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What do I need to know?

I look forward to working with the talented freshmen musicians that will be joining the band program next Fall!

Below is a list of the equipment requirements and suggestions for students in the THS band. Most students already own everything on this list, however, it is vital that if you do not own something on this list that you make efforts to purchase these items.

1) Black, three-ring binder. With sheet protectors, please.

2) Access to a metronome for at-home practice (required for everyone)

*** Note: It is acceptable to have a smartphone/tablet metronome application that ranges anywhere from free to $4.00 to purchase. There are also websites that provide free metronomes. Free Online Metronome:

3) Tuner for wind instruments.

*** Note: Again, most smartphones/tablets offer downloadable tuners from as low as $.99 to free.

4) Reeds (Woodwinds only) - Mr. Dickens provides clarinet and saxophone reeds for $2 apiece.

Single reed players (clarinet/saxophone) need to have at least 4 good reeds on hand at all times.

Double reed players (bassoon/oboe) should have at least 2 good reeds at all times.

5) Mouthpieces (Brass only) - All brass players are required to purchase their own mouthpiece (see below for recommendations). While most brass players already own their own mouthpiece, the THS Band Program does not have the funds to provide everyone with a mouthpiece. Clarinet and saxophone players are encouraged to use high-quality mouthpieces (see list below). Most mouthpieces that come with the instrument are low-quality mouthpieces.

6) Concert Dress – Fittings, measurements, and payments are handled the first month of school.

Men (Symphonic Band/Concert Band) - Black dress shoes, black dress pants, white button-down shirt, and straight tie

- To be purchased anywhere at your preference.

Men (Wind Ensemble) - Tuxedo and dress shoes.

Total cost: $175 or less

Ladies (All bands) - Solid black/standard dress

Dress Purchase: $60

7) Instrument in proper working condition (read below policy for students renting an instrument)

Instruments the THS Band owns for students to rent: Bassoons, Oboes, Tubas, Baritones, French Horns, Bass Clarinets, Baritone Saxophones, Tenor Saxophones. Students may have to share instruments based on the number and the need. THS does not own any alto saxophones, flutes, or clarinets.

THS loans school-owned instruments to students on a yearly contractual basis.

Percussionists do not pay a fee for school-owned instrument use.

8) Mallets and Drum Sticks (Percussionists only) - Percussionists need to own:

a pair of general snare sticks, a pair of general yarn mallets, a pair of general hard rubber mallets, and general timpani mallets.


A pitch pipe (percussion)

A stick bag (percussion)

Clarinet Mouthpieces - Van Doren 5 RV Lyre Mouthpiece or a Phobes debut

Saxophone Mouthpieces - Selmer C*, Vandoren AL3, Eugene Rousseau NC4

Trumpet Mouthpieces - Bach 5C, 3C, 1 or 1.5C

Trombone Mouthpieces - Bach 5G or 4G, Schilke 51 or 51D

Tuba Mouthpieces - Helleberg 120S, Bach 18


Piccolo Yamaha YPC62

Flute Yamaha 684 H, Jupiter Di Medici, Altus,

Clarinet Buffet E-11 (Intermediate) R-13 (Professional)

Oboe Loree or Fox 400

Bassoon Fox Renard 220 or 222

Saxophone Selmer Super action 80 Series II or III, Yamaha Custom

Trumpet Bach Stadivarius

Horn Paxman M20 or Holton 179

Trombone Bach 42B, BO, or Edwards

Euphonium Yamaha 321-S or Willson

Tuba St. Petersburg or Miraphone 191 or 187


As a student advances on the instrument, he/she will find the Student Instrument become limiting, especially when the music gets more difficult and more expression is needed. A Step-Up Instrument is more responsive to allow the player to play with a better sound through the full range of the instrument. Several things contribute to that.

• Brass instruments and saxophones are made with finer materials

• Brass instruments often have larger tubing (bore) for a fuller tone

• Flutes are made with higher silver content

• Clarinets are made of fine woods rather than plastic

• Instruments often have extra keys to allow for alternate fingerings

• Stringed instruments and bows are made from higher-quality woods

• More hand craftsmanship makes each instrument unique

How do I Know my Student is Ready for a Step-Up Instrument?

