Mrs. Audrey Spies
RFIS Band Director for 5th and 6th Grade Bands
Tips for Parents
Even if you’ve never played and instrument, you can help your child be successful on their chosen instrument.
1. First, emphasize the importance of music in a well-rounded education. There are so many studies showing that students who play an instrument have better grades across the board!
2. Make sure your child schedules their practice time just like their other homework. Start with selecting at least 4 of the least busy days for practicing. You have signed your child up for an additional class. Our homework is to practice what we have learned in class. It is essential for progress. We hate to see a student become discouraged simply because they have not practiced and fallen behind the rest of the class.
3. Remember, every student goes through rough patches...they have a hectic schedule, they find it challenging, they're not having fun everyday, etc. DON'T GIVE UP AT THE FIRST SIGN OF STRUGGLE. (Did you quit the sports team because of one really hard practice? of course not.) Encourage them to work through challenges. Perseverance, hard work and time management are life long skills we all need. You will develop these skills in instrumental music.
4. Make sure your child has a well working instrument, lesson book and the necessary supplies (like reeds) ready for the first week of school.
5. Please help them know their cycle days so they can come prepared with their instrument. Mrs. Spies hands out monthly calendars with the cycle days marked. HANG IT where you will see it everyday (where they do their homework, inside their locker, refrigerator, etc). I suggest students circle the days they need their instrument and have them pack their instrument the night before, not scramble for it in the morning. Cycle days can also be found on the RFIS website if you every need to check what day it is. And yes, we do have lessons and rehearsals on half days. If we have a "snow day" then we lose that day.
6. Make sure you hear them practice. Talk to them about how their practicing is going. Better yet, ask them to teach you! Ideally, I would like students to practice everyday, but I know that is not always possible. TIME MANAGEMENT is an invaluable skill all young musicians learn. Schedule your practicing just like all of your other homework. Give me your best effort. 15 minutes, 4 days a week will bring very noticeable results! The key is regular practice.
Students are taught to practice in 3 sections:
1. WARM UP (scales, lip slurs for brass, designated warm ups for percussion)
2. LESSON BOOK (you should hear them practicing assigned lines out of the book, even clapping and counting.)
3. BAND MUSIC (music selections we will play as a band)
6. A music stand, metronome and tuner are always helpful to the young musician.
7. There are only 2 concerts during the school year; Winter and Spring. Please mark these dates on your family calendar. Letting your coaches and teachers know far in advance will avoid the heartbreak of any conflicts. Students work all year for these performances and students depend on each other for the group’s success.
8. Make sure your child has the appropriate concert attire for evening concerts and afternoon assemblies). Please contact one of the music teachers with any concerns.
9. Lastly, if possible and willing, private lessons will give your child the best advantage with one-on-one individualized instruction. Ask for a private teacher list.
Good luck! I'm looking forward to a great year with you!