NYCSD Elementary Band Notes

December '20


It's December! Typically, we have a Winter Concert in December featuring our Level 2 Band, Advanced Orchestra, and 5th Grade Chorus. Unfortunately, this year we will NOT have a Winter Concert. Instead, I encourage students to prepare a song (or multiple songs) to perform for their family on a scheduled date that they pick this month! Having a "concert" date to look forward to can be very motivating and exciting for students, and it will be even more successful if it's a song that they have picked themselves. If your child does perform a special concert for you and you happen to get a video of the performance, please upload it to SeeSaw - I'd love to see it! :)

Current Lesson Dates

  • Day 3 Lessons - 12/2, 12/10, 12/18, 1/6
  • Day 5 Lessons - 12/4, 12/14, 12/22, 1/8


  • Day 4 Lessons - 12/3, 12/11, 12/21, 1/7


  • Day 1 Lessons - 12/8, 12/16, 1/4
  • Day 5 Lessons - 12/4, 12/14, 12/22, 1/8
  • Day 6 Lessons - 12/7, 12/15, 12/23, 1/11


  • Day 2 Lessons - 12/1, 12/9, 12/17, 1/5

Band-Inspired Gifts

In case anyone is interested in giving their child Band-inspired gifts, I've compiled a list of "extra stuff" that would make great gifts for your Band kids! You should be able to find all of it at the various music stores in our area, on Amazon, or from Menchey Music!

None of the items I've listed are things that they are required to have at the Elementary level, so please do not feel pressured to purchase everything (or anything) on the list. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer!

Virtual Lessons?

I've had a few families ask if we will continue to have lessons if the schools need to go virtual for any amount of time. The answer is YES! We will have lessons over Zoom.

If schools are required to move into a short-term virtual session (where they work primarily asynchronously from the Polar Paths), we will continue with lessons based on the six day cycle. If we are required to move into a long-term virtual model, I will be in touch with a new schedule as soon as possible. Hopefully it doesn't come to that! :)

Thank you to my students who have already helped me out with navigating virtual lessons this past week! I am not extremely familiar with Zoom, so it was helpful to have such patient students during my first few days of virtual lessons!


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.

Practicing Expectations

I had several students tell me this cycle that they did not practice over our Fall Break, so I wanted to include another reminder about practicing in this month's newsletter as well:

Our practice goal is 80-100 minutes a week, broke into however many days is suitable for your child's schedule and attention span. Of course, this is just a goal, and I understand that we won't always make it to our goal! However, practicing is SO important! Remember, when children sign up for sports, they often have sports practice multiple evenings a week, sometimes for several hours. We only have band once a week (max), for 20-25 minutes, so students MUST practice at home in order to retain the information. If they want to continue to enjoy and excel at Band, they must put in at least some time at home as well :)

The best strategy that I recommend is sitting down with your child and working together on creating a practice schedule that you both agree on. Kids LOVE having agency in creating their own practice schedule, and are more likely to stick with it if they help to create it.

I've had a few kids tell me lately that they've forgotten to practice, so they might just need some more gentle reminders.

Additionally, please help your child remember that they are to be filling out one Practice Log per cycle. I have gone over this several times with Level 2, but it might be new to Level 1. They are welcome to fill out more than one log per cycle if that is what they prefer. Thank you to those who have already helped their kids with it! You can find a link on my website, as well as in SeeSaw.

Important Links

Mrs. Yohn's Website

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

Music Department Website

Information about the entire Music Department can be found here!


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

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!

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