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Topic: 4th grade band
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AuthorTopic:   4th grade band
Registered User

posted: 6/8/2005 at 10:27:28 AM ET
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My son currently is taking piano lessons and is in the 3rd grade. He has to select what instrument he wants to play in the 4th grade band for next year. Fine motor skills are still developing. Any suggestions? Pros and cons for STRINGS vs. WIND vs. BRASS vs. PERCUSSION?? child will be 9 1/2 in the fall when he begins 4th grade. He doesn't know which to choose. Thank you.

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Ashley PA

posted: 6/8/2005 at 7:20:50 PM ET
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That is so tough at that age. Kids pick an instrument and the tire of it or get frustrated with the practice regimen. Maybe the music teacher or band director can make some suggestions. Has the child expressed any interest beyond the piano? Many school bands have key boards as part of their repetoire. At the school my son attends, the band has keyboards, guitars, and several other instruments. He is still young yet, and may change instruments a few times. The most important thing is to learn the basics of music, and the rest will follow. I hope your son enjoys the band regardless of the instrument. He may even play several in time.

I am a fragment of my imagination

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posted: 6/9/2005 at 6:11:40 PM ET
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I am a band director in Arizona and teach beginning band - middle school. I see all of the 4th grade classes in the fall and do a "mouthpiece check " on each student. Because each child has different physical qualities (small hands. short arms, teeth formations, lip size) I try to find the best fit for the student, and what instrument the child will be most successful on. This is key to your child not dropping band in the future. Depending on how good of a tone quality your child gets on each instrument determines the success. If a students gets a good sound on more than one instrument, I do a little more questioning on pitch preference for the child. Some kids do not like high pitched sounds, so flute or clarinet may not be for them. Piano is a wonderful starting instrument for any child, but it is a solitary one , I do not have piano in my concert bands, just the jazz band and that is an advanced group. I would ask your child's band director if he or she does any kind of mouthpiece placement check or can the kids try out some of the instrument first.? Physical qualities are very important. Your child's size is also a factor. As far as being a percussion player, I test the kids to see how their hand eye coordination is and I give them a rhythm test to see if they can clap a rhythm back to me. Once your child hears and sees the different instruments offered at school , you will be able to get a feel for what he is interested in.

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posted: 6/11/2005 at 12:10:45 AM ET
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Check with his band director to get advice.

As a band director for 25 years, I frankly think 4th grade is too young for band. 6th or 7th is better IMO. I feel the students in the 4th grade are too immature physically and mentally for the challenge of playing a wind instrument. I realize lots of school do this. I just don't agree.

Registered User

posted: 6/19/2005 at 3:46:40 PM ET
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Percussion was the final selection based on all of your inputs, as well as band teachers assessments. Thank you all for your opinions -- they definitely helped!

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