Message for all Beginner Band parents and students

Dear Beginner Band parents and students,

I enjoyed meeting the students this week for the student orientation with a health and safety discussion. There was a lot of information which included health and safety protocols and some insight into what the course will include. Here are some important points I would like you to make note of:

First, I want you to feel comfortable with your child playing a wind instrument in our class setting. There is plenty of evidence to show that Band students can safely play their wind instruments when they are separated by 1 to 2 metres. We will always be 2 metres apart throughout the class. Students will be shown how to clean their instruments and be responsible for keeping themselves safe, as well as others. Please watch this video regarding performing wind instruments in an ensemble setting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsLHFwtpABU

Second, the Ministry of Education, along with the BC Music Educators Association and BC Coalition for Music Education has come up with the following guidelines for music classes during the time of COVID-19. Here is the except regarding Band instruments:

If you are interested, the entire document can be found at this link: https://byngband.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/guidance-for-music-classes-in-bc-updated-17-aug-20.pdf

Third, please follow our Byng Band website for the most recent updates and resources. It can be found at www.byngband.com You will also be able to see some of the incredible history of this international award winning band department, as well as some information about myself.

Lastly, since this course will only be 9 ½ weeks long, we need to “hit the ground running” to maximize the students experience in learning a new instrument in a short amount of time. On Monday, students will be shown this video designed to help them choose an instrument to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCTeSjpDsIs This helpful video made by the US Army Field Band demonstrates all the various band instruments. Due to the short 9 ½ week duration of this course, the instrument choices have been reduced to maximize student’s interaction time with the me. As well, during COVID-19, flutes without masks have been shown to have the greatest risk of spreading infection. I need to observe how the students play without masks blocking the view of the students’ embouchures (mouth area muscles). Therefore, instrument choice will be limited to the following five options: clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, trombone, and euphonium. All students will be percussionists for part of each class and will be supplied with a pair of drumsticks.

After students have chosen from one of the five instrument options, I encourage you to obtain the instrument as fast as possible to help them get started immediately. Tapestry music, our local music store, has an online order and delivery system: Go to: https://www.tapestrymusic.com/t-rentalprogram.aspx

Also, here’s a short video explaining what to do once your child’s decision has been approved by me on Monday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ec7f_Bam0w

I appreciate this is a lot of information and I thank you for taking the time to read it through. Please let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to meeting you sometime soon.

Best wishes,

Dr. Scott MacLennan (Dr. Mac)