Sixth Grade Band Bulletin

September 1st

Welcome to RMS!

Dear Parents

We are now officially 10 days into school. Procedures are getting followed and hopefully comfort is starting to set in for the students. We have had a very busy start to the year. I have a lot of fun things planned for the year, and we are just now starting to "get into the groove" (pun intended). I am very impressed with what I have seen and heard this year. We are going to be able to do some amazing things over the next 176 days!

This newsletter will bring you up to speed on a few items. There are several more items I will talk about at the Open House on September 9th! I hope to see you there.

I am huge believer in communication. We are partners in your child's learning. Please contact me anytime you have a question or concern, and I will do likewise.

If you have not gone to our recently updated webpage, please visit the site often. In addition to being the go-to source for answers to many band questions, the website will offer links to many instructional videos, sound files for the students, game sites, and handouts for parents. In addition, you can find links to our calendar, syllabus, handouts from class, Music Buffs info, and summer residential band camp info.

Have you signed up for "Remind?" You can get text messages from me about important dates etc. Text @mrb6band to 81010 to begin the service. I promise I'll only text when needed.

Below are some important bits of information, please contact me with any questions. Sorry in advance for the length (they won't all be this long). I Look forwarding to meeting you at Curriculum Night!


Rob Buckley

Field Trip!!!!

I will be announcing this to the students next week (please keep it a secret), but I wanted to let you know that we just received approval for a Field Trip to see the Madison Symphony Orchestra in Madison, WI. The date of the trip will be Tuesday, November 24 (the last day before Thanksgiving Break). We will take coach buses up to Madison to see the MSO perform a Youth Concert.

The MSO concert will be conducted by Maestro Randall Swiggum (right). Randy is a friend and mentor. I think if there was a Mt. Rushmore for music teachers, he would be front and center. He is an amazing teacher, and I know that he has put together an outstanding concert!

Starting in October, we will begin going through the student packet that Maestro Swiggum wrote to learn about the pieces we will hear.

The cost of the trip will be $28 for students (includes ticket and coach bus transportation)

The cost for chaperones will be $24 (bus transportation).

An official Permission slip will be going home with the students in the near future. Please add this date to your child's calendar. Please note: because of the distance of the the venue, this field trip will start before the start of school and will end after regular school hours.

More information will be coming home soon!

Building Myelin!

How many times have you had to badger your child to practice? If your child was anything like I was in sixth grade, the answer is probably OFTEN! Let's face it, we like instant gratification. I knew that when I was the students' age, I looked for anything I could do to avoid practicing. Part of it is the age. Be that as it may, I want to tell you about what we have been learning the last two days and how that can make practicing better!

It's called Myelin. If you are not familiar with it, Myelin is this chemical membrane that we all have in our bodies. It coats the nerve cells by wrapping around the nerve cell like insulation. The more we practice something, the thicker the coat of myelin gets around the nerve cell. It's like going from the thin wire we see on Christmas lights to the thick industrial-strength extension chords. The thicker the myelin, the faster the signals can travel=the better you get at something. My myelin for baseball is at an all-time low (the Cubs don't want me...imagine that!). Meanwhile Jake Arrieta has a TON of baseball myelin (he just pitched a no-hitter).

So, what does this have to do with band... EVERYTHING!

I don't want us referring to practicing by that name. It makes kids (even some of us older ones) cringe. It's like hearing the word homework. Yet, if we say, Have you Built your Music Myelin sounds better! They are creating...building...making...improving!

That's the easy step one. Here are a few more things you need to know.

1. ANYTHING we want to improve on is going to take struggle, sometimes even temporary failure. Dan Coyle, author of the book "Talent Code" (highly recommended) says that this is NECESSARY. If we want to get really good at something, we must go through the struggle. What must happen is that the brain needs to learn to fire the correct circuits and that means it needs to learn not to the fire the wrong ones. So, DON'T LET YOUR CHILD GIVE UP! PUSH THROUGH IT. The struggle will be temporary. The Glory is forever!

2. I know that the students' lives are VERY busy. Add the other events in the family, and finding a time to build musical myelin is tough. Yet, if a student does not build the myelin, the improvement won't be there and the struggle will remain.

It's really important that you and your child set up a music myelin building time AT LEAST 5 times per week. The time does not need to be very long, but it needs to happen as many days per week as possible.

3. Here are some DO's and DON'Ts for building musical myelin:

1. DO Set a goal. Your child should set a goal each myelin building time that is just out-of-reach. For example: Mastering 1 or 2 EE book songs (mastering--not learning). Mastering the new scale at a slow speed (or as they get better...faster speed). Practicing a chunk of the band music (maybe 16 measures).

2. DON'T Set a timer: The number of minutes is not what is important...the learning and growth is what is important. If the goal is achieved....your child is done!

3. DO Break things into chunks: The best way to build myelin is to do small things MANY times. So, the best practice tip is learn music in small chunks (1-2 measures). Once those measures are learned...move on to the next 2 measures. Once those measures are learned, put the four measures together. It takes a lot of repetition to build myelin! Yesterday, using this strategy we learned a brand new melody in 5 minutes during band. IT WORKS!!!

4. DON'T Put Aside what you can already do: To ensure that the myelin sticks, review of already mastered music is a must. It will just happen easier and quicker!

5. DO Plan to make mistakes: THEY ARE OK! We want to get to the point where they go away, but making them in the early stages is fine for myelin building. STUDENTS JUST NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY CORRECT THEM!!!!

I encourage you to check out the Book "The Talent Code" by Dan Coyle. I've read it once and am reading it again. I love it! He has a lot of stories about why certain people are so successful. The secret...HARD WORK which builds Myelin! It talks all about Myelin building.

I also encourage you to check out Dan Coyle's "The Little Book of Talent" which offers 52 strategies for improvement.

The best part of this whole story is that we all have Myelin, and we can always grow it!

Odds and Ends:

1. GLE Lessons start after Labor Day.

  • Students will get four lessons to pass off each GLE.
  • Each GLE has 8 songs/exercises
  • GLE's are one of the largest grades in band (40 pts) (-5 for each song short of goal).
  • I will have a weekly help session for students needing extra help. Sign-up is first-come first serve and limited to 6 kids.
  • I will have an advanced GLE session each week. This session is for students who can prepare more songs than the lesson teacher can hear at the lesson. This session allows students to advance as fast as they can without limited lesson time getting in the way.
  • Lesson groups will be made this weekend and passed out to students
  • Students must have EE Book (Percussion --EE book or Packet depending on level)
  • Students who do not have the EE book will not be allowed to have a lesson and will lose that lesson opportunity.

2. First Assessment (Scale Quiz) will be on September 16 during class. Students will learn next week how to submit a video (safely) to me in advance of the due date to pass off the assessment from home. This option has multiple benefits.

3. We must order T-Shirts and Polo Shirts this week. If your child is holding on to the yellow checklist, it must be turned in ASAP.

4. The Band uniform will consist of the Polo shirt (we are ordering), black pants, black socks, and black dress shoes (provided by the student).

Thanks for Reading!