The best judge is the student’s band director, orchestra director, or private teacher. They may also have suggestions for obtaining a good-quality instrument and may even help with the process. Here are some factors to consider.

• Although every child is different, most students are ready to “step-up” when they have been playing for 6-12 months. At this point, they can produce a good characteristic sound on their instrument and have learned how to handle the instrument carefully.

• They may be ready when they have demonstrated that they are committed to learning the instrument and intend to continue to high school and perhaps beyond.


• Unlike beginner instruments that are cheaper and can be rented, a step-up instrument is a true investment in furthering your child’s musical education and abilities. 

• Whether you want your child to develop a lifelong skill, to be engaged in a fulfilling extracurricular activity, or are hoping he/she can attain scholarship money in the future, the need to move on to a step-up instrument is a major turning point. 

• Not only are you investing in your child’s future, but you are also purchasing a high-quality instrument that can live in your family for years to come.


Student flutes are usually made of nickel-silver, a hard and relatively inexpensive metal. This is not critical because, at this point, the player is more focused on finding the correct note than producing a beautiful tone.

Step-Up flutes are made of increasing amounts of solid silver and sometimes even gold. Those metals vibrate more freely creating a fuller more pleasing tone with more harmonics. They also have improvements in key-work to negotiate faster, more accurate passages as music becomes more complex.


Student clarinets are made of a high-grade plastic material and a smaller bore which requires less effort appropriate to easily produce a strong sound. The durable construction stands up well to inexperienced musicians.

Step-Up clarinets have a larger bore and are made of various types of wood, typically Grenadilla or Cocobolo which produces a darker more characteristic sound. By the time a player gets to this instrument, their technique has developed enough to feel comfortable.


Step-Up saxophones often have additional keys to extend the range of the instrument for more advanced players. Annealed brass and rib construction gives the mechanisms more stability and blued steel springs make the keys respond better without additional pressure. An adjustable thumb rest allows customization for smaller or larger hands.


Beginner trumpets have small bores (inside size of the tubing) which make them easier to play but sacrifices some potential tone. The bore on a Step-Up trumpet is larger allowing a fuller sound but requiring good breathing habits that a more experienced player will have developed.

Step-Up trumpets are made with more tightly fitted valves and slides, minimizing leakage of air which would make the player have to work harder. They often have additional slide rings and triggers for ease of play and are often finished in silver for a brighter tone.


A Step-Up trombone will have a wider bore (the inner width of the slide) and an “F” attachment which utilizes an additional length of tubing attached to a valve to offer alternative slide positions as the player encounters more complex music. 


Students can take 4 different levels of the band at THS: Beginning, Intermediate, Honors, and Advanced. 

THS has 2 concert ensembles: Concert Band (grade III-IV) and Symphonic Band (grade IV-VI). Band placement is based on ability level, not grade level (though it is rare for freshmen to make the Symphonic Band).

Students can receive regular or honors credit for the upper-level ensembles. 

What are the requirements for Honors Credit? Requirements include Honors Band Auditions (All-County and All-District, ), Concert Review, minor scales achievement, Solo, and Ensemble participation.


1st Quarter: All-County Band Auditions

2nd Quarter: Concert Review and All-District Band Auditions

4th Quarter: Solo and Ensemble and Minor Scales Pass-Offs.


Concert Band Classes - When a student enrolls in band class, they are signing up for a beginning band class (similar to what you have in middle school). They may audition to skip to the intermediate Band class. We have a high-quality concert band class that is sectioned by ability level. Your child will audition in March or April for placement in the appropriate band. Students may receive either regular or honor credit for these classes.


Marching Band registration is online on our home page at You must complete the commitment form as well as pay the deposit by May 3 this year. The deposit is $75. The total cost to be in Marching Band is $275. This fee covers many things such as food, transportation, competition entry fees, Uniforms, and Props. 

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