Skip to main content
cortland home report bullying  Ensemble Videos  lunch menus  myschoolbucks  school tool  boardDocs 

Cortland Elementary Band




Modern Band

General Music

Elementary Band FAQ

When can my child start taking instrument lessons?
Beginning band lessons are offered in grades 4, 5 and 6 (3 starts in the spring after an extensive recruitment program in February). Students attend weekly pull out lessons and (when ready) a band rehearsal.  Lessons and band start in September.

What instruments are offered?
Instruments offered include: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone, tuba and percussion.

Is it too late for my child to begin lessons?
In elementary school, it is never too late for your child to start lessons.

Does my child get a grade for lessons and band?
Evaluation and assessment are vital parts of our elementary music curriculum as well as part of the National Core Arts Standards for music. Students will be informally assessed at their weekly lessons and formally at the end of each 10 weeks.

When will my child perform their instrument?
Each elementary school presents a winter concert and a spring concert. Please check your band teacher for details. Students may also have opportunities to perform in small groups or individually during all school morning program or the annual NYSSMA solo festival.

Can you tell me trusted instrumental brand names so that I can purchase a used student model instrument?
In the past few years we have had an increase in the number of families that have been successful buying their beginning instrument on e-bay and craigslist.  Here is a list of “name brands” that you can use if you wish to search for a used instrument.  
Important things to remember are:
  • You cannot bid on or purchase any name brand that comes up.  Yes, there will be many different brands that pop up.  They may look like a good deal because they are less expensive.  Buyer Beware!  They will not work for you in the long (or short!) run.
  • Please do not purchase instruments from JCPenney catalog, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Target, etc. Please do not purchase colored instruments (blue, red, purple etc.)
Whatever route you take, please keep in contact with your band teacher.  New and used instruments need to be play tested to make sure everything is in good working order.  We don’t want you to purchase an instrument only to find out later that it is not a good choice.

Flute: Gemeinhardt 2SP, Yamaha YFL 221 or 225, Armstrong 102 or 104, Jupiter JFL 507 or 511, Artley, Emerson

Clarinet: Selmer CL 300, Yamaha YCL 250 or 255, Vito 7212, Bundy, Suzuki, LeBlanc, Buffet E11, Jupiter JCL 631

Alto Saxophone: Yamaha YAS 23, Vito 7133, Selmer Bundy, Jupiter

Trumpet: Bach TR 300 or 500, Yamaha YTR 2320, 2330 or 2335, Holton 602, King 601, Conn, Olds, Jupiter JTR 600

Trombone: Bach TB 300, Yamaha YSL 354, Jupiter JSL 332, King 606, Holton
What should “practicing” look like and how much should my child be playing during the week?

Parent responsibilities:
  • What your child will benefit from most, especially in the beginning years, are multiple short practice sessions. When your child comes home from their lesson, ask questions like: “What did the teacher say you needed to work on?” or “did the teacher tell you anything that you should do to make a better sound?” or “How good does the teacher want your pieces to be for next week?”
  • The first year or two of being the parent of a beginning band student is the most challenging. Remember – your child will not start off as an independent musician. 8-11 year olds are still learning how to be responsible.  You will need to be supportive in their practice session. Stay involved, email the teacher with any questions or concerns, and encourage your child to meet the challenge!
     Student responsibilities:
  • The degree of success is directly related to the effort with which you devote to your instrument. Practicing at home is the only sure recipe for success!
  • Bring the instrument and music to school on all lesson and rehearsal days and bring it home at the end of the rehearsal days.
Practice tips
Your goal should be to practice at least 3, 4 or 5 times between lessons for 10 – 15 minutes. This may vary week to week depending on your school and sport schedule.
Learn each piece a phrase or section at a time. Practice each phrase slowly (snail speed) until you have it (no pauses or hesitations). Once played correctly, the phrase or note pattern should be repeated 5 times to become habit.
At the end of your practice session, play songs that you like for fun or improvise (create your own music).
Things to work on when practicing at school and at home:
  1. Clap and say the rhythm
  2. Move fingers, slide or mallets while saying the note names
  3. Play using a metronome
  4. Play the assigned material



Mr. Robert J. Edwards, Superintendent

1 Valley View Drive
Cortland, NY 13045

Developed by CNYRIC