Music educators feel, and have observed, that student involvement in school music programs has a positive impact on other areas of their lives. These educators will tell you that musical involvement improves a student’s self-discipline, dexterity, coordination, self-esteem, thinking skills, listening skills, creative abilities and personal expression.
We, as music educators, must take the lead in sharing this information with the people who can make the difference in the future; school boards, administrators, parents, and legislative representatives. We must advocate for the arts and it is vital that we become proactive in our support of the arts. By reviewing the studies involving music we have found that participation in school music has a positive impact on areas considered outside the realm of music.
Awareness is key. As more people become aware of the research in this area, we should see increased enrollments in arts classes. The use of the arts throughout the curriculum, as a tool for better learning, is an area that will expand. Educators need to combine resources and to use the tools available for a more effective method of education. The arts play a major roll in the future success of the education system. Let’s help it grow.
The purpose of this website is to provide a resource for parents and students participating in the Medford music program. Here you will find lots of information about the band, string and choral program and hopefully the answers to questions that you may have. The site is a work in progress, so please be patient.
High School Band (Grades 9-12)
Check out our webpage- http://medfordband.wordpress.com/
This course is designed for students who play a band instrument. Some school-owned instruments are available for student use. All students must attend one weekly nighttime rehearsal and must participate in ALL Medford High School football games, parades, (Patriots’ Day, Memorial Day), graduation, concerts, and band activities that occur after school hours. Standard – 4 Credits – 4 Periods per Cycle – Full Year
Jazz Band (Grades 9-12)
Students in this course will be taught to interpret a variety of jazz styles, including swing, Dixieland, and blues. Instruction will focus on accurate style, phrasing, interpretation and execution. The ensemble will perform during the school year at school and community events. Standard – 2 Credits – 2 Periods per Cycle – Full Year. Prerequisite: Current membership in the MHS Band or approval of the instructor.
Objectives of the High School Band
- To give each student an education in music that will challenge and enrich their lives.
- To develop the personal character traits of leadership and self-discipline.
- To develop cooperation and teamwork.
- To develop confidence and poise.
- To develop the skill and technical ability that leads to proficiency on an instrument.
- To acquaint the student with a wide and varied repertoire of band literature.
- To provide the foundational study which may lead to a career in music.
- To serve and represent the school in public concerts, parades, and other functions.
The Concert Band
Concert Band involves the study of literature and the rehearsal and performance techniques of the band ensemble on moderate levels of achievement. It is a performance organization for the student who might wish to elect membership in such a group. This performance organization will include extra rehearsals and performances required of all members during certain times of the school year in addition to the rehearsals and performances which take place during the school day. This class is involved primarily with the continued development and reinforcement of previously acquired musical skills. The concert band presents various concerts throughout the year. Students are provided an opportunity to experience various styles of music, including marches, classics, and contemporary music. Concert Band also participates in MHS graduation activities.
The Marching Band
Marching Band plays at all MHS home football games and the traditional Thanksgiving Day rivalry of Medford vs. Malden. All required rehearsals begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evenings throughout the school year. Marching band members will also participate in civic parades and often other communities through invitation. Marching Band is a physical, as well as musical experience! Therefore, it is necessary to wear tennis shoes (sneakers) during rehearsal. Dress shoes sandals, flip-flops, high-healed shoes, etc. should be avoided during marching band rehearsals. Be sure to have warmer clothing for the October and November outside rehearsals and games. Always have a pencil at rehearsals.
Drum Major(s) for the Medford High School Marching Band are selected, through tryouts and interviews, by the Band Director. The individuals are selected because of their experience and talent levels. They portray everything the teachers and directors would like to see on and off the field from band students representing Medford High School. The Drum Major is the highest ranking student leader, and should obtain that respect from the ensemble. The Drum Major is responsible to the Band Director and assists during rehearsals and performances. These student leaders also assume responsibility for assuring proper rehearsal etiquette that will inevitably lead to quality performances! The Drum Major will lead from the field.
The Medford High School Marching Band is a highly visual statement of our music program, high school and community. How we look speaks greatly about who we are and why we exist. The Medford High School Marching Band uniform was specifically designed to show off Medford High in every possible performance situation. The uniform is a symbol of pride and unity for the band and is a tangible link of students in the past to students in the present.
The Medford High School Band Uniforms are in good condition and we should all be proud to have and wear them. The following procedures and guidelines were created to help maintain the uniform’s quality and give it long life. When you look good, you will feel good and you will perform well!
