Welcome to elementary band!
  • Concert Dates:
    • Winter Concerts:
      • Fort Langley – December 12 (Matinee and evening show – times TBA)
      • North Otter – December 12 (Matinee and evening show – times TBA)
      • Peterson Road – Date and times TBA
    • Joint Concert Dates:
      • All schools – March 4 @ DW Poppy – 6:30pm arrival, 7:00pm start
      • All schools – June 16 @ DW Poppy – 6:30pm arrival, 7:00pm start

19/10/11 – WEEK 5 UPDATE

Before the long weekend, I wanted to let you know what’s going on in class, what you should be hearing at home, and how you can help your child continue to succeed in band. Honour Band starts on Tuesday for auditioned students so I have a bit of information to share in a second email.

What’s Going On?

The kids have their first in-class playing check on Tuesday/Wednesday next week. Beginners and students on new instrumentsare playing line #18 in the book (Merrily We Roll Along (Mary Had a Little Lamb)). Beginners will be playing in small groups (no, to alleviate any concerns, they are NOT playing by themselves). This song covers:

the first 3 notes we have learned in class (they vary by instrument but can be found on lines 2, 3 and 5 in the book),

the first 3 rhythmic values (whole, half and quarter notes)

In playing it, kids also demonstrate how to sit properly when playing, how to hold the instrument, and how to start notes properly with their tongue (or the proper hand techniques for mallets and bass).

Experienced players have been allowed to pick from 44, 54, 58, 64, 69 and 79 which will demonstrate the above knowledge and skills but at a second-year level. Beginners may challenge these lines if they choose.

What You Should Be Hearing?

In order for your child to be successful, you should hear them playing their instrument at least 5-10 minutes every day. We have covered lines 2-14 for the last three weeks and have added lines 16 & 18 (plus more for some schools) in the last week. Experienced players have been patiently modeling good playing for the beginners and are being asked to play a number of later lines (64, 69, 84, 107 etc.) that we covered last year as well.

How Can You Help Your Child?

Ask them to play for you. If they are struggling, ask if they have they stuck around at the end of rehearsal and asked for help. There are a number of students still struggling with their first three notes, but they will get them with a bit of time. If they are struggling with their note reading, use these two online games to help:

You can also access the recordings for your child’s book online. Many kids find it easier to play when they know what it should sound like so this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED when they are practicing at home. Visit https://sionline.alfred.com/and the product code you will be asked for is the 5 digit number above the bar code on the back of your child’s book. Enter that when prompted and you can access recordings and videos that will make your child’s success much easier!

If your child is not bringing their instrument and book to rehearsal consistently or is not playing at home, they will find it challenging to progress so please encourage them to do both consistently. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.

19/10/03 – Week 4 update

We spent last week getting sounds on the instruments and learning our first 3 notes by rote. During Monday/Tuesday classes next week (Oct 7 or 8) the kids have a note naming quiz based on the 9 notes on their staff (lines and spaces). We made flash cards to practice with this week, the notes are on Page 4 of their book, but you can also find a game online to practice here:

Beginners should also be playing up to line 15 by now. Experienced players have been very patient and will be moving forward with something else next week.

You can also access the recordings for your child’s book online. Many kids find it easier to play when they know what it should sound like so this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED when they are practicing at home.

Sound Innovations Book 1 Online: https://sionline.alfred.com/

The product code is the 5 digit number above the bar code on the back of your child’s book. Enter that when prompted and you can access recordings and videos that will make your child’s success much easier!

19/09/19 – Week 2 Update

It was a busy and loud week in the elementary bands of North Otter, Fort Langley and Peterson Road. There are a few instruments left to arrive, but beginners have all setup their instruments a few times without any damage (to my knowledge) and have made their first sounds. Experienced players have been excellent mentors and very patient helping beginners get settled.

A few reminders for next week:

Please ensure your child brings their materials every band day (M/W @ NOE and T/Th @ PRE and FLE)

Encourage your child to play at home for a few minutes every day. Beginners will sound “interesting” right now, but the more often they play, the faster they will improve. The goal is to play “strong”. The kids will think loud, but that’s the plan for right now! If you think of their sound as a sculpture, we need a giant block of marble to start with and we will get to a beautiful piece of artwork from there.

We will start working in the book next week, but I’ve already taught them their first note from line #2 (even if they don’t remember).

Experienced players are expected to prepare a “show-off” from the book for next class. Anything is great as I just want them playing something that shows something they learned last year.

The best thing you can do as a music parent is to encourage them to play. As I said, right now they may sound “interesting” but I promise that with a bit of patience, resilience and effort, the rewards are worth it!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the music

Mr. Follett

19/09/16 – Week 2: First week with Instruments

This week is our first on instruments. We are going over correct setup and first sounds. Please ensure your child is playing at home on a regular basis – 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week is a good starting place for beginners.


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!

19/09/09-12 – Week 1: Instrument Selection

As we begin our year, we will start meeting with students the week of September 10, but students will not need instruments until the week of September 16. If your child did not received/misplaced their letter from June 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 me so we can 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 www.tapestrymusic.com and clicking on “School Rentals”. As long as you place your order by Friday, September 13, your instrument will be delivered to your school by your first with-instrument rehearsal.

We want to ensure all interested students can participate so if you are concerned about not being able to afford and instrument rental, please email us or send a note with your child and we will find a way to provide an instrument. (Instruments come from a collection at DW Poppy and the school district. We have access to a limited number of flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones and  alto saxophones so please contact us as soon as possible at mfollett@sd35.bc.ca or tcaswell@sd35.bc.ca and we will access the collection at that point.)

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 17 or 18 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
  • Flute:

    • 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
  • Basses** 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
  • Percussion** UPON CONSULTATION WITH YOUR BAND TEACHER, Percussionists need to rent a Percussion Kit

    • This should include a Bell Kit (like a silver xylophone), Snare Drum, Instrument Stand, Drum Sticks, Mallets, Gig Bag.
    • Sound Innovations COMBINED Percussion Book
    • All of the above needs to be brought to rehearsals

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 mfollett@sd35.bc.ca (Fort, North Otter & Peterson) or Ms. Caswell at tcaswell@sd35.bc.ca (Wix & Coglan) and we will be pleased to do whatever we can to help your child be successful.


Students need their instrument, book, music, accessories and a pencil for every rehearsal.  Timings may shift occasionally to accommodate other events at one of my four schools but unless I email out, please assume we always have band.


We have three concerts during the year in December, March and late May/early June and dates will be announced shortly. Band is a performance-based class so all students are expected to participate in all performances as a course expectation. If a student is absent from a performance, music’s version of a final exam, the previous months of work by the ensemble is suddenly incomplete, which can have a tremendous impact on their classmates.

Parents and students are asked to communicate any schedule conflicts as soon as possible. I will work with you to find a solution in everyone’s best interest. In case of emergency situations, please contact me (mfollett@sd35.bc.ca or 604-530-2151) as soon as possible. Students who miss a performance will be asked to individually perform the concert repertoire to demonstrate their proficiency.

  • Long sleeved black dress shirt or sweater
  • Black dress pants
  • Black socks & dress shoes
  • Optional: Red accent (tie, scarf, socks, other?)