Students should have:

September, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians of students enrolled in Band,

Welcome to our band!  I am thrilled that your son/daughter has chosen to play an instrument this year.  Learning this new skill can lead to a life-long pastime and a love for music.  In addition, countless studies have shown that learning to play a musical instrument provides a unique opportunity for cognitive development.

Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Mr. Denroche.  This is my twentieth year teaching Grade 7 Band in SD41.  In addition to holding an Honours degree in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario, I have been a professional horn player for over thirty years.

What instrument will my son/daughter be playing?
I will meet with all students before finalizing what instrument your child will play in class this year.  Your child may be assigned an instrument other than his/her first choice for either musical or physical reasons.  I truly appreciate the flexibility shown by my students because our collective artistic experience is based on having a full range of instruments in our class – and your child’s willingness to practice regularly!


Virtual Band Night
SD41’s Virtual Band Night will be an online Zoom session 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept 29th.  This free one-time event provides an opportunity for each student to learn from an expert on their particular instrument how to assemble, lubricate (or not), clean, and establish good playing habits.  This saves me having to go through this procedure with each different instrument during class time while others wait for their turn.  Unless your child already plays the instrument, please attend! It’s the best way to have a great start to the year.  If you can’t make the Zoom session, I believe they will be recorded so it can be viewed at a later date.

Other than the instrument that has been decided upon with Mr. D,, what does my child need for class?

– Essential Elements 2000 Book 1 method book for your child’s instrument.

This year SD41 band teachers have decided to use our purchasing power to make a special purchase and the exact number of books my students will be needing this year have been ordered.  They will be $15 (tax included).  Plans are underway to have the purchase made through cash on line.
That being said, I have been using Essential Elements for years.  If you have a used book for your instrument that says Online Resources Included on the top left corner of the cover and the activation code on the first page hasn’t been used, you don’t need to buy a new book.

 a 1″ three-ring binder is highly recommended.  All the music your child will be getting over the year is much easier to organize if it’s in a 1″ binder.  Instruments and music should be treated with respect.  If music can not be stored flat inside the case, DO NOT PUT YOUR MUSIC INSIDE YOUR INSTRUMENT CASE.  In addition to possible damage to instruments, jamming music into cases results in music frequently falling off the music stand because it does not lie flat.

All clarinet and saxophone players should have FOUR #2 REEDS in a reed guard.  A reed guard, designed to store reeds flat and keep them from warping and being damaged in the case, is made of hard plastic.  Reeds should not be stored on the mouthpiece but the student can use an old or damaged reed to keep the ligature from bending.  I usually have reeds on hand for emergency use that I will sell at the beginning of class – $2 for clarinet reeds, $3 for alto sax, and $4 for tenor sax.  For the best in sound and embouchure development, most clarinetists will be using #2½ early in the term.
—-  If you buy a box of reeds for clarinet, please buy a box of #2½ reeds along with four #2 reeds to start.  Saxes can buy boxes of #2.

Oboe players – if the reeds I have ordered do not show up before the 29th, please buy one medium soft reed.

Folding music stand
If possible, please buy a folding music stand for your child’s use at home to promote good posture and playing habits.

Practice schedule
                  Please set up a regular practice time with your son/daughter.
Like all subjects, students will require different amounts of time to learn playing skills and assignments.  Practicing a minimum of 15 minutes per day, at least three days per week is the best way to achieve a reasonable standard of performance and will make a huge difference in your child’s progress and the quality of the band experience.   Band builds upon previous skills and it’s very difficult to catch up once a student falls behind.

Buying an instrument
I recommend renting an instrument for the year.  However, for those who prefer to purchase an instrument for their child’s use, I highly recommend making a purchase from a reputable music store that can repair the instrument.  Although some instruments can be bought for a price that seems too good to be true, they are often more difficult to play and can be expensive or even impossible to repair.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding recommended brands to either purchase or rent.

If you have any questions, you may contact me through the school or at

Musically yours,
Mr. D

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