do we keep renting the instrument over the summer or do we have to return it?
Most of our continuing students keep their instruments over the summer and we hope they get to practice a bit, maybe play music with friends, take some private lessons, play their music for grandparents or relatives, possibly participate in a band camp. We have added special Fun Music on our new website for kids to download and play this summer so we hope you can encourage them to keep playing!
However, some parents want to return the rented instrument and then rent again in the coming fall. Remember when you return, it may cancel the contract and also any % of your payments toward future purchase. Most parents of beginning students aren’t focused on buying yet but its something to consider if you child really gets attached to the rented instrument.