Please do not buy an instrument until you speak to me!
The first reason is that we must make sure that the instrument is appropriate for your child. While most children are able to play whatever instrument they choose to play, there are some physical characteristics that can make playing certain instruments much more difficult or even impossible. Part of my job is to make sure that your child is playing the instrument that is best suited to their abilities! I encourage you to contact me for an "instrument fitting" before you make a decision on an instrument. This involves me teaching your child a little about each instrument, and having them attempt to play a note on each instrument.
The second reason is that we must make sure that you are purchasing a good quality instrument. There are many instruments on the market today that are inexpensive, but they are of very poor quality. I have seen these instruments, even with the best of care, broken beyond repair within 6 months of purchase. What is worse, no repairman will work on these instruments. They are truly junk. Many of these instruments are originally sold in retail stores that are not specifically music stores. A good rule to remember is this: if you can buy toilet paper, groceries, furniture, or power tools at that store, don't buy a musical instrument from that store.
I also do not recommend purchasing instruments from music stores that are more "rock band" music stores. Many times, the person selling the instrument from these stores knows little or nothing about the instrument that they are selling, and they do not realize that they are selling an inferior instrument.
We recommend that you purchase (or lease-to-own) musical instruments from Gadsden Music company out of Gadsden, AL. Their website is www.gadsdenmusic.com and their phone number is 800-264-7228. Even if you do not live in Alabama, you can use this company. They offer a wonderful repair program and have exceptional customer service. You can apply for their rental repair program on their website, or you can call the store to get started. PLEASE BE SURE TO TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE WITH THE HOMESCHOOL BAND! You have to list your "school" as our band program on the forms so that they know how to set up your repair program. Once a week, the repairman meets with me so that he can make any repairs that are necessary to instruments belonging to students in the JUHSB program. Minor repairs to instruments that are from Gadsden Music are made for free at that time. Repairs to instruments that are from other companies must be paid for at the time of service. Please note that they will not work on all brands of instruments (such as those from retail stores and "rock band" music stores), only reputable brands. If you fail to tell them that you will be with the homeschool band, then you will not be on the "school" list of instruments belonging to students in the homeschool band that were purchased through Gadsden Music, and you will have to be responsible for taking your instrument to Gadsden for repair.
If you have already acquired an instrument for your child, please be sure that it is in good working order. My suggestion would be to take it to Gadsden Music for an inspection (or allow me to take it to meet with the repairman for an inspection and quote for repairs or work needed to maintain the instrument). Gadsden Music is reputable and will not recommend repairs or maintenance that are not needed.
"Ultra-cleans" are recommended for instruments that are not new. This cleaning removes all germs from the inside of the instrument, as well as anything that could cause the instrument to corrode. It protects the instrument for the future. An ultra-clean is an important investment in your child's instrument!
Also, please know that we do not require students to purchase large instruments such as tubas and large percussion instruments. If you would like to, you are more than welcome to purchase them, but we plan on purchasing these instruments as needed. We currently have all large percussion instruments (including 2 timpani) that we need for our size band and we have 1 fiberglass sousaphone, which is a lightweight alternative to tuba. Please let me know if you your child would like to play these larger instruments.
B-flat (or soprano) Clarinet
Saxophones (smallest to largest: Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone)
Trombone ("Tenor" trombone)
Euphonium (most commonly called a "baritone")
Percussion is also available. In order to play percussion (aka "be a drummer"), students must begin by learning both the snare drum and bells (a small version of a xylophone). Many students do not like this at first, but it is necessary. The basic reason for this is that I teach all of my students as if they are going to pursue a college degree in music, because to do otherwise would inadequately prepare them if they do decide to pursue a degree in music. In order for percussionists to be accepted into a college music program, they are required to play both drums and percussion keyboards.
Please contact the teacher for more information on what to purchase.