Mr. Sam Van Dielen, directors of the Houston Schools band program, has announced an informational meeting Feb. 28 for beginning band. See his informational message for details:

PARENTS: Please attend the Tuesday, 2/28 info meeting at 6:30 in Mrs. Adkins' room, and please communicate with me about your needs. Current 5th Graders can go into Beginning Winds or Beginning Percussion next year. Current 6th Graders graders who didn’t get to take band last year can do it, too, and they will test separately from the 5th Graders. Every kid who wants to do band should get to do band! Thank you all!

We will have the Band Information Meeting on Tuesday the 28th at 6:30 in Mrs. Adkins’ 5th Grade room. After that, on Weds, Thurs, and Friday, 5th graders will be tested/fitted during school for the instrument that suits them best. Current 6th graders will be fitted at a later time than current 5th Graders. Between myself and the three other music educators helping your child select an instrument, we have more than 70 years of experience teaching band. That's to say - if you or your child disagrees with a pairing, let's talk about it.

How does Beginning Band work? We have an info meeting, then pairings/fittings, then your child enrolls in band according to the results of their fitting. Finally, you source an instrument through rental, purchase, or being loaned one. The student brings their instrument and music binder to Band class every day. Kids perform 2-3 concerts per year as Beginners. It's a good time!!

Every student who wants to do band must be fitted. How does that work? Students will list their own preferences, they will test every mouthpiece, and then we will write down what they were most successful with. The student will play the one instrument that they most prefer AND ALSO that they are also most successful on. After mouthpiece testing is over, some students will be tested for percussion based on interest, attitude, and aptitude. From there, students are placed in Beginning Winds class or Beginning Percussion class. Questions? Let me know!

If you miss the info meeting or if your kid misses pairings/fittings, don’t worry - just communicate with me and we’ll make it happen! Any student who is interested in band should get to do band. Questions about methodology or enrollment? Let me know!

How does Band's vertical alignment work? After the student's first year in Band, they go to Combined Band. In 9th Grade, all band kids move into HS Band. 8th Graders with 2 years in band can join Advanced Band instead of Combined Band. Advanced Band and HS Band are literally the same; that means 8th Graders can be a part of the Tiger Pride Marching Band, the Pep Band, and Concert Band. Jazz Band is offered for second year players and beyond. Band is meant to be a 7-year track that prepares kids to play music beyond High School. Questions? Let me know!

What about instruments? While it is true that we prefer you to rent from Palen Music Center, it's okay if you can't afford that. I can also help families purchase a kid’s first instrument if you want to buy used or new. Respectfully, please do not buy an instrument on your own without consultation. If both of the best options aren't possible for you, we will set you up with a school-owned instrument. All of this will be explained later. Questions about sourcing instruments? Let me know!

Mr. Van Dielen
Band Director
Houston Schools