Fifth Grade Band Program Information Page

  • Instructors: David Bentley, Parker Bixby, and Haley Smith


    5th Grade Band Information can also be found by clicking here


    Informational 5th Grade Instrumental Music Document (updated 6-11-2020)  Click Here

    Beginning Band Information 2020-2021

    The fifth grade band program is available to any interested fifth grader in the Mercer Island School District. This program is an exceptional opportunity for students offering specific instruction on their chosen instrument, as well as universal musical concepts and skills. The program stresses the collaborative cooperation and teamwork necessary for group success. This program is also the gateway to the world-class band programs at IMS and MIHS. Most importantly however, it’s fun! The instructional program is provided free of charge by the district. Rental/purchase of instruments is the responsibility of the family. The program is taught before school, from 8:15-9:00 am.  Transportation is provided by the MISD transportation dept from 5th grade band to the elementary schools.

    Fifth grade band students will be using Essential Elements 2000, Book 1 this year as their music curriculum. 


    With the worry about the Coronavirus, what are the plans for school next year for 5th Grade Instrumental Music? 

    As with all the other classes offered at our district schools, we don't quite know what next fall will look like.  We are working hard to develop multiple plans to address the various proposed school models.  We will communicate with each of our families as soon as decions are made.

    How do I know what instrument my child should play?

    Students who tried out instruments in May 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. Bentley, Ms. 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.  Below is 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. The list below is not an all-inclusive list.  If you have questions about brands not listed below and would like our feedback, we are happy to help.

    Flute: Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, Selmer, Emerson, Armstrong, Olds, Jupiter
    Clarinet Recommendations
    Trumpet Recommendations
    Saxes: Yamaha, Selmer, Yanigasawa, Conn, Vito, Keilwerth, Jupiter, Olds, P. Mauriat
    Horn: Yamaha, Holton, Conn,
    Trombones: Yamaha YSL 354, Getzen 351 (or 300-400 series), King 605 or 606, Bach TB200, Bundy, Conn, Holton, Jupiter, Olds, Besson, Blessing. Additional info
    Baritone: Yamaha, King, Besson,  Bach, Holton, King, Bundy, Conn, Jupiter, Olds, Blessing, Getzen
    String Instrument Recommendations

    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.

    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.  Tentatively, the 5th grade instrumental music schedule is:

    Monday Clarinet at IMS, Trumpet at MIHS
    Tuesday  Trombone/Baritone Horn and Flute at IMS, Trumpet at MIHS
    Wednesday  Clarinet at IMS
    Thursday  Full Band (half of the band - brass instruments) at IMS
    Friday  Full Band (the other half of the band - woodwind instruments) at IMS

    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!

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

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