demo recordings
Instrument Switches

Please remember that I need to discuss instrument switches with parents BEFORE YOU GET AN INSTRUMENT! They can be expensive and if you go to the wrong instrument, it will be very frustrating. Please email me the Instrument Switch Form over the break or bring it back on the first day of band in January 2018 and I’ll help ensure everyone is as successful and happy with it as possible.

Demo recordings

We’ve had instruments in students’ hand for about three weeks, so I wanted to update you on our progress.

Method Book:
As we are now working from Sound Innovations, Book 1 if your child does not yet have a copy as indicated on the initial instrument letter, please head to Long & McQuade or Tom Lee Music in Langley as soon as possible to pick up a copy.

Home Practice: 
It is important to note that students need to be reinforcing the work from class on a regular basis at home. Students may be feeling slightly overwhelmed at this point as they start… THIS IS NORMAL. It is important that students are practicing regularly so they can create the muscle-memory required to learn their instrument. If students are practicing and still struggling with material, please contact me so I can offer some additional suggestions. I want students to be working on goals rather than time. “I want to play #4 and learn my first two notes today” is a far better goal than “I have to practice for 20 minutes”.

Please have the students use the DVD and CD that comes along with their book and try out The first 100 lines of the book are included for free. I am not requiring students to use this resource, but it will feel familiar as it works like “Guitar Hero” for their own instrument and many students find the immediate feedback helpful. Information is inside the front cover of their copy of Sound Innovations

How is my child doing?
As we are just starting out, many students will be struggling with issues specific to their instrument. At this point, they are all expected to assemble, hold and disassemble their instrument properly, regardless of their ability to play. Beginners should be comfortable with their first three notes (exercises 2, 3 and 5 on page 5). Experienced players should definitely be comfortable with the material on pages 8 & 9 (or beyond!) as they get back up to speed. I have been testing on this material over the last few days and we are moving on to our next two notes (exercises 19 and 21) next week.

DW Poppy Elementary Honour Band:

Wednesdays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm starting October 11, 2017. Again this year, I will be running Honour Band after school at DW Poppy once a week. This is a great opportunity for enthusiastic students to work with other musicians of their age group. I have attached further information, but the best thing is to ask students who have participated in past years. Lots of fun for everyone involved! Any experienced player is invited. Beginners are encouraged to join as soon as they can read and play exercise 26.

At this point, I hope you are hearing your child play at home at least a few times a week. I know that kids have homework, sports, other lessons and want to have time with family and friends, but please help them set aside a few minutes at least 4 or 5 times a week to play on their instrument so they can be successful in band this year.

Many thanks for supporting your child’s interest in music. Please feel free to contact me via email at if you have any questions or concerns.

Update from Week of September 25

I will be checking in on both beginners and experienced players’ progress next week. At this point, all bands have covered up to line 8 in Sound Innovations, which I will be checking next week.

Experienced players will be asked to prepare a “show-off” line as we did last year. They will pick a line of their choice from the book to show off where they are. They can play as a solo or in small groups.

Students who are struggling with note reading are encouraged to look at the lesson “The Staff, Clefs and Ledger Lines” from as a review of what we’ve covered in class over the last three weeks around note reading.


URGENT – All kids should have instruments and books by now:

If your child still is without an instrument or a copy of Sound Innovations Book 1 for their Instrument, please contact me immediately at as I want to be sure your child doesn’t get left behind as we get started. If it is a financial issue, we have limited numbers of instruments left but I need something in writing to issue one to your child. If you haven’t got a book yet, Tom Lee, Long & McQuade and Tapestry all carry Sound Innovations, Book 1 – just be sure to get the one for your child’s instrument.

Note Reading Review:

Week of September 18 – Things to play at home before September 25th
  • Brass Sirens on Mouthpieces for Brass Players
  • Happy Birthday on Mouthpieces for Brass Players
  • Look ahead to Lines 2, 3, and 5 from the book for everyone
  • Try Line 5 (the note you learned in class this week)
  • Review the instrument setup videos below to review your setup

Joining Band

Here you can find information related to band at our five principle feeder schools:

Click here to download the September Elementary Band Letter for Fort Langley, North Otter and Peterson Road.


Here are a few videos to help review basic instrument setup (from me and another teacher) to very quickly reviewed what we covered in your first on-instrument class. Ask me any questions during setup and teardown in class and we’ll be set!

Instrument Selection:

As we begin our year, we will start meeting with students the week of September 11, but students will not need instruments until the week of September 18. Many of you received your child’s intake letter for band last spring, but if you have not, please email Mr. Follett at (Fort, North Otter & Peterson) or Mr. Ablitt at (Wix & Coglan) for your child’s instrument assignment. If your child has not yet received their letter or they are new to their school, we will be discussing instrument selection during the first two classes. Please feel free to discuss your child’s interests with your child’s instructor so we can help select the instrument that will help them find the most success.

Online Rentals:

Tapestry Music offers online rentals which will be delivered in time to start rehearsals. Please find more information at Tapestry Music Online Rentals or by visiting and clicking on “School Rentals”. As long as you place your order by Friday, September 15, your instrument will be delivered to your school by your first with-instrument rehearsal.

In-Person Rentals:

You can rent or purchase instruments and other required materials through Tapestry Music (604-538-0908), Long & McQuade Music (604-530-8704) or Tom Lee Music (604-532-8303).

Three warnings about instrument rental or purchase:
  1. Do not buy an instrument from a non-music store! These are often poorly constructed, break very easily and cannot be repaired!
  2. Please do not purchase the colourful plastic instruments as they are only toys. The few that have shown up at school break easily and quickly frustrate kids. (**Student clarinets are black and look like plastic, but are fine**)
  3. If you have access to a used instrument. please take it to one of the music stores below for a tune up. Any instrument in disrepair will frustrate even the most enthusiastic beginner.
Required Materials:

Here is the list of materials students will need for their first “on-instrument rehearsals” on September 18, 19 or 20 depending upon their school. All of the below items (other than the wire music stand) need to be brought to all rehearsals:

All Students:
  • Folding Wire Music Stand ($15-20) for home practice
  • Sound Innovations Book 1 (blue and white cover, the version for your instrument)
  • A Pencil
  • Cleaning Swab
  • Polishing Cloth
  • Cleaning Rod
Clarinet & Saxophone:
  • 1 box of 10 – Rico Royal #2 strength reeds (Grade 7’s who played last year should be purchasing #2.5 strength reeds now)
  • Cork Grease
  • Cleaning Swab
  • Saxophones also need a Neck Strap
Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, French Horn & Tuba
  • Mouthpiece Brush
  • Cleaning Snake
  • Valve Oil
  • Slide Cream
  • Trombones also need Slide Oil
** upon consultation with your band teacher, Basses need to rent an Electric Bass kit
  • This should include: Bass, Strings, Patch Cord, Practice Amp, Gig Bag and Strap
  • All of the above needs to be brought to rehearsals
** UPON CONSULTATION WITH YOUR BAND TEACHER, Percussionists need to rent a Percussion Kit
  • This should include a Bell Kit (like a silver xylophone), Practice Pad or Snare Drum, Instrument Stand, Drum Sticks, Mallets, Gig Bag

Thank you for supporting your child’s music education and introduction to band. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Mr. Follett at (Fort, North Otter & Peterson) or Mr. Ablitt at (Wix & Coglan) and we will be pleased to do whatever we can to help your child be successful.