Elementary Band

Band Director: Elizabeth Currey and Chris Stroh

What band instrument can I play?
Although there are many different instruments within the Kamiakin bands you see performing for elementary assemblies and throughout our community, some are not suitable for beginners. Several of them are intended to be switched TO after one or two years on a similar instrument. Beginning Band members may choose from the following band instruments (brass, and especially LOW brass are suggested for those who are undecided. All band directors LOVE to have more low brass players):

  • flute (woodwind)
  • clarinet (woodwind)
  • trumpet (high brass)
  • trombone (low brass)

Why only four instruments? There are SO many other instruments in band!
Very true! As the band progresses together, we’ll add oboe, tuba, bassoon, french horn, baritone, bass clarinet, piccolo, alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, and percussion. By starting on only four instruments, we’ll all have the same knowledge base to form a complete band with perfect instrumentation in a very short time!

How do I become a drummer?
We require that each beginning band student intending to play drums start on one of the standard wind instruments (trumpet, trombone, flute, or clarinet). We’ve found that the beginning drum books do not involve percussionists adequately and many kids become disenchanted with the simplicity of their drum part. After our first or second concert, a handful of students may switch to drums and will understand musical basics more thoroughly because of their wind instrument experience. Here are the stipulations to becoming an accomplished percussionist:
1) Start on a wind instrument (trumpet, trombone, flute, or clarinet)
2) Based on audition (see #5 below), those accepted as percussionists will need some equipment. Mr. Stroh will have the details.
3) Private lessons on either piano or drums are helpful for all serious percussionists.
4) Students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who have difficulty focusing on tasks typically have a difficult time in a percussion section. Percussionists stand up during rehearsal and are responsible for several instruments. This overstimulation combined with the fact that the percussion section is the farthest from the teacher has proven to be confusing and frustrating. Choosing a single wind instrument to play while sitting in a chair has proven to be much more fulfilling for these kids.
5) If there are more than five students wishing to become drummers, we will hold auditions and choose the top five candidates based on rhythmic precision and rehearsal habits. More than five drummers can cause “balance” problems within the band and within the music itself

Can I start on saxophone?
Beginning Band members wishing to play the saxophone need to begin on the clarinet for their first nine months then switch to sax after our final concert of the year. We end up with truly better sax players because of this policy and you will appreciate the gentler tone and reduced rent of the clarinet. The dates of the 4th grade sax clinics are listed at the bottom of the band calendar on the band’s Haiku site.

What about piano and guitar?
This is a great question which we get every year. Although there is no sheet music for piano players or guitar players in a traditional school band, you are very valuable people to our whole band! Your passion and understanding of music will benefit you greatly as you learn one of the wind instruments listed above. Also, once you’re in middle school, Kamiakin offers a terrific Jazz Ensemble which DOES use an accomplished piano and guitar player so keep practicing while you learn a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument!

Where do we get an instrument?
Your child's instrument may be rented, borrowed, or owned. There are several local music stores who can help you with obtaining an instrument or giving you the information you need. If you already have an instrument and question its playability, have Ms. Currey look at it for a recommendation. Avoid stores that don’t specialize in instruments. We’ve had trouble with off-brand instruments so only use a reputable music store for your instrument needs. Please put a nametag (including which elementary school) on all instrument cases, backpacks, music books and lunch containers so that items left in the band room after rehearsal can be returned quickly.

Can I keep my instrument at Kamiakin?
Unless a junior high sibling shares an instrument (which usually doesn’t work very well anyway), there is no reason to store an elementary instrument at Kamiakin. The elementary classroom teachers allow space for instrument storage and the bus drivers are happy to have band members carry their instruments onto the bus.

When does the Beginning Band meet?
Those in Beginning Band meet twice per week from 8:15-9:00am (See the schedule below for which two days). After band, the Frost and Keller kids will then ride a bus back to their schools and Muir students simply cross the street (a crossing guard will be on duty every day). This schedule allows minimal conflict with their elementary day and avoids all conflicts with other activities your child is involved in after school. It’s a great schedule for everyone involved! Look below for a weekly rehearsal schedule.


Beginning flutes = Tuesday & Thursday
Beginning clarinets = Tuesday & Thursday
Beginning trumpets = Wednesday & Thursday
Beginning trombones = Wednesday & Thursday

All 2nd year INTERMEDIATE BAND 5th graders = Monday & Friday

How do I get to Kamiakin for rehearsals?
It's easier than you think! Keller and distant Frost students have the choice of riding the regularly scheduled middle school bus (bus stops are VERY near your home). Nearby Frost and Muir students usually have an adult drive them, or organize a band carpool from your neighborhood. We also have students who attend Quest at Franklin, Thoreau, or Sandburg in our band; those kids simply organize carpools back to their campus – it works out quite easily. All band members should be at Kamiakin by 8:10 for our 8:15 start time.

