Fifth Grade Instrumental Music Program

  • 5th Grade Instrumental Music Program flyer (full of everything 5th grade music) - Information available by clicking here.
    5th Grade Band Program - Information available here
    5th Grade Orchestra Program - Information available here


    MERCER ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT                                         

    Music Department                                                                                                        

    Beginning Elementary Instrumental Program                                                                                                                                                      

    2019/2020 year


    Dear 5thgrade Parents:

    This spring many of you enrolled your student in the Beginning Instrument program offered through the Mercer Island School District. The following is important information for you to review regarding the program if your child is planning on participating.


    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.

                Recommended instruments

    Violin/Viola/Cello/Bass - Roth, Pfretschner, Hammond Ashley, some Yamaha (be careful)

    Flute:                Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, Selmer, Emerson, Armstrong, Olds, Jupiter

    Clarinet:            Buffet, Yamaha, Selmer, Vito, Jupiter, Bundy, Olds, Leblanc

                            Clarinet mouthpieces:  Yamaha 4C or VanDoren mouthpieces

    Trumpet:           Yamaha, Bach, Holton, King, Bundy, Conn, Besson, Jupiter, Olds, Blessing, Getzen

    Saxes:              Yamaha, Selmer, Yanigasawa, Conn, Vito, Keilwerth, Jupiter, Olds, P. Mauriat

    Horn:                Yamaha, Holton, Conn,

    Trombone:         Getzen 351 (or 300-400 series), King 605 or 606, Bach TB200, Yamaha YSL 354 (made in Japan only, not made in China) Bundy, Conn, Holton, Jupiter, Olds, Besson, Blessing

    Baritone:            Yamaha, King, Besson, Bach, Holton, King, Bundy, Conn, Jupiter, Olds, Blessing, Getzen

    No such list could be all-inclusive, and MISD music staff members welcome students and parents to contact them about brands or makers not listed.

    We are fortunate to have several excellent vendors in our area, all of whom provide quality instruments and repair services.  Any of these vendors can provide students with instruments from our district’s recommended list.  It is important that students and their parents select instrument from the recommended list.  Beginning student level instruments vary widely in terms of quality.  We want all of our students to have every opportunity for their best success playing their instrument.  An instrument of poor quality can be frustrating and difficult to play.  Students have trouble playing well, and don’t realize that it’s not their fault, it’s because of the instrument!  The list of instrument brands and models included on the booster email have proven to be dependable and suitable for student success.


    MUSIC INSTRUMENT RENTAL LINKS and INFORMATION-  As an MISD music staff we cannot recommend music vendors.  But we can ask our Mercer Island Schools Band Boosters (MISBB) and our Orchestra Boosters (Team O) to provide our families with some resources from which to choose their instrument options.  Our MISBB will send out, via email, information to help with the purchase of instruments and equipment.


    Rental Purchase Plans: Most area music stores have rental/purchase plans which allow rental payments to apply toward purchase of the instrument.  It is recommended that a used instrument be checked by an instrumental teacher. These prices are based on a per month charge.


    Please read your rental agreement thoroughly


    Craigslist, Ebay, The Attic, Want-Ads, Private PartyIf you purchase an instrument through the want-ads or through a friend or relative, please have it safety checked by a member of our staff as to condition and size.  REMEMBER:  An instrument that is not in good playing condition or is the wrong size may be impossible to play.    


    The School DistrictVery few instruments are available through the Mercer Island School District - mostly string basses and baritone horns.  If an instrument is available, it can be used for a rental fee of $100.00/year.


                 (You may choose to purchase these through local music stores or online through the contact list that we will provide via email)

                Books:5th grade band students will use:

                                        Essential Elements 2000 Book 1 (also sometime just labeled Essential Elements, Book 1

                                        (Lautzenheizer, Higgins, et al)      


                INSTRUMENT ACCESSORIES:   Students will need the following accessories with their instruments:

    Violin/Viola         Rosin and shoulder pad

    Cello/Bass         Rosin and rock stop


    Clarinets:           One box of #2 1/2 Bb clarinet reeds, a plastic reed keeper, cleaning swab, cork grease, mouthpiece brush, and consider getting a Neo-Tech neck strap -especially if your child is small.  (The neck strap is optional). Please ask your vendor to supply a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece.

    Brass:               Valve oil for cornets and trumpets, mouthpiece brush, slide cream and a small spray bottle for trombones.  No slide oil please!  Trombones and Baritones please ask for either a 6 ½ AL or 5GS mouthpiece

                            Flutes:              Small 5x7” mirror, and cleaning swab



    In choosing percussion, families agree to have student take private lessons from Sept. to Jan. and take band from January on.  Percussion enrollment is on a space available basis. If your first choice instrument is percussion, please be aware that registering does not guarantee a spot in the percussion section, but does add your student's name to the list for the random selection of students. Please have a second, back-up instrument in mind should your child not be selected in the Percussion Lottery (1 student from each school is selected, then 3 from a pool of all schools). Mr Bixby will phone the families of students whose names are drawn.  All other students should plan to play their second choice instrument. Percussion has a rental cost of $100 a year as we use and have to maintain the percussion instrument inventory at each school.



    The first 5thgrade instrumental music lessons for all instruments are going to be held in the evening at Mercer Island High School (Band) and at Islander Middle School (Orchestra).  This evening lesson will allow us to group like instruments and give your youngster a fast, sure start.  It will give you an opportunity to observe the early steps so you will be able to help your child at home.  We STRONGLY urge parents to attend this evening lesson with their children.

                The evening lesson schedule will be:

    LESSON #1 – Wednesday, September 111h                                   


                                        6:30 to 7:30 p.m.            Trombones (Rm 503), Baritones (Rm 503), Trumpets  (Rm 505)

                                        7:45 to 8:45 p.m.            Flutes (Rm 503), Clarinets Rm (505)



                                        4:30 to 5:15 p.m.            Bass (Rm 502)

                                        5:30 to 6:15 p.m.            Cellos (Rm 502)

                                        6:30 to 7:15 p.m.            Violins & Violas (Rm 502)



    Band/Orchestra classes meet from 8:10 to 8:55 a.m. beginning on Monday, September 16th(depending on the days of the week for your child)

    Students will receive two group lessons per week.  You will be advised as to these specific days and place during the evening classes



    Lastly, since 5thgrade music practice is NOT at your student’s home school, your student must have MD orders to carry his/her emergency medication to all music practices.  This includes inhalers, EPI pens, glucagon and diabetic snacks.  The music teacher and/or school nurse at practice site will administer in an emergency.


    1. Booster Website and other resources:

    Our orchestra program has a wonderful booster organization that provides support – Team O at

    Our band program also has a wonderful booster organization that provides support – Mercer Island Schools Band Boosters at

    Our band also has a dedicated website that lists things such as private instructors, hints, tips, etc at




     The Mercer Island School District Band Staff:                       

                                                    David Bentley - Band                    275-5940 

                                                    Parker Bixby - Band                     230-6324 

                                                    Haley Smith - Band                      275-5938 

                                                    Vicki White-Miltun – Orchestra       230-6322