Join the Instrumental Program at CES

Colonial School District Department of Music

Dear Parents/Guardians of Third Graders:

For our third grade students, moving to a new school can be an exciting experience. There are many new activities to consider. One of those experiences is the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Usually at this time of year, students from the CES music program have an opportunity to give a performance to the third grade so that they can become familiar with the many instruments that we offer. Although we are sad that we could not deliver this performance to students in person, it is still important for them to start thinking about their instrument selection. To that end, we have put together a website for students and parents to explore. You can listen to examples of each instrument and take a short aptitude quiz. We hope that this will give your child a better idea of what they may wish to play.

As logistics still need to be worked out for a return to school next fall, you do not need to worry about procuring an instrument at this time. Right now, simply knowing your child's interest would be helpful with planning. After visiting the website, please complete the google registration form and we will be in touch at the start of school with the next steps.

Click here to visit the instrument selection website. 

Click here to register your child  for instrumental music.

During a typical year the requirements for success on an instrument would include:

  • Weekly attendance at small group lessons during the school day. Lessons occur from September until June.
  • Weekly attendance at 8 a.m. rehearsals once per week (Percussion on Monday; Band on Wednesday; Strings on Thursday) from December-April.
  • Regular, consistent, daily and weekly practice of assignments. (4x per week for approximately 20 minutes each day)
  • Being prepared with both instrument and music books for every lesson/rehearsal.

We know that learning to play an instrument is a very important step for a child's development of a lifelong appreciation for music. Additionally, during the pandemic, music has provided many with an outlet of relief, focus and joy. We hope that your child will join us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Eric Wilson
CES Band Director

Elise Derewitz
CES Orchestra Director

Frequently Asked Questions: The Instrumental Music Program

Q. What instruments are available to play?

A. Many instruments are available to choose. They include the string family (violin, viola, cello, bass), brass family (trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone), woodwind family (flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone), and percussion family (snare drum, xylophone, etc). Sorry, we do not offer piano or guitar. When choosing an instrument, the best choice is often the one that the student enjoys the sound of. Listening to a few recordings may help to determine which instrument sounds your child likes best.

Q. How do I rent an instrument?

A. We strongly recommend renting an instrument from a reputable source that can offer a lease period to you. The school recommends Music and Arts for instrument rentals.

Q. Can I provide my own instrument?

A. Yes! We recommend having your instrument assessed by a professional to make sure that it is in good working order. Keep in mind that many times, repairs may cost more than a rental. We do not recommend purchasing an instrument until it is certain the child will continue with their musical studies. Inferior quality instruments should be avoided. Please ask your music teacher about acceptable brands.

Q. Do I have to be in the Band, Orchestra or Percussion Ensemble to take lessons or play an instrument?

A. Yes, the morning rehearsal times are used to learn group skills. Lessons are used to work on individual skills. Both morning rehearsals and lessons are critical to musical development. You must be able to provide transportation to morning rehearsals in order to participate in the music program.

Q. Is there an easy instrument to play?

A. There is no hard or easy instrument to play. Each instrument has its difficulties. What makes an instrument "easy" is how much you practice!

Q. Do I learn how to play drum set?

A. The music program teaches percussion. When you start on percussion, you will receive a bell kit. It includes a xylophone and drum pad. Students will spend the majority of time learning to play xylophone, so they should be prepared to play this instrument. As the year progresses, snare drum and other small percussion instruments will be added to the curriculum. The music teachers will not instruct students on drum set.

Q. Can I play more than one instrument?

A. It is recommended that each student play only one instrument that we offer at the school. This will limit the amount of time students are pulled out of other classes and allow new musicians the time to focus on learning the basics of playing. Lessons outside of school time (such as piano) are recommended to continue.

Q. Can I switch instruments or learn an instrument later in the year?

A. Once an instrument is selected, you should attempt that instrument for the entire year. The schedule does not allow students to start in the middle of a school year so if you are interested, join now! Music is a wonderful opportunity that will allow students to grow in many ways, artistically and academically.