What if I need to miss a rehearsal?
Attendance will be taken at every rehearsal and absences will be reported to the student's elementary school after rehearsal. Since we only meet two times per week, it is important for your child to be on time to every rehearsal. In the case of attendance problems, Mr. Brannman will call home to check if there is a situation or confusion we can help with.

Can a friend of mine join if they’re home schooled?
Sure! We have home-schooled kids in band every year since it’s a course that would be impossible to offer at home. This is a terrific way for home-schooled kids to join other kids twice every week. Carpools become even easier if you team up with other home-schoolers. If you live in our attendance area and want to be in band, we’d love to have you join us!

My child is in Quest at Franklin/Thoreau/Sandburg but will end up at Kamiakin. What should we do?
Kamiakin-bound Quest students go to several elementary campuses for Quest. These kids and families have two options:

  • Join and attend band at whatever middle school is closest to your Quest campus and then simply register for Kamiakin’s 6th grade band
  • Join and attend elementary band at Kamiakin. This would require those kids to leave rehearsal a little early plus family carpools twice per week from Kamiakin to Quest but the advantage is that all the kids will know each other, Ms. Currey, and Kamiakin’s campus. Their transition to middle school is MUCH easier!

How much homeroom will I miss at my elementary school?
Band students will miss from 5-15 minutes of their elementary homeroom on their two designated band days. This is understood and supported by the homeroom teachers and administrators at the elementary schools. During statewide testing, we release the band kids a few minutes early to get them back to their campus for attendance, instructions, and testing.

What about Patrol and Student Council?
Students who serve as crosswalk Patrol officers, simply schedule their shifts after school to avoid conflicts with band in the morning. If you’re elected to your school’s Student Council, congratulations! We’ll try to work with your school’s Council leader to avoid conflicts with morning band rehearsals.

Are there concerts? Band uniforms?
The elementary bands will have three Thursday-evening concerts during the year. Concerts will be from 7:30-8:15 in Kamiakin's gymnasium. There is no charge and entire families are welcome to attend. There is no Beginning Band uniform but students are encouraged to dress nicely for all performances. Intermediate Band dresses in clean, black & white for all performances.

Will band interfere with other activities?
Band is a fantastic opportunity for you and your family. We know how busy students and families are and we are always proud to have accomplished athletes, home-schoolers, “Hot Dog USA” members, actors, “Quest” students, hobbyists, dancers (if you've ever taken dance classes or are currently enrolled in dance, your sense of rhythm and style make you the PERFECT candidate for band!) and other interesting people sign up for band. We try to schedule our rehearsals and concerts as sensitively as possible so students can still pursue their homework and outside interests. Band is yet another way to become a well-rounded person.

What book should I get?
At Kamiakin, we use a band book called Tradition of Excellence for beginners. It's available at local music stores and comes with internet links that feature lots of useful videos, accompaniments and information. We may be writing and using stickers in them so it's important that they have their own book as soon as possible. To save you a trip to the store, you can purchase the book at our Band Open House! If any store runs out, don't panic; you can share for a short while. We use the same book all year and there are no other books to purchase.

It’s the first day of band and I don't have my instrument or book yet. Should I still START band?
YES! We can wait for your instrument or book to show up but there's information you need from the very first rehearsal. Please show up even if you're empty-handed. If you DO miss the first or second rehearsal, please come as soon as you can so we can get you started!

Can I join with a friend?
You bet! In fact, research shows that you’ll be more successful in music if you learn along with friends. Sharing what you know with others from your class or from your school allows you to learn faster and have a good time, too! Additionally, carpooling or riding the bus is much easier if your neighborhood classmates join you from the very beginning. Another advantage that band kids have is that they meet many kids from the other two schools and are much more comfortable moving up to Kamiakin as a 6th grader. Band students begin middle school knowing more students, several teachers, the layout of the school, and other interesting things about Kamiakin. Being in band is a great way to prepare for the smoothest transition to middle school!

So, how do I register my child for band?
Simple! Just fill out the attached Registration Sheet and give it to Ms. Currey or Mr. Stroh our first day together. If you need another Registration Sheet, simply email Ms. Currey and she'll enclose it in her email response.

Join the FUN!

Join the FAMILY!