For Incoming 6th Grade Students!

6th Grade Parents and Students 

Welcome to the West Middle School Band Program!  The WMS Band has a long tradition of excellence!  I am thrilled you are joining our program for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.  I believe band should be amazing and fun!  Please take some time to read the information on this page.  I can't wait to have your child in band this fall.  I hope they have a wonderful experience making great music.

How do I obtain a band instrument for my child???
1.  Rent from Marshall or Meyer Music (most popular option).  Both offer a rent-to-own program.  Your child will receive an instrument in great condition.  There is no contract.  All repairs will be covered!

2.  Purchase a new instrument.  Be careful, as there are many "off brand" instruments out there!  These are of poor quality.  Both Marshall and Meyer Music will not repair these instruments.  Contact me if you need help!

3.  Purchase a used instrument.  You can often find some great instruments on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.  Please check with me before you buy used, as there are many poor brands out there.  However, you can find some great deals on quality band instruments!

Watch our 1st Concert in December!

YouTube Video

Visit this link:
"Be Part of the Band!"

Not sure how to read music?  Get started over the summer by using this website:

Frequently Asked Questions for Students!

What instrument choices will I have in 6th grade band?

Students in the WMS 6th grade band will be able to play the following instruments in the fall:  Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba & Percussion (bells and snare drum)

When will I need to have my instrument at school for the first time?

We will begin playing our instruments in class beginning the week of September 6.  Make sure your instrument is at school that week!  You do not want to get behind!

Should I bring my instrument to band the 1st week of school?

No!  You will have too much going on!  We will not begin playing until September 6.  Keep your instrument at home the first week of school!

When will I have Band Class?

Each band class meets every other day (band class alternates days with Physical Education).  For example, if you have band on Monday, you will go to gym on Tuesday, then band on Wednesday, etc.  You will never have the same class two days in a row!  You will either have band during 2nd or 6th hour depending on the instrument you play!

Do we use a text book?

Yes!  We use a band method book called "Essential Elements, Volume 1."  This can be purchased in the WMS Band room or, at Marshall Music.  We will begin in this method book during the 2nd week of school (September 9).

Can I begin on Alto Sax?

No!  We do not start students on alto sax.  Students who are interested in playing the alto sax should begin on the clarinet.  

Do I have to practice?

Yes!  Practicing is our homework in band class.  You will be awesome players when you practice your instrument.  Don't will have time to practice.  You should practice between 20-30 minutes every-other-night!  The more you practice, the better you will be!

Where will I store my instrument when I am not using it?

All band students are assigned a band locker and school-issued lock.  The band lockers are located in the band room.  This is a safe location to keep your valuable instrument!  You will be assigned a band locker the week of September 6.  Some students who play flute or clarinet elect to keep their instrument in their coat locker.  This is up to you.

I take the bus home and it's packed!  How will I get my instrument home?

Don't worry!  If you play a large instrument you have some options:

1.  You can practice after school and BAND JAM!  This is our after-school practice club that meets from 2:40-3:25 on Tuesday & Thursday.

2.  You can practice during XTS every day!  This is our school-wide study hall.

3.  You can arrange a ride home with your parents on the weekend.  This a great time to take your instrument home!

Can I participate in sports while in band?

Yes!!!  You will not have conflicts with athletics in middle school.  In the case that something does come up, the coaches and I will work it out!  

Is private instruction available and is it required?

Students who take private lessons improve and grow at a rapid pace!  While we encourage private instruction, it is not required to participate in band.  We do offer a private lesson program, in which music majors from WMU teach once a week at the high school or the middle school for $13 - $17.00 per half hour lesson.  

When are our concerts this year?

We have three required concerts:  Monday, December 12, Wednesday, March 15 & Wednesday, May 31.  All concerts are required and begin at 7:00p.  The performances will take place either in the NHS or CHS Auditorium.

Frequently asked Questions for Parents!

What will my child need for band by September 6?

  • An instrument in good working condition
  • Band Book:  Essential Elements, Volume One (this can be purchased either at school, online, or at Marshall Music)
  • A wire music stand for HOME practice.  This will stay at home throughout the school year!

When will my child need the instrument?

