MS Band: Preparing for Fall 2020
A welcome message from your Middle School Band directors:
"Let us be the first to say "hello", and welcome to middle school in Garland ISD! We are excited to meet our newest middle school students and parents. We know that this stage of life can be challenging for many and we are here
to make your transition into middle school as seamless as possible.
Joining our Band family will look a little different during this time of social distancing. We have provided information below that will inform you of everything you need to know to get started."
Want to know more about our programs? See the Band section on our music page.
Our bands are made up of a combination of Brass, Woodwind and Percussion instruments. Players choose their instruments based on personal affinity, cost and preference. Learn more about them below:
Woodwind instruments are played by blown air, causing a reed to vibrate.
The flute is a beautiful and popular instrument. Unlike the other woodwind instruments, sound is produced by blowing air across a tone hole much like blowing across the opening of a glass soda bottle. Students with certain lip shapes may find it easy or difficult to make a sound on the flute.
The oboe is a double reed instrument, played by blowing through two reeds that have been tied together. Independent learners do well on the oboe since there are only one or two oboe players per band. The oboe is GISD provided, but families must purchase reeds that will need to be replaced every 1-2 months.
The bass counterpart of the oboe, the bassoon is also a double reed instrument. Independent learners do well on the bassoon since there are only one or two bassoon players per band. The bassoon is GISD provided, but families must purchase reeds that will need to be replaced every 1-2 months.
The clarinet is a good choice for most students and liked by many students because of its pretty, mellow sound. Students must be able to cover holes with their fingers similar to the recorder. Many students know about the clarinet because of Squidward, although they will sound much better than him once they learn to play.
Although it is made of brass, the saxophone is considered a woodwind instrument because it is played with a single reed like the clarinet. Because of its use in jazz and 80s pop music, the saxophone is one of the most popular band instruments. It is also the most expensive instrument that GISD does not provide.
Brass instruments are played by blowing through the lips, causing them to vibrate.
The trumpet can play many styles of music including jazz, pop, mariachi, and classical. Made popular by the bugle calls used to announce races or military maneuvers, the trumpet is a popular choice amongst many students. Students with certain lip shapes may find it easy or difficult to make a sound on the trumpet.
Often called a French Horn, many students are attracted to the horn through movies like “The Avengers” and “Star Wars,” in which the horn is prominently featured. Because it can produce a wide range of tones, the horn requires a good ear. Good singers often make good horn players. The horn is provided by GISD.
Like the trumpet, the trombone is a very versatile instrument that is found in many styles of music. Because of its long slide, the trombone can make unique sounds often heard in movies and cartoons. This makes the trombone a popular choice for many students. When played well, it is the strongest sounding instrument.
The tuba is a good choice for active students because it is the main bass instrument of the band and gets to play almost all of the time. Tuba players are issued a second instrument to keep at home as a practice instrument. The euphonium has a similar range and feel as the trombone but has valves like the trumpet and is smaller than the tuba. Both instruments are provided by GISD.
Percussion instruments are instruments that are played by shaking or hitting.
Percussionists learn to play all of the percussion instruments, not just the drums. The ability to keep a steady beat is a must. We have 10-12 spots available for the 40-50 students that are interested.
Students wishing to be selected for our percussion class will be required to come to a separate percussion night. A secondary or first choice instrument will be selected at the instrument drive in case a student is not selected to play percussion. More information will be provided at the instrument drive.
The Garland ISD offers a comprehensive program of band instruction for grades 6-12. Most instruction is during the regular school day, enabling our student musicians to also fully participate in other activities including athletics, cheerleading, drill team, clubs, and student government. The band program includes a broad spectrum of activities and is designed to grow with and continue to challenge the student musician.
Band instruction is first offered in the sixth grade. During the first year, students study tone production, fingering, rhythm, instrument care, and basic musical terms. Performance skills on simple melodies are developed and students are given several opportunities to perform in concerts and local band contests. Students are scheduled into “like-instrument” classes rather than a full band. The small class allows for more individual attention from the teachers. Limiting the class to one or just a few similar instruments is an efficient teaching method that accelerates the learning process. Participating in an optional private lesson program can further accelerate and enhance learning. While 6th grade is the ideal time to begin band instruction, enrollment in Beginning Band is open to all interested middle school students. However, students are encouraged to join in the sixth grade in order to begin instruction with their grade level peers.
After the initial year, students are assigned to one of three performing concert bands (Honors, Symphonic, and Concert) based on their mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Further musical study in a concert band continues through high school and satisfies the state fine arts requirement for high school graduation. All of the instruments of the band will now be present in class, enabling students to focus on improving their ensemble skills while working collaboratively with their classmates. In addition to further development of individual and ensemble musical skills, these bands offer a variety of performance opportunities including concerts, pep rallies, football games, and UIL contests.
Pep Band is a pre-marching band experience for middle school bands. Students will typically perform at two or three middle school football games, pep rallies, and the very exciting GISD Festival of Bands held annually at Homer B. Johnson Stadium. The band members add to the spirit of these events by performing their music in the stands.
Depending on the level of student interest, middle school bands may offer an exploratory jazz band experience. This is also offered as an elective choice in high school. Students are taught to improvise solos and play all styles of popular music.
Our award-winning high school marching bands perform at football games, parades, and band competitions at the region, area, and state level. Participation provides many leadership opportunities and may satisfy physical education requirements for graduation.
Guard is an auxiliary unit of the marching band and performs at all marching band events. Its purpose is to enhance the performance through visual interpretation of the music. Guard units may also compete independently during the winter months.
Students are also encouraged to perform as individuals in Solo & Ensemble Competitions throughout middle and high school. Students also have the opportunity to audition for a position in the GISD Middle School All-District Band. Each November, judges select the top students to perform with the All-District band in January. Band students in grades 7-12 also have the opportunity to do a similar audition at the Region level. In high school, these top performers at the region level may earn a place in the TMEA All-State Band. A number of college scholarships are awarded to GISD’s student musicians every year.
Joining our programs
Orchestra programs are available at four of our middle school campuses. To sign up, please contact your child's school band director to begin the process.