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Beginning Band

Beginning Band 2020-2021


Due to the school closure stemming from Covid-19 many things that take place at year’s end were left undone. Unfortunately, beginning band orientation is one of those things. This is a big step and the first major commitment for many of the students entering 6th grade band. I will attempt to outline the major points of 6th grade band class below. I understand that there are many questions that I can’t possibly cover. I monitor my email daily. Please do not hesitate to email me with any questions you might have. No question is too small. That’s what I’m here for.

If we start the year distant learning, 6th grade band students will learn basic music theory...counting, breathing exercises, note recognition, learning the staff, etc.  Once we’re able to come back to school, we’ll begin screening students for instruments.  

My email address is

Band Hall Phone: (361)287-3426 x3013


Arnold Garza

Director of Bands



  1. All students in 6th grade are required to participate in band for 1 year. Beyond that, band membership is optional requiring band director approval based on skills, attendance and behavior.
  2. It is highly encouraged that beginning band students rent their instruments from a reputable music dealer. This will assure the student a new instrument in top working order which will give them the best chance of success. Rental instruments can be returned anytime without penalty, and all rental payments go toward purchase should the student remain in band beyond 6th grade. Rented instruments typically come with a maintenance plan, so any repairs are covered at no cost. Students who rent their instrument can choose any instrument from the list below.
  3. There are a limited number of school owned instruments available for beginning band use. these are generally the larger, more expensive instruments that are not used by beginning band students. There are a few smaller instruments owned by the school. They are generally older instruments that are less likely to be easily played by the inexperienced student. In some circumstances these are available for beginners on a limited case-by-case basis. Students who use school owned instruments will have their instrument chosen by the band director from the list below based upon availability. Further, all repairs for damages including tuneups and cleaning at the end of the year are the parent’s responsibility.
  4. Students may use their own instrument. This can be a parent’s or other family member’s used instrument. It must be inspected by the band director and determined to be of good quality and playing condition prior to use in band class. Of course, any repairs are the parent’s responsibility.
  5. At this time, all disposable items: reeds, lubricants and cleaning supplies are provided for the students by STISD. This is an effort to keep all instruments working properly and minimize repair cost to everyone.
  6. All students must have an instrument by Monday, September 7, 2020. Prior to that, grades are determined through class activities. After that date, grades are determined by the use of instruments. Students without instruments after September 7th will receive failing grades.

Instrument Selection

Students will have the opportunity to play one of the following: Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet and Trombone. Once a student’s instrument selection is set (see #2,3 &4 above) they may not change instruments during the year. At year’s end, there will be some opportunity to switch to a different instrument as determined by the band director.

Special Percussion Note: If a student is interested in percussion, they must start on a standard band instrument listed above. At the end of 6th grade if they have proven their ability to read music, count rhythms, and properly care for their equipment they will be switched to percussion. At that time, they will be required to rent/purchase an approved percussion kit of the band director’s choosing. Percussion kits are not provided by the school. This includes all sticks and mallets. When the percussionists advance to 8th grade, all drums and auxiliary percussion equipment is provided by STISD.

Warning Concerning Inferior Instruments

We’ve all heard the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true it must be”. That phrase certainly applies to musical instrument brands. Many inferior brands are being sold, mostly online, for unbelievable low prices. Most of these have little to no quality control, are made out of thin inferior metals, and have little to no parts availability. I have personal experience through students, colleagues and instrument repair technicians that there are some brands to be avoided at all cost. The money you save on the purchase price resurfaces on multiple repairs due to bent keys, valves, etc. In many cases, instrument repair shops simply refuse to work on inferior instruments because the repair won’t hold and they know it will be back over and over with no chance of a permanent solution. Before making a purchase from any “big box” store or online please contace me. I will research the instrument and give you the facts. 

If you are about to make a purchase and are not sure, send me an email or call the band hall. I’m here to help.

Other Necessary Equipment

All beginning band students use a band book. Currently, we are undergoing a book change, so very limited information is available. This section will be updated as soon as more information is available. 

Local Music Dealers

The following are dealers we have had success with. These are not the only good music dealers around. Please research anyone you work with when renting or purchasing an instrument. They all pick up and deliver. They’re all good dealers. Call each and find the best deal!

Tee’s Music House

212 N Washington St,

Beeville, TX 78102



South Texas Music Mart

4250 S Alameda St,

Corpus Christi, TX 78412



Hillje Music Center

11654 Bandera Rd # 109

San Antonio, TX 78250



Melhart Music Center

3325 N 10th St. 

McAllen, TX 78501