Staples band members perform at the
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
Music is a joy to study and experience, and a well-cared-for instrument makes this possible. A musical instrument is a substantial investment in time and money. We encourage you to take the necessary steps to ensure its proper maintenance and security. The following statement explains the responsibility of parents and students regarding student-owned instruments.
Musical instruments owned by students are not covered by the school for theft, loss, or damage. Such coverage is the responsibility of the parent and a variety of options can be provided through the rental/purchase retailer, parents’ homeowners’ policy, a rider on such policy, or through such providers as Clarion Insurance http://www.clarionins.com/
Students are welcome to store their instruments at school during the school day. However, it is encouraged that instruments be taken home at the end of the day. Instruments should always be taken home for weekends, holidays, and vacations as the schools do not take responsibility for instruments left in schools over these time periods.
Instruments owned by the Westport Schools are maintained by the school system for normal repairs and normal wear-and-tear. Parents of students who use school-owned instruments pay a set usage fee to help cover those needs. However, students will be held responsible for instruments that are damaged, lost, or stolen through student abuse or neglect.
Please take steps to ensure the maintenance, care and protection of your investment. A well-cared-for musical instrument will be a joy upon which many life skills and long-term enjoyment can be built. Please speak to your child’s band or orchestra teacher if you have further questions.
The flute is the smallest of the beginner instruments. It is a very popular selection each year, but only a small portion of those wishing to play flute will be selected.
Flute players should have a slight “frown” to the upper lip with NO tear drop shape in the middle. Flute tones are produced by being able to focus an extremely small air-stream to an exact location on the tone hole. The tear-drop-shaped lip will make it difficult to direct the air so precisely. Flute players should also have agile fingers for moving this multi-keyed instrument through a fast musical passage. Students with extreme overbites (receded jaw) should avoid choosing flute as this makes it difficult to produce quality sounds.
Students with double-jointed fingers should avoid selecting flute as double-jointed fingers can cause lack of agility in the fingers.
The oboe is similar in its appearance to a clarinet, but it is played using a “double reed” instead of a single reed and mouthpiece. Selection of oboe players is EXTREMELY limited. VERY few will actually be selected for oboe.
Students with profound overbites or underbites would have EXTREME difficulties producing good sounds on the oboe since the embouchure (mouth position) requires equal pressure on both sides of the reed at the same placement.
Because the oboe is such a difficult instrument to master, only students with high academic performance records will be considered. Students who choose (and are selected) to play oboe are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to take weekly private lessons due to the complexity of the instrument. Students should maintain a supply of 3-4 high-quality reeds at ALL times.
Unlike the oboe, the clarinet uses a “single reed” and a mouthpiece to produce sound. Unfortunately, there are some clarinets on the market whose poor design and craftsmanship will make it next to impossible for your student to succeed. We can help you avoid that pitfall, ultimately saving you from costly repairs and replacement.
One necessity of clarinet tone production is the ability to make the chin flat. Orthodontia is okay, but if a student has an extremely rounded bottom row of teeth, the mouthpiece will be hard to place in the proper position for tone production.
Instruction in clarinet can be meticulous. Students who are able to focus on and perform a detailed series of instructions could do well on clarinet. Clarinet players are also responsible for maintaining a working stock of 3-4 quality reeds.
Click Instrument for Sound
The bassoon is to the oboe what the bass clarinet is to the clarinet. It is the larger, lower sounding version of the double reed instrument. However, bassoon students will not play oboe before switching, instead they will begin on the bassoon itself.
A slight overbite is okay for students wishing to play bassoon, however a student with an underbite should avoid bassoon. Agile thumbs is a necessity for playing bassoon proficiently as well as a medium or greater hand span.
Like the oboe, the bassoon is a difficult instrument to master, therefore students who choose to play bassoon are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to take weekly private lessons. Students should maintain a supply of 3-4 high-quality reeds at ALL times.
The alto saxophone gives the impression of being both a brass AND woodwind instrument, however it is indeed considered a woodwind instrument. The alto saxophone (which uses a single reed like the clarinet) is a very popular instrument like flute and only a few students will be chosen to play it.
Since the balance of the saxophone is maintained by the use of a neck strap, it is extremely important that students be able to sit up completely straight when asked to.
Saxophone players are responsible for maintaining a working stock of 3-4 quality reeds. Alto saxophone students will have the opportunity after their first year of instruction to audition for tenor sax or baritone sax (based on their proven musical and behavioral abilities while in alto saxophone class).