- Always hang up uniforms neatly after a performance.
- Repair your uniforms and have any stains removed from them as soon as possible.
- Always hang the uniform in a dry place to allow moisture to escape properly.
- NEVER wear coats, jeans, or other outer garments under your uniforms.
- Uniforms should ONLY be professionally dry-clean to remove moisture, perspiration, and dirt.
- You will need white shoes and socks to go with your uniform. They are part of the uniform.
Middle School Band
Middle School Band meets two periods per week at both the Andrews and McGlynn Middle Schools. Students in both schools perform concerts together and independently throughout the school year.
This class is set for students who are in 6th, 7th or 8th grade. They will develop musicianship and instrumental skills. The class will focus on rehearsal skills, performance skills, and will have a heavy emphasis on technique. Performance music is chosen from our library. The following instrumental methods are chosen for each student by diagnostic evaluation: Yamaha Band Method books, Volumes 1,2 and 3 and Standard of Excellence.
Elementary School/Beginner Band
- Read basic standard notation.
- Play major scales up to 2 sharps and 2 flats.
- Play notes throughout the reasonable range of the instrument.
- Play and understand simple and complex time signatures.
- Gauge dynamics to different situations and styles.
- Understand articulation differences and sound qualities.
- Play more complex arrangements under a conductor.
- Most percussion students will be able to play single and multiple stroke rolls, flams, pariddidles, and all of the above that is applicable.
These students can go as far as their talents and commitment takes them. Students in this situation can be involved in our supplementary after school private lesson program. Please contact us for information.
Tips for Beginning Students:
- Beginning instrumental students need lots of encouragement. Playing an instrument is a skill.
- Practice each and every day.
- Find a comfortable place in which to practice (your bed is not a good place)
- Musical instruments are not toys. They are very fragile – precision instruments.
- Do not allow others to handle them or play them. Play the instrument each day and maintain it in good working order. A damaged instrument may not play at all. Set up a consistent time each day (free from distractions) that will allow you to practice and not disturb the family. (15-20 minutes a day, to start).
- Play for parents and relatives once you learn some songs.
- Parents should sit with their students at least once a week while they practice.
- Have them show you what they are doing. Help them count.
- Write down the school lesson time and be sure to take the instrument to school.
- Be consistent with good practice habits (nobody wants to break a GOOD habit.)
- Every instrument has periods in the learning process that will be difficult. Learn the definition of the word “persevere”. Call the instrumental teacher if you need help. Woodwind instruments will need a good supply of reeds (except flute). Try to keep at least 2 reeds in your case for band rehearsals. Brasses will need oil / slide lubricant. Reed guards and cleaning clothes are good gift ideas.
- Parents should consider taking a few lessons on the instrument. It gives you better insight into what your student is going through, and it may be fun for your child as well as you.
- Their teachers want them to succeed. Please contact their teacher if you have concerns.
Embouchure – an overview:
These general principles apply to almost all embouchure set-ups of beginning wind players.
- Do not puff the cheeks or allow air to pillow underneath the lips.
- Do not bunch the chin up underneath the mouthpiece.
- Maintain a firm set to the corners of the mouth with a slight downward turn.
- Allow the air to flow strongly and freely, without obstruction.
- Too much tension is just as bad as the opposite condition.
- In the brass embouchure exact mid-placement of mouthpiece is a rarity.
Some common problems to watch for in beginning instruction:
- embouchure problems described above
- woodwinds keeping fingers in position and close to the keys
- trumpet players flattened hand position inhibits rapid key movement
- wind players not using enough air and breath support
- distorted or improper angle of mouthpiece
- more advanced players using improper mouthpieces, reeds and set-ups
- not enough emphasis on beat development and maintenance
- trombonists playing with improper slide grip and arm motion
- trombonists with improper slide positions (each is different, if in doubt check with tuner)
- damage to the instrument caused by improper maintenance and assembly
- improper practice habits (see below)
Developing good practice habits:
Set up a routine – when things become a habit they are easier to maintain.
A good routine will include:
- warm up routines and exercises
- technical studies and patterns
- melodic phrasing and musical development
- sight reading
- warm down and instrument maintenance if needed
- make sure you have clear goals to accomplish during practice
- keep records of the time you practice and your progress
- take private lessons on your instrument
- make sure you have a distraction free time and place to practice
- when starting out try to practice at a consistent time each day
- practicing each day is better than more time on fewer days
- find someone to play duets with
Care of your instrument
Flute: Swab flute out after playing. Use the cleaning rod with a piece of soft fabric through it. Never put your flute in water and DO NOT use liquid silver polish as it is messy and can lead to problems with your flute.
