Full Menu

Information for Rising 6th Grade Students

TJMS Band Program Information for Rising 6th Graders


 Students entering Jefferson Middle School as Sixth Graders perform in Concert Band Blue.

  • The  Concert Band Blue is the ensemble for all 6th grade band students.  Students in Concert Band Blue perform during the Winter Band Concert (December), APS Band Assessment (February), Spring Band Concert (May), and the Music in the Parks Competition Trip (May/June).
  • Once course requests have been submitted, students will be divided into classes grouped by instrument: Brass or Woodwinds & Percussion.  Instruction in Concert Band Blue is differentiated to meet the needs of advanced players, experienced players switching instruments, and beginning students.
  • Concert Band Blue is the name of the ensemble but is NOT the name of the class on the Course Request Form (CRF).  More information on the CRF is available below!

 What class should I sign up for on my Course Request Form (CRF)?

  • Advanced Band (19229) is the course code for students who have played an instrument for one or more years in elementary school.  On the CRF, please indicate which instrument you currently play and for how many years you have played it.
  • Beginning Band (19230) is the course code for students who have NOT played an instrument before.  Do NOT indicate an instrument or years of experience on your CRF.  Any student is welcome to sign up for this course!
  • A note about class names: Please be aware that the name of the course which your student requests on their CRF may not be the name of the course on their schedule in September–and that’s okay!  The Jefferson music teachers and counseling staff work together throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall to ensure that every student is enrolled in the appropriate class!

How is Middle School Band different from Elementary School Band?

  • Jefferson Middle School offers a wide variety of performance opportunities, both during and after school, that are not offered at the elementary level.  These ensembles include the Concert and Symphonic Bands, Jazz Band, Pep (Basketball) Band, and Percussion Ensemble.  Jefferson Band Students have numerous performances during the year, including the Winter & Spring Music Department Concerts, APS Marching Band Showcase, District Band Assessment, Rising 6th Grade Orientation, International Night, and our Annual Spring Trip Competition/Performance.  Students also earn IB Community Service hours for each performance.
  • All students are encouraged to challenge themselves as individual musicians by auditioning for the All-County and All-District Honors Bands, and participating in the District XII Solo & Ensemble Festival.
  • One of the best things about Middle School Band is that, while students are able to develop their musical ability over the course of the year, they also learn important life skills including responsibility, teamwork, self-respect, determination, and commitment.
  • While elementary band students usually meet once per week for 30 minutes, the Jefferson Concert & Beginning bands meet for 45 minutes each day, 5 days per week—that adds up to 240 minutes of instruction every week!  Students are able to improve and refine their musical abilities and music-reading skills far more quickly than they did in elementary school.

What instrument will I play?

  • Imagine that the Jefferson Band is a football team. In order to have a successful team, all positions need to be covered.  This means that not every player can be the quarterback.  Like a football team, a successful band requires that all instrument parts are covered.  While we need students to play trumpet, flute, saxophone, and percussion, we often need students to play less common instruments such as trombone, euphonium, and oboe, and french horn. Additionally, more instrument options are available in middle school than are offered in elementary school, so some experienced students choose to switch instruments.
  • In the late Spring and early Fall, the music teachers work with students and families on instrument selections.  Factors that are considered when selecting an instrument include:
    • Student interest (this is VERY important!)
    • Students’ natural aptitude for a specific instrument
    • Students who already own instruments and/or have taken private lessons
    • Ensuring that the band has balanced instrumentation.
    • Availability of instruments for rental from the school and/or local music store

Will my student still have time to pursue other interests and activities?  What if my student would like to take another elective class, such as Drama, Art, Family & Consumer Sciences, or Technology Education?

  • While participation in the Jefferson Middle School Band takes effort and commitment, students form lasting friendships and fond memories.  Many Jefferson Band students still have plenty of time to pursue their other interests, including Interscholastic & Intramural Sports, Cheerleading, Art Club, Jefferson’s Annual Drama Production, National Junior Honor Society, Academic Hallmarks, and MathCounts, among many other activities.
  • Rising 6th grade students who sign up for band will take Band (every day, all year) World Language class (every other day, all year) and a PE class (every other day, all year).  They may also choose to sign up for one of the Act II (after school) classes being offered, such as Art, Drama, Family & Consumer Sciences, and Technology Education.  There are no Act II (after school) band class offerings available at Jefferson.

I have a question that has not been answered here.  Who should I ask?

  • If you have questions about the Course Request Form (CRF), please see your student’s elementary school counselor.
  • If you have questions about the Jefferson Band, please contact the Jefferson Band teacher, Catrina Tangchittsumran (“Ms. T”) at c.tangchittsumran@apsva.us or 703-228-5900.  Twitter users can “tweet” questions to @TJMSBand

 How do I obtain an instrument to play in the band?

  • Participate in a Rent-to-Own program through a local music store – this is often the most cost-effective way to obtain a high quality instrument!
  • Purchase an instrument (please see your music teacher for recommendations!)
  • Rent an instrument from the school (available to students on Free/Reduced Lunch OR to students playing instruments such as oboe, bassoon, tuba, euphonium, and baritone saxophone.)

 How much will I need to practice?

  • Students are expected to practice a minimum of 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week.
  • Practice rooms are available after school for students who cannot practice at home or who would prefer not to carry an instrument back and forth.

Please join us for the Jefferson Spring Band Concert on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 7:00pm in the Jefferson Theatre!