Q. When do lessons begin?

    A. For beginners, lessons typically begin around the third week of September.  Not all students will have received their instruments by the first lesson.  The first lesson is mainly about classroom procedures and responsibilities.  Also, be aware that some students might not have their instruments on the first day that we start playing.  This is not a problem because we go slowly in the beginning so that nobody is left behind.

    Q. We already own an instrument.  How do we sign up for lessons?
    A. A sign-up letter was sent home with a QR code.  Scan the code and fill out the form.  If you are having problems, you can email me directly.

    Q. We acquired an instrument. Do I need to order a book?

    Depending on the music company you rent from, they may or may not include the book in the rental.  If the book is not included, you will need to purchase one.  The name of the book is called "Making Music Matter" by Frank Ticheli and Gregory B. Rudgers"- Book 1 and can be found at most music stores or on Amazon.

    Q. Do we need to provide a music stand?

    A. For lessons, the school provides all of the stands.  However, for home practice, while not required, having a music stand will help students develop good playing habits.

    Q. Where do I get new reeds and what kind should I get?

    A.  Reeds can be purchased from any local music store as well as Amazon. The recommended size is 2 1/2.  Rico is the preferred brand.

    Q. We are considering purchasing an instrument.  Do you have any suggestions?

    A. There are many things to consider when purchasing an instrument.  I strongly suggest that you contact me before any purchase so that I can help you decide whether you are getting a quality instrument.  I can also provide some questions that you might want to ask the retailer.

    Q. Will there be any rehearsals outside of the school day that my child will be required to attend?

    A. Beginning sometime in March, rehearsals before school will begin.  The rehearsals are necessary for us to prepare for our spring concert, which is typically in late May or early June.  These rehearsals usually begin an hour before school starts.

    Q. How large are the classes?

    A. Depending on enrollment, class size can range between 1 to 9 students.

    Q. My child started playing an instrument and no longer enjoys it; can they switch to another instrument?

    A. Yes, but the sooner, the better.  Getting a student on the right instrument early on is critical to their success.  If your child is getting frustrated with their instrument, please contact me so that we can look into the best instrument for your child.  If you are renting, most music stores will make the switch for free.

    Q. What does the lesson schedule look like?
    A. The students in 5th and 6th grade are pulled from class one half hour a day, once a week for their lessons.  The classes rotate throughout the day so that students are not missing the same subject each week.  A copy of the schedule will be posted in their classrooms and outside the lesson room.  They can also see me on the day of their lesson.

    Q. What happens if my child forgets their instrument the day of their lessons?

    A. Just ask them to come to class anyway so they don’t miss out on what’s going on.  They should also bring paper and pencil to take notes.

    Q. My child played strings last year.  Can they play a band instrument and a string instrument this year?

    A. The short answer is yes and some students do this.  There are a few things to consider.  First, students are pulled from class twice a week.  Second, they are expected to practice each instrument equally.  Third, there must be approval from their classroom teacher, myself and the principal.
    Q. What is the best way to reach me?
    A. Email is the best way. My email is: abranchf@cbsd.org
    Q. Any advice for beginners?

    A. I like to tell beginners two things:

    1) There is no such thing as a bad sound…….there is your sound, and I am going to help you develop your best sound.

    2) If everyone in class sounded like professionals……they’d be teaching me!  Practice and be patient.