Clarinet: Swab clarinet out after playing. Use cork grease on the corks when needed. Pieces should go together easily. Clarinet players will go through a lot of reeds, especially at the beginning of the first year. When you buy reeds, always buy at least two. You may need to check in with your child frequently to see if they need more reeds. Buy size two to begin with, later in the year go to size two and a half.
Saxophone: Always keep your instrument in it’s case when you’re not using it. Always use your case when transporting your instrument from one location to another. Make sure you store the instrument with your case the right way up so that there’s no excess weight on the key work.
After playing your instrument use a pull through to wipe excess moisture from the inside of the instrument and carefully wipe the excess moisture from the outside of your instrument with a dry soft cloth.
Disassemble your mouthpiece and reed set up after playing and wipe them dry with a small cloth. From time to time, you’ll need to wash and clean your mouthpiece thoroughly and wipe it dry. Just use lukewarm water. If your instrument is not working properly, get your teacher to have a look at it first. If it’s something simple, the chances are that he/she will be able to fix it. Do not try to do it yourself, you could damage the instrument. Your teacher will advise you if you need to take it to a qualified repairer.
It’s a good idea to have your instrument serviced once every 12-24 months depending upon the wear it gets. The repairers will give it a good checking out, clean it up and replace springs or pads as might be necessary.
Trumpet: Gently place the mouthpiece into the receiver and twist lightly to seat it properly. DO NOT force the mouthpiece by hitting it with the palm of your hand as this can cause the mouthpiece to become stuck or “frozen”. An easy twist motion is all that is necessary to insure a firm fit. Oil the valves once a week, or when needed. Grease the tuning slides regularly. They should move in and out easily. Never use metal polish to clean your trumpet as it may damage the lacquer and expose the raw brass to air which will cause it to tarnish. Trumpets with a lacquer finish can be cleaned using a slightly damp soft cloth, and then finished with a polishing cloth. Silver plated trumpets are best polished with a polishing cloth specially treated with a silver cleaning agent. If your mouthpiece becomes stuck, DO NOT try to remove it yourself as there is a special tool used to remove stuck mouthpieces. Trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece with pliers will not free the mouthpiece and will result in costly repairs to the trumpet.
Trombone: Use oil on the slide. Keep it lubricated regularly. Slide cream can also be used on the slide, but it has to be used with water. Put the cream on first, then spray water on the slide with a water bottle. Grease the tuning slides regularly. Percussion: No cleaning necessary.
If your instrument is not working properly bring it to your teacher first. He/she can often make minor repairs. If they cannot fix it they will let your child know what needs to be done and you should take it to a repair shop as soon as possible. DON’T WAIT!!!! Your child needs the instrument back in order to keep up with the band.
K & C Music Co., Inc., 273 Lenox St., Norwood, MA 02062, 781-769-6520
Rationale Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Development at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Her research focuses on the relationship of music cognition to other domains of intelligence. She holds undergraduate degrees in cello performance and psychology, and completed her doctoral training in Experimental Psychology at Columbia University. Fran received the W.T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award for a five-year project exploring the effects of music on the spatial intelligence of Head Start preschoolers, and has recently secured additional funding to study the effects of instrumental instruction on cognitive, social, and academic performance in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She has provided oral and written testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate regarding the effects of music on early cognitive and brain development. She has publications in music cognition, child development, cognitive psychology, and social psychology, and has lectured on music and intelligence in North America, Europe and Australia. The work of Dr. Rauscher concentrates on the importance of music in the early developmental stages of childhood and has been widely recognized as groundbreaking, attracting intensive media interest.
Studies indicate that children who receive music training perform 34% higher on tests measuring spatial – temporal ability than others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, science and engineering. Music-making nurtures the intellect and produces long-term improvements. Dr. Rauscher’s research is based on some remarkable studies that have recently begun pouring out of neuroscience laboratories throughout the country. These studies show that early experiences determine which brain cells (neurons) will connect other brain cells, and which ones will die away. Because neural connections are responsible for all types of intelligence, a child’s brain develops to its full potential only when exposure to the necessary enriching experiences in early childhood. The studies indicate that music training generates the neural connections used for abstract reasoning, including those necessary for understanding math concepts.