Joy Unspeakable Homeschool Band
Our band handbook can be requested using the "Contact" link at the bottom of this page.

How do I register my child(ren) for classes?
Please refer to the Home or Schedule pages for the current registration form. Then email it to the address on the Contact page.

When are the classes?
Please refer to the Schedule page.

Where are the classes?
Please refer to the Schedule page.

How much are the classes?
Please refer to the Information page.

My child wants to play (instrument name)... or I don't know what my child wants to play...
Please contact Amber to talk about this. Your child needs to be evaluated before you purchase an instrument.
 
Does my child have to attend every class?
In short, yes. If your student is absent from class, they will fall behind the other students in their class and not be able to continue. Band classes are not "a la carte" type classes. In music, concepts build upon previous concepts. Students cannot "jump in" in the middle. Also, learning to play a musical instrument requires regular participation and practice to develop skills. Illnesses happen, and obviously cannot be seen in advance. However, barring illness, students are expected at every class. Please do not schedule family vacations, field trips, other classes, or anything else during class times. More than 3 absences in a semester may result in dismissal from the program.

Does my student have to practice outside of class?
Yes. Practice is your homework for band class because practice is a required component of learning to play a musical instrument. Practice must be consistent (in general, a minimum of 5 days per week) and correct (not practicing mistakes by corrected errors immediately) in order to practice effectively. You may have heard that "practice makes perfect." Wrong! Practice makes permanent. If you practice errors, you will perform errors. Only perfect practice can make perfect.

How will you know if my student is practicing?
Students are required to practice with the CD in their book and MP3 files (download link provided when the students reach that point). Students will record each assignment to submit for a grade. This can be done via the recording feature available on all computers, and submitted by email. Details will be provided and concise instructions will be given during the first class. Students are required to cover certain materials each week between classes, and each recording submission should be considered to be a test. Each assignment will be graded. Students who make below an 85% in their band class will be required to repeat that band class. Students who make below a 70% in their band class will be dismissed from the band program. For a demonstration of why this is important, please view this video.

My child has never played an instrument before. Is there a class for them?
Yes. There are beginner classes for each age level.

Does my child have to take private lessons in addition to being in band?
No. In fact, almost all students are enrolled only in our band program, without private lessons elsewhere.

Why is there not always a set schedule for every class before registration?
Because the time for every class depends on who is registered for the class.  We do our very best to make sure you are at classes only as long as you have to be by scheduling siblings' classes back-to-back.  We also do our very best to work around other things that you may have scheduled on the same day as your band classes.

Why do classes cost as much as they do?
Because, quite simply, music programs cost a good deal to operate.  Public school band programs generally have budgets upwards of $10,000 per school year that are funded by their band booster club, fundraisers, sponsors, school boards, and (very minimally) the state.  We do not have that luxury.  But we are still responsible for purchasing music (approximately $100 per piece of music, usually 5-6 per semester), percussion equipment (ranging from $50 to several thousand), large instruments like tubas (several thousand dollars), and other high-priced items.  It is also necessary to pay for the teacher's gasoline costs in getting to the class location (which is getting more and more expensive every day).  Lastly, the teacher is compensated for her time teaching the students.  For the first 3 years that this program was in operation, the teacher was not compensated for her time, and was usually not reimbursed for gasoline costs.  You can imagine how difficult this was on her family, therefore provisions had to be made to solve this problem.
-On that note, you should know that private music lessons from a qualified, college educated teacher with a Bachelor's degree generally cost $20-30 per half hour of instruction (anything more than a Bachelor's degree dramatically increases the cost).  We pay tuition by the semester, not by lessons.  We have a minimum of 15 classes per semester, 2 of which are combined rehearsals that are longer than normal classes.  If you break your semester tuition down like lessons, your cost is less than $7 per half hour.  This is a considerable savings over the cost of private lessons!

Do I have to stay in class with my child?  Can I stay in class with my child if I want to?
For the most part, you may do as you wish on this subject.  If your child has behavior problems that become disruptive to the class, I do ask that you stay in class with them.  Please know that if you have a student in the 3-6 year old Rhythm Band, you will have to help them practice during the week.  If you do not know how to do their assignment, please stay in class with them to learn.  There have been times that students do better in class when their parents are NOT in the room.  I cannot explain this, but it has happened.  The bottom line is that you should do what is best for your child.

If I stay in class with my child, can my other children (that are not enrolled in the class) stay in class too?
As long as they are not disruptive, there should be no problem with this.  Please know that the teacher's responsibility is to teach the children in her class, so if others are hindering the students from learning they will be asked to leave.  Please do not take this personally.  Some children just cannot handle the interruptions of other children.  The teacher will do her best to make sure that every student and every parent get the most for the tuition paid.

How does the teacher stay in touch with parents?  How much say does the parent have in what happens in the band program?
We are currently making changes in the way we all stay in touch with each other. We used to use a member's-only yahoo group. However, there is a new tool available to band directors for free that I am learning to use. For the time being, we will use email to communicate. Once I feel comfortable with this new tool, we may use it. We rarely rely on the students to remember to tell their parents anything or give them a handout (thus saving the cost of printing handouts).  This also ensures that the teacher reaches everyone and does not forget to make announcements in any of her classes (as there are many classes).  The parents do have a lot of say in what happens.  Many times in the past, when decisions had to be made it was posed as a question on the yahoo group for parents to give their input.  This will continue either via email or the new tool I am learning to use.  This band program is for your children, therefore you are encouraged and expected to take an active role!