NYCSD Elementary Band Notes

February '21

Current Lesson Dates

  • Day 3 Lessons - 2/2, 2/10, 2/19, 3/1, 3/9, 3/17, 3/25
  • Day 5 Lessons - 2/4, 2/12, 2/23, 3/3, 3/11, 3/19, 3/29


  • Day 4 Lessons - 2/3, 2/11, 2/22, 3/2, 3/10, 3/18, 3/26


  • Day 1 Lessons - 2/8, 2/17, 2/25, 3/5, 3/15, 3/23, 3/31
  • Day 5 Lessons - 2/4, 2/12, 2/23, 3/3, 3/11, 3/19, 3/29
  • Day 6 Lessons - 2/5, 2/16, 2/24, 3/4, 3/12, 3/22, 3/30


  • Day 2 Lessons - 2/1, 2/9, 2/18, 2/26, 3/8, 3/16, 3/24

Donations for Braden

In January, I sent a letter home via email regarding a Band Family in need. Since then, I've received kind messages and thoughts for the Fleagle family, as well as several donations that I have been able to forward to the Northern Music Boosters in order to help Braden and his family. I am so very appreciative of everyone's generosity! It warms my heart to know that in times of trouble, the Music Department Family is here to support each other at all levels. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, and who have sent positive thoughts and prayers their way!

Progress Reports

Unlike typical years, students are not receiving a grade for Band this year. However, I do know that families appreciate an update every now and then, so I decided to send home a progress report! Most of the students have already received this progress report (at the time of my writing this, students with lessons on days 4 and 5 have not received their reports yet). This report contains information about how many lessons your child attended in the first and second marking periods, how often they brought their instrument to school, whether or not they are filling out practice logs, as well as a "glows and grows" section. If your child has misplaced their progress report, please email me and I will either print a new one for them, or send one your way digitally.

PBS's "In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl"

"In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl" is a six-episode PBS series, hosted by Gustavo Dudamel, the music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The series features performances by some incredible musicians, while also including information about the history of the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, the musicians, and the composers. Each episode also includes an interview with one or more of the performers. Some of the featured musicians include Rodrigo y Gabriela, Herbie Hancock, Sutton Foster, Katy Perry, John Williams, and many more! I haven't gotten a chance to watch the entire series yet (I am only one episode in), but it seems like a fantastic resource, even if it is just used as background music, to expose students to the versatility of learning an instrument and how many paths it can take you on!

Online Metronome

If your child has trouble remembering to count how many beats each note gets, or if they need help staying in time, I recommend practicing with a metronome!* A metronome is a tool that plays a steady beep or clicking sound to help musicians keep the beat and learn the rhythms of their music. The tempo (speed) can be adjusted, and you can even tell it to break the beat down into eighth notes or sixteenth notes. This tool is beneficial to everyone, but I especially recommend it for our Percussionists!

I linked a great online metronome above, however there are tons of free options on the Apple and Game stores for mobile devices (I do not recommend purchasing a paid-for metronome app at this level).

* I actually recommend that all students practice with a metronome pretty much every time they practice!

What should my child be practicing?

You might be wondering what your child should be practicing when they are at home! At the beginning of the school year, I gave each student a small laminated card that we use to keep track of their practicing assignments each week. On that card, we write down the specific songs and skills that the student should practice before their next lesson. They are more than welcome to practice other songs as well, as long as they also practice what is written on the card!

Generally, our practicing will include...

  • warm ups (buzzing for brass instruments, rudiments for percussion students, and half scales for all instruments);
  • specific songs out of our Sound Innovations book (or on SmartMusic)
  • songs or skills from our SeeSaw folders (usually just Level 1)

Please note that I will always write down something for students to practice - if they do not have their laminated card, I will write it on a sticky note. There will never be a week where I don't assign anything to practice! :) And again, if a student is finished practicing what is on the card but would like to continue playing, they are welcome to practice other songs and music. Any practice is good practice!

After they are finished practicing, students should fill out a Practice Log (there is a link on SeeSaw and on my website as well). Students are only required to fill out one per cycle, but I know many students prefer to fill it out every time they practice so that they don't forget.

If students have questions about what they should practice, please feel free to reach out to me on SeeSaw or via email!


A HUGE thank you to all of the families who have helped their children set up a SmartMusic account so far this year! It really helps our lessons go smoothly when the student is able to login to their own SmartMusic account.

I do still have students who do not have SmartMusic accounts, so I wanted to include this in our Newsletter again this month: Every Band student needs a SmartMusic account if they do not already have one! Students must sign up for this account at home!! We will use SmartMusic in lessons as a replacement for our book (students can still use their book at home). If you have not already, please visit and sign up for a FREE account as soon as possible. I recommend writing down the login info and putting it in your child's case.

Do not use the student's northernpolarbears email to sign up. SmartMusic will ask you to verify the email, and we cannot receive emails on the students' northernpolarbears account. Please use a personal email.

You can find tutorials about SmartMusic on my website here (including how to sign up). The tutorials are a little old, so things might look a little bit different, but most of the information is still correct! And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Important Links

Mrs. Yohn's Website

Click here for important announcements, handouts, calendars, and so much more!


Students can use SmartMusic to help them practice their music correctly!

Music Department Website

Information about the entire Music Department can be found here!

Elementary Band Twitter

Stay up to date with the NYCSD Elementary Bands on twitter!

Music Boosters

Interested in volunteering or fundraising? Check out the Music Boosters!

Menchey Music

We partner with Menchey Music to provide our students with top-quality instruments as well as supplies!

Big picture