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Frequently Asked Questions

For all performances, the "uniform" is black and white. This means that a students need to be dressed in black and white, in whatever combination or permutation desired. The student may wear all black, all white, or a combination thereof. Many students chose to wear a white top and black pants or skirt, but this is not required. The only requirement is that the colors be black and white. However, there are a few additional restrictions: in order to preserve the "dress up" atmosphere of an evening performance, students are asked not to wear shorts, T-shirts, athletic shoes, sweats, or any clothing item prohibited in the school dres code. Ties and white collared shirts are required of Jazz Band members. Evening performances begin at 7:00. Students will usually need to report to the music room a half-hour early for warmup and tuning. Performance times for performances other than evening performances, such as Honor Band, solo/ensemble festival, etc., will vary and be announced well in advance. If your sixth grader participated in instrumental music last year in fifth grade, and you still have their instrument, they may continue to play that instrument. You do not need to buy or rent an "upgrade" instrument for middle school. If your child participated in instrumental music last year in fifth grade but you returned their instrument over the summer, then you should probably try to rent the instrument from the same store you rented it from last year, providing thier service and product were adequate. However, do not expect the store to carry over your rent from last year to this year's contract. If your sixth grader is beginning instrumental music this year, you have several options. By far the most popular option, and the one I recommend, is to rent an instrument from a local music store. Several such stores have school instrument rental programs. Two local stores, Music and Arts Center and Flesher-Hinton Music, send representatives to the school on a regular basis to service our rental accounts. All of the local instrument rental programs that I am aware of are rent-to-own. The advantages of renting is that you're getting a new or near-new instrument, and most local rental program inslude a music stand with your rental contract. Another option is to purchase an instrument, either new or used. This option is more expensive than renting, at least initially, but over the long run may save you money if you're buying a used instrument. The advantages of purchasing an instrument are that you have no monthly rental contract and you won't have to pass a credit check, as you will with a rental. Be VERY VERY cautious about buying an instrument from some other source than a reputable music store! Every year students come in with instruments that were purchased at discount stores or online, and every year those students typically find out just why those instruments were so unbelieveably inexpensive. The reason is that they are unbelieveably CHEAP! If you find a "deal" on an instrument that just seems too good to be true, it probably is! Feel free to call or email if you find an instrument that seems like a good deal, and I'll probably be able to tell you whether on not it's worth persuing. A third option is to borrow an instrument from a relative, neighbor, friend, co-worker, or some other acquaintance. This is perhaps the most economical, as it's typically free, but you might not be able to find the instrument your child wants to play. Also, a borrowed instrument may need maintenance or repair before it can be used. Falcon Creek has a limited number of instruments available for student use. These instruments fall into two general categories: big and rare. The "big" instruments are cellos, basses, tubas, baritone horns, French horns, tenor saxophones, and baritone saxophones, and a few trombones. They are made available for student use at school because they are too big for students to comfortably carry home. Students use these instruments during school classes, with the understanding that parents will rent an instrument for home practice. The rental instrument can then stay at home, and the student can play the school's instrument at school. The rare instruments include oboe, bassoon, and bass clarinet. These are made available for student use because their high costs generally discourage students (and parents) from considering playing them otherwise. Music stores will occasionally rent these instruments, but for about twice the cost of other instruments. However, most band and orchestra instruments do not fit either of these descriptions, so the school does not provide violins, violas, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and drums. There are many opportunities available for interested student to participate in music groups beyond the curricular offerings of the school. For orchestra students, there are several community youth orchestras in the metro area, with the closest being the Arapahoe Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. This organization consists of three different orchestras ranging in ability level from beginning strings to advanced high school symphonic orchestra. Band students can participate in the Colorado Honor Band program, which also has several different ability-level groups. For most of these types of groups that are not affiliated with a school or school district, an audition is required for admittance, and a tuition fee is charged. For more information, contact Mr. Ehrle. Falcon Creek does not offer private music instruction. However, if you're interested in private lessons, Mr. Ehrle can refer you one or more private instructors for your instrument. There's also a company in Aurora called The Music Lesson Place, at the corner of Chambers and Hampden, that (obviously) is in the music lesson business. Most music stores also have private teaching studios; however, with the closing of Flesher-Hinton's Buckingham Square store, the closest music store to Falcon Creek is Allegro Music, in Parker.

That all depends on what grade the student expects to earn, and how much progress the student expects to make. The grading scale for practice reports is spelled out in the Student Syllabus. It is recommended that students set a practice goal, work toward that goal, and adjust the goal as necessary to maintain the desired grade. Remember that practice accounts for 25% of the student's grade in the class.

Again, that will depend on what grade the student expects to earn. It is suggested that a student commits a certain time of the day to practice. This could be after school, after dinner, before chores, before other homework, after other homework, etc. Students who are committed to other activities, such as sports, scouting, church, etc., may find it more convenient to do their music practice on weekends, when time is a little more flexible. For other students, the opposite may be true. The important thing is to try to establish a routine for practice, and then stick to that routine. As far as how much practice will be necessary for the student to keep up with the progress of the group, that varies widely, depending on the individual student's talent. Students with considerable musical talent will find that they master the assigned lessons quickly. These students can then devote a portion of their practice time to other music, such as auditions, popular music books, improvisation, and the like. Students who struggle with assigned lessons should use their practice time to master the lessons, so that their progress keeps pace with the group's.

Please refer to the Student Syllabus for the grading scale. Remember that practice accounts for 25% of the student's grade in the class.

Yes. See the next question for details about instrument lockers. The music room has 164 instrument lockers for student instrument storage. Students wishing to use these lockers will need to pay a $5 lock deposit fee, which is refunded at the end of the school year. Students may share instrument lockers. Students who use the instrument lockers can bring their instrument to the music room before school, lock it up, use it in class, lock it up again, and then collect it after school. Students who play smaller instruments (flute, clarinet, some violins, some trumpets) may find that their instruments will fit in their hall lockers, and those students will not need an instrument locker. Students may not bring in locks from home to use on the instrument lockers; this is a safety issue, and such locks will be removed.

If your child's instrument is too big to go on the bus, it may be possible for the child to play a school-owned instrument during band or orchestra class, and keep their rented or owned instrument at home. These "big" instruments include cellos, basses, tubas, baritone horns, French horns, tenor saxophones, baritone saxophones, bass clarinets, and a few trombones.

Yes! Jazz Band is an advanced group for advanced players, and uses the following instrumentation: saxophones (alto, tenor, and baritone), trumpets, trombones, piano, bass (acoustic or electric), guitar, and drum set. Jazz Band rehearses Mondays after school. Auditions for Jazz Band are in the fall, usually around the third or fourth week of school. The Jazz Band performs at evening band concerts, as well as several other performances. For performance details, see the Performance Schedule.
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