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After the introductory lesson program offered in fourth grade, students who wish to continue playing their instrument in fifth grade may elect to participate in their schools’ band or orchestra. These performance ensembles are a great opportunity to further develop a student’s understanding of playing instruments together and will prepare them for electing band or orchestra in middle and high school.
Rehearsals are held once a week in the mornings or at a time during the school day. Schedules vary by school and are aligned with the fifth grade schedule. There will be a minimum of two concerts during the year, a winter concert and an end of year concert. Additional performance opportunities may be scheduled at the teacher’s discretion.
Are these ensembles only for fifth grade students who took lessons in fourth grade?
There are many students in our schools who have learned how to play an instrument at a young age and in many cases they are granted permission to join an ensemble. If you have a child in grades K through 4 who already play a band or string instrument, you must first speak with the music teacher to find out if they accept younger students. If so, permission must be granted by the principal and classroom teacher before you register.
My child plays an instrument not offered in the Instrumental Music Program but wants to perform in a music ensemble.
Students who play piano, electric or acoustic guitar, and electric bass may be eligible to join an ensemble. Parents should contact the band or strings teacher at their school to learn more about this opportunity.
Can a fourth grade student who is already a member of their school’s band or orchestra sign up to learn a new instrument?
Yes. Though rare, some students are very musical and can handle learning to play multiple instruments.
Do students enrolled in both fourth grade lessons AND their schools’ performance ensembles have to pay two fees?
No. Students who participate in both fourth grade lessons and a school performance ensemble will only pay the $150 annual fee. Please submit a separate registration form for each program and pay the $150 fee in full.
My child received a waiver for fourth grade lessons last year. Does the waiver apply to Band/Orchestra?
Families must submit a Financial Assistance Application each year to determine if you still qualify for a fee waiver.
My child participated in the fourth grade lesson program last year but now wants to play a different instrument in the school band or orchestra. Can students change instruments in fifth grade?
It's possible but we discourage changing instruments between fourth and fifth grade, unless parents are able to provide their child with private lessons on the new instrument. The fourth grade lesson program is designed to teach basic performance skills. In most cases, students who continue in fifth grade play the same instrument they started in the fourth grade lesson program. There are no "lessons" offered in fifth grade. Band and orchestra are basic performance classes where students use the skills they learned in fourth grade to rehearse and play their instruments together as an ensemble. Students who want to change instruments must develop a basic proficiency on their new instrument in order to succeed in an ensemble. The fine arts department offers a private lesson program called the Music Lesson Extension Program (see link to the left) which is an affordable option for private lessons.
We just moved to Newton and have a child entering the fifth grade. Is it too late to join our schools' band or orchestra?
If your child comes to Newton and already plays an instrument, just register for the program. If your child does not play an instrument, you will need to provide your child with private lessons. The fine arts department offers a private lesson program called the Music Lesson Extension Program (see link to the left) which is an affordable option for private lessons. Speak to the band or orchestra teacher at your school for further consultation.
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It is the intention of the Newton Public Schools that no student is denied participation in school-sponsored activities and bus transportation due to inability to pay. Waivers are based on income and family size as well as special circumstances or temporary hardships.