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5th Grade Band FAQS

Instrument FAQ's

How do I know what instrument my child should play?

Students who tried out instruments in May of their 4th grade year were sent home with a form indicating their preferences, as well as the instructor’s recommendation. It is strongly recommended that students stick with the instructor recommendation whenever possible. If you are unsure of the choices and recommendations, contact Mr. BentleyMs Smith, or Mr. Bixby via e-mail for confirmation.


It was recommended that I play one instrument, but I really want to play a different one. What should I do?

It is really important that students get to play an instrument that they like, and are excited about. It’s important to the staff to make this happen, whenever possible. However, there are limitations to making this happen in every case. We take great care in trying to match each student with an instrument that will lead to their success. It can be tough sailing if you are playing an instrument that just isn’t made for you. It’s for this reason that we encourage students to strongly consider the recommendations of the staff in making their instrument choice. The bottom line is this… Band is fun! All of the instruments are great and have their own challenges and exciting features. The most important thing is to be involved. It’s pretty rare that we can’t find an instrument to suit each student!


Are all instrument brands the same?

A critical component to your child's success as a musician is the quality of his/her instrument.  Unfortunately, all brands are not created equal.  We have a list of instrument brands we have found to be of consistently high quality.  We encourage you not to compromise your child's opportunity for success with a lesser quality instrument.  We have experienced many instances of a student trying to play an instrument of poor quality or in a state of ill-repair that will not play, and the student thinks that there is something wrong with them!  The investment in a quality instrument kept in a good state of repair will ensure that this does not happen!  Some music vendors may encourage you to select an instrument that is not on the recommended list. Please be aware that in many cases we have found these instruments to be of inadequate quality for students to be successful.


Please take a look at our information on recommended instruments.

Where do I rent or purchase an instrument? 

As an MISD music staff we cannot recommend music vendors.  But our Mercer Island Schools Band Boosters (MISBB) have provided our families with local and online resources from which to choose your instrument options.   

Band Class FAQs

I'm fired up. When do we start?

The first experience for students will be the two evening lessons in September (to be announced when the district calendar is set).  Both evening band classes will take place in the High School Music Department, the evening Orchestra classes will be at IMS. Regular morning classes begin the third week of September.  The specific schedule will be published as it becomes available. The dates and time should also be available on our Charms Calendar.

I know that each student has band two days per week, but how do I know which days?

Each student has one class with a specialist on their instrument, and one full band class. Days of the lessons will be provided in September.

When will my child have band or orchestra class?

Staffing for the 5th grade band and orchestra program is tentative until the fall, based on student enrollment.  Unlike other classes, we do not know for sure when classes will be offered until enrollment is known after the evening lessons. 


5th grade band classes are held at IMS or MIHS in the mornings. Instrument specific classes are held earlier in the week and half of the full band later in the week at IMS. You will receive an email at the beginning of the year with the exact schedule.


When do the 5th grade band and orchestra classes meet?

All regular band and orchestra classes meet from 8:15-9:00am.  The only exceptions to this are concerts and the first two evening lessons in the fall.

How does my son or daughter get to the middle school or high school for their 5th grade band or orchestra classes?

Parents have two options for getting their student to class.  MISD runs regular middle school, and limited HS bus runs.  5th grade band and orchestra students ride these buses to IMS and MIHS for their band and orchestra classes.  Parents may also drop their children off at the schools.  At IMS, the drop-off point is the back parking lot off of 84th ave SE.  At MIHS, the drop-off point is the bus lane off of 92nd ave SE.


After band or orchestra class, how does my child get to their elementary school for their regular school day?

MISD runs special busses to transport students from music classes to their elementary school.  After music classes, we walk the students to the bus pick up areas at each school, and they are whisked off to their school day!

What can we expect throughout the year?

Our page "What to expect" can give you an overview of what to expect throughout your 5th grade band student's year. 


How to I find out what is happening in my band student's class?

Our directors communicate via Charms for many of their class specific instructions.  Please make sure your email and contact information is up to date within Charms. You should receive "Band Notes", our all band email, at least once a month.  If you did not receive it, please contact  Check out our "5th Grade News" page about that will be happening soon. 

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