Expectations for Students - Concerts, Lessons & Practice Time

  • Description of the Program

    The band and orchestra experience in 5th grade is very unique compared to the 6th-12th grade experience. Students meet with Mrs. Gary one day per week for a 30 minute lesson during the school day.  Students have lessons with 2-5 other students that play the same instrument. In addition to lessons, students meet as a full-group band or orchestra for one rehearsal every other week during lunch recess. This is a unique situation because most band and orchestra students get together in a full-group rehearsal setting multiple times a week in addition to occasional small group lessons. Students in Fort Atkinson will have lessons and rehearsals multiple times a week once they reach 6th grade. In 5th grade, students develop a strong musical foundation so their subsequent years are successful. The 5th grade band and orchestra opportunity is a positive experience because students receive more personalized instruction geared to meet their individual needs.


    Practice Expectations  

    A lot of responsibility is left up to the student due to the infrequency of lessons. In order to retain what is learned during lessons, students need to consistently play their instruments at home. Practice assignments are very manageable, but can become overwhelming if students get behind. All concepts build upon material  presented in previous lessons, which is why consistency in at-home-practice is so important.

    How OFTEN students practice is crucial. A student that practices 5 days a week for 15 minutes each time is going to be more successful than the student that practices one night a week for an hour.  Playing an instrument is similar to participating in a sport; it’s probably easier for you to run a mile every day for five days in a row as opposed to only running once a week for 5 miles straight!

    Students are required to practice a minimum of:

    75 Minutes per Week

    Some students are most successful when they have a designated practice time every day. For example, 3:15-3:45 is ALWAYS practice time. Some families have crazy after-school schedules, so a designated practice time before school (7:00-7:30, for example) works better for other students. 


    Concert Requirements

    The only acceptable excuses for missing a band or orchestra concert are: the family is on a trip or the student is too sick to attend. Concert dates are given to parents at the very beginning of the year when students first receive their instruments. We schedule concerts months in advance so birthday parties and other events can be scheduled on non-concert days. Families can plan any trips around the concerts as well due to how early the concert dates are given.

    Concerts are only successful if all band or orchestra members are present. Missing musicians hinder the rest of the group. Imagine if the football team went out on the field missing a lineman… the quarterback would constantly get sacked!