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Welcome to Band
Brian Smith, Elementary Band Director

DDF and Five Points and Washington Instrumental Music

Welcome to my webpage. Please take a look around for information that may pertain to you or your student. Check back for updates.


Contact Information for Brian Smith

Email – smithbri@bangorsd.org

Instrumental Lessons Rules

over 2 years ago

Instrumental Lessons Procedures/Rules 


1. Enter quietly, especially if the group before you is finishing up. Wait quietly in the hall if necessary. If possible, put your instrument together so you are ready to go.

2. Give your Practice Log to Mr. Smith.

3. Put your instrument together and open your book to the appropriate page(s).

4. Look on the board for specific instructions.

5. Follow instructions and perform the appropriate material for Mr. Smith.

6. At the end of the lesson, pack up carefully and quickly for the next group. 

PRACTICE!

Band Practicing Tips

over 2 years ago

HOW TO PRACTICE MORE EFFECTIVELY

Parents, your young musician needs your support and encouragement to maintain an effective practice schedule. We have found that most students need to practice an average of between 20 to 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week to achieve the greatest benefit from their time. Below are a few helpful hints to make that home practice time a productive and rewarding experience.

1. For all musicians, practice time should be a period of intense concentration, devoted to the idea of working out rather than playing through musical material.

2. It is important to practice slowly and to avoid continued unsuccessful repetitions of a problem passage. Any mistake made will tend to be perpetuated until it is discovered and corrected. The muscles learn the wrong physical coordination and must be retrained. To correct the problem passage, practice slowly at first. Then slowly speed up, never faster than you can do correctly.

3. Always think about relaxation and be on the lookout for tension in your playing. Sit correctly with a straight spine and relaxed shoulders. Think proper posture and instrument position. Use the least amount of pressure necessary.

4. Take full deep breaths and play in a very aerobic way. Use your diaphragm muscles. 

5. The practice area should be private and quiet, without distractions of computers,  television, stereo or other people. It should have good lighting, a music stand for proper instrument position, and a firm straight back chair for correct posture and breathing.

6. The practice session is most beneficial when you reserve a certain time of the day to work. Usually a practice session at the end of the day, when you are mentally and physically fatigued, is fruitless.

7. For some, shorter practice sessions (10 or 15 minutes) during the day are preferable to a single, longer practice session. Example: One session after school or before dinner and another session later in the evening as a break from other studies.

8. Practice good basics. Constantly think fundamentals. Never sacrifice your sound. Good characteristic tone comes first and always. Use a tuner or tuner app.
 
9. Practice with a steady pulse or beat. Use a metronome or metronome app.
 
10. When beginning a practice session, have a well-organized idea of how to use the time that is available. Remember to warm-up first, practice some scales, lesson material and band music.
 

FAQ for Band Sign-Ups

over 2 years ago

FAQ for Beginner Band sign-ups

1. How do the lessons work/how often do the students have lessons?
     The band lessons take place during the school day, as the students are pulled out of class.  All band instruments are taught by me and several other of the music faculty, with the lessons usually taking place on the same day each week.  Students will have lesson times that rotate throughout the day so they don't miss the same class every time. Teachers have the weekly schedule posted so students know what time their lesson is. It is of extreme importance that all students remember their materials on their lesson day and arrive at their lesson a couple of minutes early to be able to take full advantage of the lesson time.  Students who continually "forget" their instrument will have difficulty improving since we won't be able to hear them play and won't be able to guide them on what to do next.

2.  What if my child is doing poorly in the class they are missing for band?
     If your child is having trouble in a class they are missing for band lessons, please contact both your child's teacher and myself. We will do everything we can to make an adjustment to the schedule to make sure your child does well in school. Again, the lessons rotate, so this will hopefully not be an issue. Please do not just take them out of band. A lot of times, band lessons are the one thing a child looks forward to each week. There have been many studies that show how well band students do in core subject areas as a result of learning a musical instrument.

3.  What if my child has a test at the time of a lesson?
     If your child has an important test, the teacher may hold your child from the lesson, or they might allow your child to make it up when they get back.  The teacher and I will be in contact as long as your child speaks up and lets us know about the conflict.  We sometimes have make-up times we can use if need be to help facilitate this issue too.

