At the end of fourth grade, students have an option to sign up for instrumental music lessons in fifth grade. Students may elect to play flute, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, or French horn. Saxophone and percussion students are chosen through lottery. Lessons are held in small groups of 8 – 10 students. Weekly lessons are for thirty minutes and are given on a rotating basis.
Because students are pulled out of class for lessons, the time will change for every lesson so that the student misses the same subject every 4 – 8 weeks, depending on the rotation. The lesson day will always stay the same. Although all instruction is held during the school day, students expected to practice about one hundred minutes each week. The practice time is an important part of the effort grade. Students are also responsible for any work done in their regular classrooms while they are at their music lessons.
Students who choose to participate in the lesson program may drop out at any time with no penalty from the school. If you have an instrumental contract and your child drops out before the four month rental period is over, no money will be refunded. Upon the completion of the contract, your child may continue and pay a monthly fee, or the instrument may be returned with no financial penalties.
Lessons begin in September and continue through June. In January, two bands are formed in addition to the lessons. There is the 5-1 Band and the 5-2 Band, one for each cluster. Both bands meet on Thursdays and will work on the same music. The bands will be combined for rehearsals beginning in May. At this time, the band will rehearse on the stage in preparation for a concert to be held in May. For more details, see Mr. J's webpage http://www.ramsey.k12.nj.us/site/default.aspx?PageID=3463.