Students will begin playing during the second week of school (September 6).  It is highly recommend that each student have his or her instrument at this time. If you are unable to obtain an instrument by this time, please contact us and we will do our best to help you.  Please do not allow your child to put it together during the summer until we teach them the correct way to do so.  This will avoid unnecessary damage to your new instrument! 

Do I have to buy or rent an instrument for my child? 

Most parents arrange a rental-purchase plan with a local music store.  This type of plan allows the student to use the instrument on a rental basis for an initial trial period.  Always rent your instrument from a music store that has a qualified repair shop.

Can my child play a used instrument?

Many fine used instruments are available from former band students and local music companies.  Please do not purchase a used instrument until you have had it evaluated by Mr. Kozian, or, at a local music store.  There are wide variations in the value and quality of all musical instruments.  We have found that an older instrument in need of repair can sometimes hinder the student’s progress. Also, you must evaluate the cost of renting versus the cost of purchasing.  Do not buy a used instrument until you are confident it is in top playing condition.  We also ask that you avoid purchasing instruments from catalog companies.  These instruments, while cheap, are of extremely poor quality.  In addition, local music stores will not fix broken instruments from these companies. 

Are instruments available from the school?

Families provide most instruments.  In order to balance the instrumentation in the band, the school does provide some of the more expensive instruments.  These instruments are normally assigned to students who have the ideal physical characteristics to play them.  The instruments that our school provides are the french horn, baritone and tuba.  There are other instruments the school provides, such as the tenor and baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, oboe and bassoon that students may switch to in seventh or eighth grade.  WMS does have a limited amount of instruments such as the trumpet, clarinet, trombone and flute.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience if you can’t afford to rent or purchase an instrument; we want your child in band, no matter what!

What are some reputable brands of band instruments?

In order for your child to succeed, they will need a band instrument that works well!  The market is flooded with poorly made instruments.  Fortunately, Marshall and Meyer Music sells only the best brands.  The internet, however, if full of ¨off brand¨ instruments.  Even though they look shiny & new, they will often break quickly.  The local music stores will not repair them.  Below you will find some of the best brands for beginning band students:

Flute:  Yamaha, Emerson, Gemeinhardt, Artly, Armstrong

Clarinet:  Yamaha, Vito, Selmer, LeBlanc, Buffet

Oboe:  Yamaha, Selmer, Renard, Fox, Buffet

Bassoon:  Yamaha, Renard, Fox

Alto Saxophone:  Yamaha, Vito, Selmer, Keilwerth

Trumpet:  Yamaha, King, Holton, Getzen, Conn, Blessing, Bach

French Horn:  Yamaha, Holton, Conn, Bach

Trombone:  Yamaha, King, Holton, Getzen, Conn, Bach

Baritone:  Yamaha, King, Bach, Holton

Tuba:  Yamaha, King, Bach, Holton

Percussion (students need a percussion kit - includes practice pad and bells):  Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig

What happens if my child signs up for band, however, when we receive the class schedule, band is not on it?

Call the middle school office immediately.  Make sure the school has your child enrolled in band class!

When are our concerts this year?

We have three required concerts:  Monday, December 12, Wednesday, March 15 & Wednesday, May 31.  All concerts are required and begin at 7:00p.  The performances will take place either in the NHS or CHS Auditorium.

Is private instruction available and is it required?

While we encourage private instruction, it is not required to participate in band.  Professional musicians from the Kalamazoo area will teach your child, one on one.  The lessons will take place virtually. You will have the opportunity to sign up your child for virtual lessons when school starts!

How important is practicing at home?

In order to have the best chance to succeed in learning to play an instrument, students will need to practice at home.  It is important to have a quiet place to practice and to establish a regular practice schedule.  The amount of time necessary for practice will vary from student to student.  I also highly suggest that you purchase a wire music stand for home practice and for virtual band class.  It is very important for parents to encourage practice and to praise the results.

Can my child participate in sports while in band?

Yes!!!  The administration, directors and coaches make every effort to avoid conflicts throughout their middle school careers!

Is there a music company available in which to rent or buy instruments?

Yes!  Most families rent an instrument from Marshall Music in Portage or Meyer Music in Kalamazoo!

How much will it cost to rent a new instrument?

Most instruments cost between $25-50 a month.  All music companies have a rent-to-own program.  You will receive a name brand instrument in excellent condition