Instrumental Music at LCMS
A Note From the Directors
Dear Fifth Grader,
Preparing for middle school is an exciting time. At LCMS we are excited that you will join us on your middle school journey.
In sixth grade, you get to choose a music class. You can choose band, orchestra, choir or general music. This brochure will tell you more about the instrumental music classes, band, and orchestra, at LCMS. Countless students go through the band and orchestra programs. Many continue their music studies into high school and even college. We hope you choose to make instrumental music part of your learning experience in middle school.
Mr. Absalonson - Director of Bands
Mr. Thomsen - Director of Orchestras
Sixth Grade Band
In band, students learn the basics of playing and caring for an instrument as well as aspects of being part of a large ensemble. Students learn how to read pitches and rhythms, and how to play those pitches and rhythms on their instruments. They also learn about working with others and the listening skills required to be able to play music with several different parts. Instruments in the band include woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
Sixth Grade Orchestra
Similar to band, students in orchestra will learn the basics of caring for their instruments and also playing within a large group. Students will learn how to read pitches and rhythms and how to play them on their instruments. Additionally, students learn listening skills and playing skills that allow them to play music with several different parts. String instruments including violin, viola, cello, and bass are part of the orchestra.
What do LCMS students think?
I went into band because I wanted to try new things and I also got to meet a bunch of different people. — Rachel M. 7th grade band
I think band is amazing and it gives you skills like memory, imagination, problem solving and hand-eye coordination. — MaKayla C. 6th grade band
Orchestra helps me be better at school. It is a fun, challenging class and we play great music. — Alex D. 8th grade orchestra
Orchestra is awesome! You learn all sorts of things about your instrument and you improve so much! It’s so fun listening to yourself advance. — Katina 6th grade orchestra
Playing an instrument lets you be creative in your own way. — Kiarra D. 6th grade orchestra
It makes me feel smarter that I know how to play an instrument. — 6th grade band student
Making a Difference
There are several instrument choices you have for your first year of band or orchestra. Students are split into four classes: woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings.
Band - Brass
Trombone creates sound by buzzing lips on a mouthpiece. They use a slide to change pitches and often play bass lines and harmony parts in band. Trumpet uses a mouthpiece to create sound, too. Trumpets almost always play the melody in band music. Other brass instruments students may play after their first year in band include horn, baritone, or tuba.
Band - Woodwinds
Clarinet is a single reed instrument. They often play the melody and harmony parts in band music. Flute produces sound by blowing air across a tone hole. Flutes also often play the melody or sometimes flashy technical passages in band music. Alto saxophone is also a single reed instrument. It plays harmony parts in most band music. Other woodwind instruments students may play after their first year include oboe, bass clarinet, bassoon, tenor saxophone, or baritone saxophone.
Band - Percussion
Snare drum and bells are played by first-year percussionists. Snare drums provide rhythmic interest to music while the bells often play the melody. Students who have previously played piano often excel at percussion. Additional percussion instruments students will learn as they progress include timpani, bass drum, cymbals, xylophone, marimba and many other small percussion instruments.
Orchestra - Strings
Violin is the highest instrument in the string family. It plays in the treble clef and usually plays the melody. Viola is the second-highest instrument of the string family. It plays in the alto clef and sometimes plays the melody, but also provides harmony in the orchestra. Cello is the next lowest string instrument in the orchestra. It plays in the bass clef. Cellos can play melodies but also do very well playing harmony and accompaniment parts. Bass is the lowest string instrument of the orchestra. Bass plays in bass clef and usually provides harmonic support to the orchestra. It is recommended that students have a least one year of string experience if they choose to play bass.