Elkhart Beginner Band (6th Grade)
The Elkhart Beginner Band starts in 6th grade. The primary focus of this group is to introduce the students to their respective instruments and teach them the fundamentals of that instrument. While this is not a primary performance group at Elkhart, we will perform at the Elkhart Winter and Spring concerts as well as participate in a Concert Contest Festival.
There are three (3) classes of beginner band at Elkhart. The woodwind class consists of clarinet and saxophone, while the brass class consists of trumpet, trombone and baritone. Flute and percussion are the third class of beginners. Percussion is very limited and students are chosen through a survey of their grades, audition, interview and the results of the Selmer Music Aptitude Survey that each student will take in their 5th grade music class. This class meets separately from the others beginner classes.
Other instruments such as bass clarinet, F horn, and tuba are taught at a later time. Students interested in the bass clarinet are encouraged to enter the woodwind class on clarinet while students interested in the F horn, tuba are encouraged to enter the brass class and start on Trumpet. We will generally do the swap in early February.
Elkhart Middle School Band (7th and 8th Grade)
The Elkhart Middle School Band consists of 7th and 8th grade student who have completed the Elkhart Beginner band class. The primary focus of this ensemble is to prepare the students for HS Band through performance. Our main goal is to prepare the students musically for placement in the Elkhart High School BIG RED Band! These students are split by grade level into two different bands...the 7th Grade Band and the 8th Grade Band.
The 7th Grade band is made up of all 7th grade band students and this class is primarily concerned with continued individual instrumental development, but will also have opportunities that were not available for 6th grade beginner band students. This class will perform at a limited number of pep rallies, and perform their own concert for the Winter and Spring Concerts. The 7th Grade Band will also participate in a Concert Contest Festival.
The 8th Grade Band is made up of all 8th grade band students, and a small selection of 7th grade band students to fill out and balance instrumentation between the two bands...and maybe resolve a scheduling conflict or two as well. As a result of their higher musical ability, the 8th Grade Band has more performance opportunities than either the beginner band or the 7th Grade Band which includes all Middle School pep rallies, the High School Homecoming Pep Rally, as well as the Elkhart Annual Winter and Spring Concerts and a Concert/Sight Reading Contest.
In addition to the full band events, 7th and 8th Grade Band students have individual performance opportunities such as the ATSSB Middle School All-Region Band. Students prepare a selection of scales and small etudes and audition for a panel of judges for a set of scores. The highest score gets awarded first chair and the second highest get second and so on until all the students are ranked according to their audition. The top percentage of players in each section get selected to the All-Region Band. This is a very high honor for a musician to achieve. We put a pretty high value on this audition process. All MS Band members are highly encouraged to audition.