4.  Do I send money in with the sign-up form?
     No. DO NOT send money with the sign-up form.  Money is given to the music store from which you decide to rent the instrument. Most music stores, including Zeswitz which will have a representative at the meeting in September, have an online application and you will pay online at that time. Other options for instrument rental I suggest are the  Art and Music Emporium in Bangor and Nazareth Music in Nazareth.  Zeswitz does the meeting because the representative comes to the school once a week as a convenience, and have a very solid program.  Instruments and books are delivered by them to the school, once all rental agreements are filled out, etc.

5.  What if we own an instrument or have access to a relative/friends?
     That's great! But please take my advice on the following points. 
     1. Please be sure your child actually wants to play the instrument. There are many cases of students playing a parent or relative's instrument that they don't really like, and therefore, do not end up practicing, so they either quit or perhaps change to a different instrument. Changing is fine, but is sometimes difficult for me and the student. We have to either work them into a group at the same level or create a new lesson spot, not easy with a tight schedule. Also, the child has to start over on the new instrument and will not be as far along as they would have been if they had started on it.  So the moral is, please make sure they really want to play that particular instrument.

     2.  Before your child starts the lessons, you will want to have the instrument checked over for any functional problems it may have from sitting in a closet, attic, or basement for a long time.  Instruments need proper care, and if they are sitting in damp places or even really dry places, they will need some things fixed/replaced.  You can ask me to look at it so I can advise you what to do, or you can go to one of the retailers listed above (Zeswitz Music, Nazareth Music or the Art and Music Emporium) and have them check it out.  This is a REALLY important step!  If your child's instrument does not work well, they will have difficulty producing a sound/playing, which will in turn discourage them from practicing, and eventually they might quit. That is not something we want to have happen.

6. I've seen band instruments in places like big box stores that have really low prices. Is this a good option?
     NO! There are factories in places like China that make instruments for different distributors. The distributors then stamp their own name on them and sell them to places like those box stores.  The prices are low because the material and workmanship is not of the best quality, making them inferior instruments.  I'm not saying that everyone needs to have the best, and I know instruments can be expensive, but these instruments tend to have more repair issues than the better made instruments. Repairs can be costly, and over time you will pay more. Also, due to the quality in the materials, some repair technicians won't work on them because they have had trouble in the past with these instruments holding up to the repair.  Like I said above in number 5, if the student has trouble producing a sound/playing because of how the instrument is (not) working, they will stop practicing and eventually quit. Again, not something we want to happen. Please consider doing the rental of the instrument first to see if your child is truly interested and sticks with it. If they don't, then you haven't made a huge investment, and you don't have an instrument to worry about selling.

7.  What about eBay or Craig’s List? I've seen brand new instruments in auctions and sales on there really cheap!
     EBay and Craig’s List are great. I've bought a number of things on those sites myself. But buying a musical instrument is a very tricky thing. There are a lot of sneaky people out there trying to get you to buy a piece of junk. Auction listings such as, "Brand NEW Selman Trumpet" are totally bogus. Sure the instrument is new, but it's not from a reputable company with a quality product; it's one like I listed above in question number 6. (Selman is actually a rip-off of the SELMER name, an American band instrument manufacturer for many years.) Don't get me wrong, there are good deals out there.  But if you think you want to purchase an instrument from eBay, please send the link via email to me so I can look at the auction listing and advise you as to whether or not that would be a good choice. Just remember: Buyer beware.

Information for Beginner Band Parents

over 2 years ago

Congratulations on becoming a Bangor Band Parent! 

You and your child have now joined the ranks of the many students and parents involved in the instrumental music program district wide.  I am very excited about this year’s enthusiastic group of young musicians. Here’s a few thoughts to help your child do well in band.

 

Home Practice and Motivation

There are no short cuts for the development of young artists.  Dedication and commitment serve as the keys in making the musical process work.  It is easy for young people to get discouraged and avoid the necessary repetition needed to master the skills, but with your support they will have a strong desire to succeed.  Please look for every opportunity to compliment your child as they explore their talents.  They are less likely to become discouraged if you continue to reward them for their practice time and loyalty to their new instrument.  You are your child’s most important audience!

 

Attendance at lessons

Because of the limited instructional time with your child, it is imperative that they attend every lesson and band rehearsal.  Please help your young musician to remember his/her lesson every week. Schedules go out to homeroom teachers, who hang them up. I also have students write down their next lesson day so they can be prepared.

 

Getting an Instrument

My representative from Zeswitz is here tonight to explain their rental program, and how to sign up on their website.  For your convenience, they visit once a week to handle any equipment needs or repair problems. Their web address to rent the instrument is zeswitzmusic.com/rent. Simply follow the prompt for instrumental rental and fill out the online form with appropriate information. It’s super easy!

