RISING 9TH GRADE INFO
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 a piece.
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
RECOMMENDED INSTRUMENT UPGRADES (SOME SUGGESTED INTERMEDIATE AND PROFESSIONAL MODELS)
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 Superaction 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
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A STEP-UP INSTRUMENT?
As a student advances on the instrument, he/she will find the Student Instrument become limiting, especially when 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.
WHY INVEST IN A STEP UP INSTRUMENT?
• 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, 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 makes 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.
TRINITY BAND LEVELS
Students can take 2 different levels of band at THS: Intermediate (non-honors) and Proficient(honors). While Beginning Credit is listed in the registration handbook, students do not need to enroll in this level as it is designed for students who are true beginners.
THS has 2 concert ensembles: Concert Band (grade III) 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 any ensemble. For instance: A student receive Proficient Credit in Concert Band and another student can receive Intermediate Credit for Symphonic Band.
What are the requirements for Honors Credit? Requirements include Honors Band Auditions (All-County, All-District, etc.), Concert Review, minor scales, Solo and Ensemble, etc.
1st Quarter: All-County Band Auditions
2nd Quarter: Concert Review and All-District Band Auditions
3rd Quarter: Nothing (MPA prep)
4th Quarter: Solo and Ensemble and Minor Scales Pass-Offs.
HOW REGISTRATION WORKS
Concert Band Classes - When a student enrolls in band class, they are signing up for a concert band class (similar to what you have in middle school). 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 honors credit for these classes.
Marching Band is the only extra-curricular activity available for all Band members. Marching Band registration is online on our home oage at www.thsbluecrew.com. You must complete the online registration form as well.