Instrumental Music Program at both School and Home The Grade 6 to Grade 12 students in the WCS Instrumental Music program will continue to learn fingering patterns and valve patterns on their wind instruments in conjunction with digital sound recordings. Please note that all students will be expected to keep their mouthpieces in their cases during class. Throughout the school year, these students will be encouraged to record short clips of their at home practice with their complete instruments. Grade 6 to Grade 12 students will continue to rent their current instruments from Long and McQuade Music store, St. John’s Music store and/or WCS. The music stores and school will repair and sanitize instruments as needed. Teachers will only repair and sanitize WCS instruments, as needed before and after school.
Multifaceted Music Curriculum & Instruction For Grade 5 to Grade 12, our current in-class Music instruction, will include composition units, percussion techniques, recording techniques, rhythmic techniques, keyboard/ mallet techniques, handbells, ukulele, music theory, music history, and interdisciplinary projects that involve Music. The bulk of the Grade 5 learning will occur in class and be rooted in project-based learning and it will touch upon many of the above-mentioned units. It will not involve wind instruments until further notice. The homework instruction for Grade 6 to Grade 12 students will involve practicing their wind instruments and submitting brief recordings of their at home practice sessions. This particular learning development can occur, as these students have the basic facility already in place from prior year(s) of learning.
Sanitizing Practices & Plexiglass Learning Units For in-class work, the sanitizing practices for handbell handles and percussion sticks will occur before and after each user. We have purchased new percussion equipment to minimize sharing for all of our percussion students. All of the in-class learning for students in Grade 5 to Grade 12, will occur primarily behind the 34 physically distanced plexiglass learning units that were installed in the Band Room this August. Students will sanitize their plexiglass stations at the beginning and ending of each class. Our WCS Music students will also be using computer programs, like SmartMusic, and other computer applications to encourage engagement both at school and at home. Each student from Grade 5 to Grade 12 will be provided with a SmartMusic account for the duration of the entire 2020-2021 school year. This will be provided free of charge to both students and staff. Any sheet music provided to the students will be digitally accessible on PowerLearn and/or Smart Music. This way students can access repertoire at home.
Name Tag Policy & Seating Plan Students will not be allowed to share music folders, books, or wind instruments of any kind. A strict name tag and labeling policy will help to ensure safety. All folders have been labelled by the teachers. All of the instruments must have a name tag with the child’s first name, last name and Grade level. Our students will abide by a seating plan policy, where each student will sit in the same plexiglass learning unit for each Music class. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the door upon entry to class for students that wish to use it. Before and after class, our students will line up on the dots located both inside and outside the Band Room door. All of our students will abide by the school’s mask policy.
Small-Group Outdoor Rehearsals/ In-Class Measures & Masking The current understanding provided by our Minister of Health regarding rehearsals and performances of wind band groups, states that they can occur outdoors with physical distancing measures in place.
The Grade 8 to Grade 12 students will rehearse outside in a socially distanced manner, when the weather permits it. The outside of the timetable high school 10/20/30 Instrumental Music classes will meet in small groups of 10 to 15 students and rehearse outside after school, as the weather permits. Mouthpiece sanitizer will be available to all students for each class. Percussion students and string students will rehearse in a physically distanced manner indoors behind the plexiglass learning shields, with their masks on. They will also have access to hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for their sticks. Each percussion student will be given his/her or their own bag with an assortment of sticks for his/her or their use only. In the Winter and late Fall, the Instrumental Music 10/20/30 students will meet in small groups to work on fingering patterns and valve patterns with pre-recorded SmartMusic audio recordings both before and after school. If it is deemed safe to do so, small groups between 6 to 8 students with special-ordered instrument bell covers and the plexiglass learning units could rehearse before and after school. This tentative schedule will be available in the coming weeks ahead. In these settings, masks would be worn during the rehearsal set-up and rehearsal take down. For wind instruments, brief unmasking would occur during sound production moments only. This would only occur if the environment is deemed safe, otherwise Google Meetings/ Zoom Meetings will occur in a small group fashion from home both before and/or after school. Most likely students will have a Zoom meeting schedule and an in-person schedule. This will be communicated in the coming weeks ahead.
Masking in Music Class All string performers, percussionists and students learning composition, percussion techniques, recording techniques, rhythmic techniques, keyboard/ mallet techniques, handbells, ukulele, music theory, music history, and interdisciplinary projects will occur with the students wearing their masks.
