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| Strategic Planning Process | Helpful Tips From Students | This Month | Practicing | Instrument Maintenance | Beginning Students | Contact Mrs. Wilson |


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5-Year Strategic Planning Process
The EES music department is proud to be a part of Region 4's 5-Year Strategic Planning Process. We believe all children are musicians and therefore strive in instrumental, general and vocal music to give students opportunities to:

Make meaningful and purposeful connections through communication and collaboration
Analyze and construct arguments based on evidence
Make critical and creative problem-solving strategies
Obtain digital literacy and information


In the instrumental music classroom students not only perform on their instruments, but also critique themselves and formulate their own plans to improve. Utilizing available audio and visual technology (such as on the iPad), students can assess their own performances and use this evidence to improve themselves, monitoring and adjusting the process as necessary. The abilities to self-assess and create an improvement plan that can be adjusted based on evidence are higher order thinking skills that will serve our students well as they mature as both musicians and consumers of music.

Studying a band instrument is not just an individual endeavor. Each student's part must fit together like a big puzzle or the result is a cacophony of sound. We often refer to ourselves as a TEAM, each with individual responsibilities that include working together. Just as with any team, it is imperative that students demonstrate respect, interact positively with others, and react appropriately to varying situations. Every day we talk about what happens if we or someone else in the group makes a mistake, an instrument falls apart on stage, etc. That is what live music is all about - what you do with the mistakes is what matters . . do you give in to them or make the best of it and move on to success.

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Helpful Tips From Students!Always believe in yourself because you'll always succeed if you try your hardest! MJ
Students should practice everyday and don't be afraid to make a mistake. ER
Stick to your instrument and never give up! In the end you will be PROUD! CH



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This Month
Welcome to Music!
Here at Essex Elementary we believe that ALL children are musicians whether in general music classes, band, chorus, jazz band or small ensemble performance groups. There are numerous opportunities for children to explore, create and perform music throughout their seven years in elementary school. All students receive general music instruction weekly where they explore the many aspects of music making. Students learn how to read, notate, compose and perform music of different styles. Additionally, students examine the lives and music of various composers and musical styles.

Instrumental / BandStudents are invited to study an instrument in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. The instrumental music teachers this year are Mrs. Wilson and Mr. Halpin. Lessons are given once a week beginning the first full week of school. Students studying instruments also participate in Band, which meets on C-day afternoons. Band rehearsals for beginning students will commence a little later in the year to prepare for the Winter Concert. Jazz Band meets on Tuesday mornings at 7:45am and is open to all 5th and 6th grade instrumental students who have played their instrument for at least one year. Students who play piano and bass guitar are also invited to participate. Jazz Band will begin Tuesday, September 23rd.

If your child would like to study an instrument and has not signed up, it is not too late. Just let Mrs. Perreault, Ms. Gister or Mrs. Wilson know and we will take care of the rest!

Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Wilson with any questions you may have at: lwilson@reg4.k12.ct.us

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Practicing
Students should be practicing 100 minutes a week which breaks down to 20 minutes for 5 days of the week, with two days off. That's less time than it takes to watch a cartoon on TV! Students have practice journals to keep track of their practicing times. It is better to practice in smaller blocks of time rather than trying to do all 100 minutes at once. Students don’t get tired so quickly and breaks allow the embouchure muscles in the face to get a rest. Beginning students have Practice Journals that can be filled out with their practice times in the inside front cover of their method book. 5th and 6th graders are using Practice Journals on colored paper. Parents are asked to sign the Journal each week so that we can work together to find appropriate times to practice.


Practice Tips
1. Practice Space
Find a quiet, comfortable place to practice. Use a sturdy chair with no arms and a music stand if possible. A stand will promote good posture and make playing your instrument much easier.

2. Warm Up!
a. Buzz on your mouthpiece (brass)
b. Play long notes - this builds your embouchure and improves your tone
c. Play your scales
d. Use your AIR!!

3. Posture
Be sure you are sitting forward in your chair, feet flat on the floor.

4. Take a Break!
Don't overdo it. Take a ten-minute break if you are tired. Your embouchure muscles will get stronger if you them a little break and then come back to practice more.

5. Practice the DIFFICULT parts too!
Don't just start at the beginning of the piece every time. Identify the sections you need to work on and practice just that measure or group of notes. Then practice the whole section. You will get better much faster!

6. FINGERINGS first
Say the note names with the correct rhythm while moving your fingers before you actually play. Sometimes it is the fingerings or note recognition that are the challenge.

7. PLAY ALONG . . .
with the recording / CD in the book. Visit the "Useful Recordings" page on this website to listen and play along with the music. Try recording yourself to see if you are getting better. It is fun!! Go to the "Tools" page of this website to find a recorder to record yourself! It won't save your recording, but you can play it back as much as you like until you rerecord or leave the page.

8. PRACTICE JOURNAL
Record you practice times in your Practice Journal and ask your parent to sign it. The Journal is designed to help students remember what the assignment is each week. Your family can be very helpful in helping you find the time to practice. They make great practice audience members too!
Weekly practice goal: 100 minutes a week

That's 20 minutes a day for 5 days: less time than it takes to watch a cartoon!!

Here are some extra Practice Journals if you need them:

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Instrument Maintenance
Students should be following this basic outline to keep their instruments in working order and avoid a costly trip to the repair shop.

Clarinets, Oboes, Saxophones
  1. Grease cork once a week (especially if it is a new instrument) using cork grease. Once the cork is seasoned, it can be done a little less frequently.
  2. Have at least two working reeds. Reeds that are chipped, have rough edges or are broken are very difficult to play, or won’t play at all.

Trumpets, Baritones, Tubas
  1. Valves should be oiled once a week with valve oil.
  2. Slides should be greased once a month using tuning slide grease.

Supplies can be purchased at any of our neighborhood music stores or you can obtain an order form from Mrs. Wilson.
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Beginning Instrumental Students
Beginning instrumental students will need the following for their lessons and instrument maintenance:
  1. Method Book: Standard of Excellence, Book 1 with CD for their individual instrument.
  2. Clarinets / Oboes / Saxophones: cork grease, 2 reeds
  3. Trumpets/ Baritones / French Horns: tuning slide grease, valve oil
  4. Trombones: tuning slide grease / slide oil
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Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Wilson with any questions you may have at: lwilson@reg4.k12.ct.us
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