September letter home

September, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians of Grade 7 students,

I do hope your son/daughter has chosen to enroll in Band this year.  Learning this new skill can lead to a life-long pastime and a love for music.  My name is Mr. Denroche and this is my seventeenth year teaching Grade 7 Band for the Burnaby School District.  I have an Honours degree in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario and have done post-graduate work through SFU.  As well as teaching music, I have been a professional horn player for over thirty years: I was member of the CBC Radio Orchestra; occasionally play with the Vancouver Symphony; am a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra; and play baroque horn. 

Benefits of being in band/ Mr. D’s blog site

We are fortunate that SD41 places such importance on the musical arts that Grade 7 Band classes continue to be offered at no expense as part of a well-rounded education.  In order to get the continued support of the Board, t is important we maintain levels of enrolment in Grade 7 Band.  If you have yet to decide whether your child will enroll in Grade 7 Band this year, please go to my blog site to read about the social and cognitive benefits that can result from playing a musical instrument.      

Should my child join Band? A decision worthy of a discussion between parent(s) and child

If your child is not yet enrolled in Band and didn’t hand in the attached form last June, please complete and hand in the form on the reverse so I know you have discussed whether or not to enroll your child in Band. 

I can’t take Band because . . .

Part of the reason I love teaching for Burnaby SD41 is that instruments are available at no cost in cases of financial hardship.  Please write me a confidential note if this is the case.  Regardless of your child’s activities or sports (my stepson was a BC all-star football player and is now principal cello of an orchestra in Germany), everyone has thirty minutes per week in their schedule to get the benefits of playing a musical instrument.   

Do I need to know how to read music if I want to join Band?

No. We learn how to read music and develop our listening skills at a pace where everyone can enjoy success. 

Practice schedule

Like all subjects, students will require different amounts of time to learn the assigned skills and assignments. 

My minimum expectation for practice time is 10 minutes per day, three days per week (of course, more is better!).  Since the hardest part of practicing is getting the instrument out of the case, setting up regular times to practice is the best way to achieve a reasonable standard of performance and will make a huge difference in both your child’s progress and the quality of the band experience.  Playing in band is being part of a musical team; the more skill we develop as a group, the more challenging music we get to play! 

What instrument will my son/daughter be playing?

I will soon meet with your son/daughter and together we will choose the instrument they will play in class this year.  If your child is assigned to play an instrument other than their first choice, it will be for musical or physical reasons.  I appreciate the flexibility shown by my students since our collective artistic experience is based on having a full range of instruments in the class. 

Are there lots of rules in Band?

1) the band room is a safe place to make a mistake (nobody can make a sound I haven’t heard before!)
2) nobody is allowed to make a blasting sound on an instrument
3) always bring your instrument and music to class
4) don’t touch someone else’s instrument
5) don’t talk or play when Mr. D is talking

What music do we get to play in Band?

We will be using Book 1 of Essential Elements.  However, a lot of the fun we have this year will be playing other pieces of music. As a member of several brass groups, I have played hundreds of concerts and arranged much of the music we performed.  I now use those skills to write for my beginning bands and have arranged Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dynamite, Timber, I Believe, Beatles Medley, and more.  I welcome suggestions from my students (parents, too!) for new pieces to arrange. 

First Lesson/Instrument Rental Night

SD41’s First Lesson/Instrument Rental Night is from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept 19th at Byrne Creek Secondary School (7777 18th Street, Burnaby).  I teach thirteen different instruments; if many students don’t go to First Lesson and I have to teach students on each instrument the proper way to assemble, lubricate (or not), clean, and play, it makes for a very slow beginning to our time together so please attend, it’s the best way to have a great start to the year!

Information on the September 19th First Lesson/Instrument Rental Night and the District approved music stores that will be there on the evening is on the following District web site:   or the SD41 Visual/Fine Arts website:

** First Lesson: Because so many students play the flute, clarinet and trumpet, some lessons are listed as either A or B on the schedule.  There is no difference between them – go to the room with the fewest students! 

If you have any questions, please contact me via email:
Please check out my blog:                                                   
Musically yours,

Mr. D


Please return the form below only if you did not send me a completed form in June
If you’re not sure, email me at with your child’s name and school  

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School: ____________________________________      My Child:______________________________________

  Will be enrolling in the Elementary Band Program in September 2017

  Will NOT be enrolling in the Elementary Band Program in September 2017


Parent’s Signature

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