Celebrations of Learning & Performance Guidelines Out-of-town trips and in-person concerts will not occur until it is deemed safe to do so. To celebrate the students wonderful journey learning Music, we plan to share pre-recorded videos and pre-recorded audio samples of the students’ work on our PowerLearn pages and in digital email communications to parents and guardians at key times in the school year. We hope to use technology as a vehicle for sharing small examples of our learning progress with everyone.
Support for Music from WMPS & WCS Our Westmount Charter Music Parents’ Society will continue to support the students’ learning of Instrumental Music at WCS. The WMPS Executive Board will continue to meet throughout the year in several Zoom meetings and we will host an AGM. We wish to express our sincerest gratitude to both the WMPS and WCS for funding our plexiglass learning units for our Band Room. Current Band Room Renovation Currently, we are working closely with a team of architects and an acoustician on the renovation of our new WCS Band Room that will be occurring during this school year. This gorgeous new learning space takes into account many important factors for our student musicians. We are pleased to be a part of the consultative process to ensure that the beautiful new learning environment is viable for our students for many years to come.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE- Common Music Program Questions & Answers
Where do the Music Parents meet to garner the Music Program 2020-2021 tentative calendar?
At 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 24, Dr. Freeman and Mr. Waters will meet parents over a Zoom Meeting to discuss our program and answer any questions that folks may have regarding the calendar of events and our Music Program at WCS. All parents who have a child in the Band program are invited to attend this meeting which also includes our Annual General Meeting for our Westmount Music Parents' Society. Parents with Music students from Grades 9 to Grade 12 are encouraged to attend the Zoom Meeting to find out about program highlights on September 24 at 8:00 pm. How do the fees for Band work?
There is a small uniform fee that pays for the cost of the band dress shirt. There is a small course fee for Band from Grade 6 to Grade 12. There is a small instrument rental fee, if your son or daughter rents an instrument from the school. All of these fees are tallied and made available for online payment after roughly one month. No student is left behind based on financial need. All of our students have the right to perform music, just like all have the right to play sports.
What is the best way to keep informed regarding special news, rehearsals, fundraisers, digital band camps and general Music Program information?
Please check the WCS Music Program website to keep current on program news, weekly rehearsal schedules, fundraisers and special news. The member login and password for the private gallery page will be sent to you soon. Monthly information emails will also be sent directly to families.
Will Grade 5 and Grade 6 Parents have to rent an instrument from St. John's Music or Long and McQuade Music this year for Band? We will forward you an online instrument rental information package to each parent from St. John's Music, so they can arrange an instrument for their child through an online booking process. This will occur in mid-November for Grade 6 students and at the start of January for Grade 5 students. Before Christmas Break, Dr. Freeman will lead the Grade 5 students through and instrument selection process. Please do not reserve or book an instrument, until we have completed our selection process with your child.
If my child is learning at home during this pandemic and they are enrolled in the Music Program how do I rent an instrument? Both St. John's Music store and Long & McQuade Music store rent instruments to families. Simply give them a call and they will answer all of your questions. They will work with you to guide you through the instrument rental process.
Will the Head Start Clinics be happening this year for the Grade 5 and Grade 6 students during this pandemic? We are looking at running this special event at the start of the second term for our students in the younger grades. Thank you for your patience with us. We are currently piloting small group online Masterclass lessons for our high school students to see if this will be viable and work well for everyone.
Should I purchase an instrument for my child? We only recommend purchasing a woodwind or brass instrument for your child if they are continuing in Band in Grade 7. Most music stores have a rent to own program. We strongly discourage parents from purchasing an instrument over Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. Over the first couple years, our students tend to try a couple different instruments before they pick their favourite.
When do the students meet for the Head Start Clinic and what do they learn?
This year's HeadStart clinics may happen digitally at home. Each instrument will be given different meeting codes and passwords to learn in small instrument groups from a professional musician. The Grade 5 students learn how to put their instruments together, how to perform the first few notes of a scale, proper instrument cleaning and important techniques for breathing. The Grade 6 clinics are designed to work on extending each student’s known range of notes and the abovementioned items.
Please Note: The HeadStart Clinics have been delineated by grade level and performance ability, therefore each student must attend using the correct meeting code and passworkd to maximize his or her full learning potential with the professional musicians.