6th Grade Band and Orchestra Students are offered their first elective music class in sixth grade — band or orchestra. Sixth grade band and orchestra introduces students to traditional instrumental ensembles and prepares them for continued study at the middle and high school levels. Although all students are encouraged to participate, band and orchestra are not required. Most middle and high schools do not offer beginning instrumental classes; this is really the only opportunity to enter the band/orchestra program. Students who do not participate in Band or Orchestra are not penalized. They often are given choices such as silent reading time or helping out in younger students’ classrooms. Students who do participate do not miss anything in their main classrooms. No sixth grade classroom instruction takes place during Band and Orchestra time. Orchestra and Band are taught as separate classes three times a week for 45 minutes. A registration slip, signed by both the student and a parent or guardian, is required for enrollment in band or orchestra. Once registered, students are expected to participate for the entire school year. During the first few weeks of school, band and orchestra teachers visit each school to describe the program and demonstrate all of the instruments that are taught. In addition, there are two Parent Nights offered in August and September to allow sixth-graders and their parents an opportunity to learn more about band and orchestral instruments taught in our program. Please plan to attend one of these evening events. It is important that students choose an appropriate instrument. Students should certainly pick instruments based on the sound they like, but physical factors such as hand size and dental structure can have a big impact on playing success. Students should not acquire instruments before checking with an orchestra or band teacher; instruments are not needed in class for the first two to three weeks of the school year. Band/orchestra students receive quarterly progress reports. They earn grades of O (Outstanding), S (Satisfactory), or N (Needs Improvement) in two categories: Achievement and Effort.