Getting an instrument from another store is fine if that is more convenient, but repairs will have to be done through that store.

*If you get an instrument from a family member or friend, PLEASE bring it in immediately for me to check to make sure it is in proper working condition.  If need be, I may suggest having the instrument repaired or professionally cleaned.

 

I look forward to working with you and your child throughout the year.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at smithbri@bangorsd.org.  THANK YOU for giving your child the opportunity to participate in this important educational experience!



Lessons


-All band lessons take place during school hours.

-Every student receives one 30-40minute lesson each week. Teachers will be given the schedule to hang up in classrooms

 -Since lessons are pull-out, the lessons times will rotate through the day to help avoid missing the same class every time.

  -Because of the limited time, it is imperative that they attend every lesson and band rehearsal.


 


Practice (please see my practice tips page for more information)


-Make it a part of the Daily Routine. If it’s routine, it’s easier to practice.

  -I STRONGLY suggest 20-30 minutes each day.

  -The more you practice, the better you get. The better you get, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the more fun it is!


 


Practice Logs

 

-Used to keep track of student’s progress at home and as an incentive.

  -Record time each week for each day practiced. 

  -100 minutes minimum per seven days. 

  -Parents sign on the calendar days to verify time.

  -Logs turned in at the lesson and filled out correctly with a signature get a Music Buck.

  -Music Bucks can only be redeemed with me and can be saved to get things like music stickers, toys, and other small items.

 

Equipment/Materials (check out my Music Links page for more options)


-Reeds, cork grease, and swabs for clarinets & saxes; valve/slide oil for brass instruments.

  -You can order these items through Zeswitz or go to another local retailer to get them.

 

 

Concerts


-There are two concerts each year. The Winter Concert is toward the end of December. Rehearsals for this will take place in school the several days prior to the event. The Spring Concert will be in the beginning of May. Rehearsals AFTER school to prepare for this concert won’t begin until February and will go through March and April to prepare for the Spring Concert. More information on this will be available in January.


 


Helpful Tips and Suggestions

 

Music Participation Enhances:


 


-Problem Solving                                                             -Memory Skills


-Team Work                                                                      -Self-Confidence


-Goal Setting                                                                     -Concentration


-Self-Expression                                                               -Poise


-A life-long, love and knowledge of the arts               -Listening Skills




What can YOU do to HELP ENSURE SUCCESS?


-Provide a quiet place for practice.


-Schedule a consistent daily time for practice. Make it routine.


-Encourage your child to play for family and friends. Performing for others is very helpful.


-Listen to and praise your child’s efforts. YOU are the best audience.


-Attend concerts to show support for your child and the progress they’ve made with hard work.


-Remember that results take time…be patient.


  


If your child begins to lose interest:

 

-Talk to your child to determine why their interest is declining.


-Talk to or email Mr. Smith as this is a common thing to happen after a few months.


-Offer increased enthusiasm and support at home.


 

Remember, YOU are your child’s most important audience!


Elementary Band Absence Excuse Form

over 2 years ago

This is the form to use if a student must absolutely miss a band rehearsal before or after school. Remember, if a student is absent from school that day, this form is NOT needed as I will see the school attendance.

Please try to schedule doctor appointments around rehearsals and avoid other conflicts as much as possible.

Your child has brought home two copies already, and can pick up new ones from me whenever needed. At DeFranco, there are extras kept in the slots on the wall outside of my room. Please print and use as needed.

Thanks!

Music Links

over 2 years ago


 

zeswitzmusic.com This is the music store who does most of our instrumental rentals and the representative visits the schools each week to make deliveries of supplies, or pick up/return instruments for repair. All convenient for you. You can order supplies directly through the site via your account to have them delivered to the school for your child.
.
JW Pepper - a GREAT site to order music.
 
Woodwind & Brasswind - instruments and supplies.
 
Art & Music Emporium - The art and music store on Johnsonville Rd in Bangor, is owned by Bangor graduates. Pick up music and art supplies, rent instruments, or buy instruments. Check it out!
 
Nazareth Music Center - The well-known music store in downtown Nazareth, PA. They offer music supplies, lessons, instruments to purchase, rent, etc. A great family owned music store that's been around for a long time.

Dillon's Music - Located in New Jersey, another great source of instrument supplies, and a great resource for quality used instruments.