Band FAQ

Dear Parents,

Students enrolled in the M.U.S.E. Band Program are taught the basics of playing a band instrument in a full band setting.  Classes are designed to be fun and encouraging. There is no prior experience necessary. The instruments taught are flute, clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, trombone and percussion (bells and snare drum).

A: Go to our “School Page” Link to find out .

A: Yes. No experience needed.  All the other students in the beginning band class have never played their instrument of choice.

A: Go to our “School Page” link under the region and name of your school.

A: Schedule will be on the “School Page” Select your school for start up date, day of classes, and times.

A: Your teachers name and email address will be listed under your school on the School Page of our website.

A:  At school. Check with the school office for location of the class.

A: Students should bring their instrument. If they don’t have their instrument yet, students should still come to class and observe how the other kids are putting their instruments together and getting started making sounds on their mouthpieces. Parents need to try to get an instrument by the second class, at very latest, so their child can join in with the rest of the beginner class and practice the assignments at home for their next class. A good strong start is important to support their enthusiasm!​

It’s usually best to go with what your child wants to play. They will be more apt to practice. If your child is unsure, have them go to our website for a short video on each instrument. In Portland we offer a couple weekend days of instrument “Petting Zoos” in the fall where students can come and try the different instruments. We also offer this in the Hayward area for our schools in the Northern California bay area and now in Buena Park at St. Pius V, in early September. See our “Events” page for locations, dates, and times.

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 instruments that look like good deals, new or used, but usually turn out to be cheaply made or may need lots of refurbishing. 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!

A: There is information on our Instrument Rental pages we’ve put together for each region, ie: Oregon, Northern California, and Southern California.  These info pages can be found under “EXPLORE MUSE” in our website menu. We have lists of reputable music stores in your area to help you find rental instruments and supplies. We’ve included links to a website so you can help your child listen to, choose and learn how to assemble each instrument. These are very helpful resource pages for parents and students.

A:  No. However, you should take it to a local instrument shop to have them look it over to make sure it is in proper working order.

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.

A: see our “schools page” and select your school.

A: Many schools have an aftercare program. If the cost prohibits you, talk to the instructor. Each school has different arrangements. Some teachers will allow a small group of students to stay in band room and quietly do their homework.

A:  The instructors email will be on the School Page of our website. Teachers will also be touching base with you early on by email.

A: No. This is included in the materials fee. Instructors start using the books by the 2nd or 3rd week.

A: The first day of beginning band is an “Open House” where parents can come and meet the instructor and ask questions. We understand that not all parents can make it.  If you have questions for the instructor, please email him or her. Students who have instruments that day will also be shown how to put together their instrument.  Those who don’t have an instrument on the first day can observe.

A: 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. Our teachers are there to guide them them and we ask for your help too in supporting and encouraging them along the way. These are life long lessons that help build a strong foundation in your child’s overall education. Discipline, teamwork, and commitment are benefits your child carries over into their school work from learning music.

For those students who start in September, by the 1st of November, if you decide that the program is just not for your child, you are not obligated any further. This is the only drop window. For those who start in October, drop window is December 1st. 

See our Billing Policies for more details.

A: It is really important to get their child to practice at home. Each child is different. Some will create their own time to practice.  Others need parent encouragement. If they don’t practice at home, they will likely fail and have a bad experience. We suggest using practice as a study break between school work.  Playing their instrument uses the other side of the brain and helps them grow connections in developing motor skills and problem solving.

A: 3-4 days a week for 15-20 minutes a day minimum. Small amounts of concentrated practice are better than longer periods of unfocused practice time. This is very reasonable knowing how busy students lives are with extra curricular activities. Students need to come to class prepared.

A: Teachers take a lot of time in class showing students “How to Practice”. We teach them to recognize where they need to spend their time practicing. There is also a practice journal in their book where they write down their assignment and keep track of practicing.

We also offer FREE workshops in the fall for all Beginning Band students and Intermediate/Advanced students. Parents are not only encouraged to bring their child to these events but to stay and observe as well. For first-year students, Bryant takes the students through a series of fun “games” that help make every child feel comfortable followed by fun techniques on “How to Practice” and note reading exercises. Your child will benefit immensely by participating in these workshops. For Intermediate and Advanced students,  Bryant works with the students to better understand how important it is to be able to REALLY know and understand rhythms (not just guess). The goal of each session is to take a piece of music and explore all the details that, when executed properly, make the piece of music come alive and sound the way the composer intended it to.  Some of these details include dynamics, articulations, and phrasing. There is no extra cost to participate. It’s included in the tuition you pay.

A:  Best to catch this sooner than later. If the student has problems right away with producing the sound or feels awkward with the instrument, try to switch as soon as possible. Mid-year is too late unless you get some private lessons.

A: No. Beginning Band Students need to start at the beginning of the year with everyone else.

A: These are offered 2-3 times a year in the bay area and Portland. These usually take place on a weekend and run 60 minutes long. Parents are encouraged to come and watch. These workshops are VERY helpful for students and parents who can observe the “process” of learning an instrument. These events will be listed on our events page. These are very helpful for parents to know how to encourage their kids when they are practicing.

A: Yes!!  We have our annual winter and spring concert in each region as well as other fun events that include parades and our annual solo and ensemble festival. These events will be listed on our Events Page.