Band FAQ

Phone: 630-795-6720


Degrees and Certifications:

BM: Orchestral Instrument Performance (Bass Trombone) MA: Education

Mr. Bradley Payne

Elementary Band Director




  • Who can participate in elementary band?

    Posted by:

    Band is a voluntary activity that is available to all 6th graders in the district. Everyone will be a beginner this year. No prior experience is required. No special skills are required. No auditions will be necessary. Anyone who wants to learn an instrument will be welcome!

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  • How do we choose an instrument?

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    Students will choose which instrument to play: flute, clarinet, trumpet/cornet, trombone, or combined percussion (bells & drums).

    The BEST way to decide would be to pick the instrument that your child wants to play, based on their interest in the instrument as well as their natural aptitude. Kids do well if they practice, so it makes sense to choose an instrument that will be fun to play.

    We will give kids a "Mouthpiece Try-Out Kit" to help them discover what natural abilities or challenges they might have. For instance, if the flute seems to be easy to make sound on, that would be a good choice. If one of the brass mouthpieces is better than the other, that can help kids decide.

    Local area stores can help with instrument try-outs as well. Please call ahead to see if they can host a "fitting session" for a beginning band student.

    When a decision has been made, you will start a "rent to own" plan. This is better than purchasing an instrument right away. If you plan on using an older instrument that is already in the family, please have it checked by a reputable service technician to be sure that it is in good playing condition.

    Everyone will also need to purchase the book: Essential Elements Interactive, Book One. There is a specific book for each instrument. Some instruments require other accessories, such as valve oil, reeds, or cleaning kits. Every child will need a wire music stand for practicing at home.

    At that point, you'll be up and ready to go!

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  • Why should we rent instead of purchasing?

    Posted by:

    Families are encouraged to start a "rent-to-own" plan for the instrument, rather than purchasing one. This allows you to get a high-quality instrument at a low cost. High-quality instruments give kids the best chance to experience success and they can last for years and years. Cheaply built instruments look good, but they are often very difficult to play and they don't last very long. They are considered "disposable" and repair shops won't touch them because they fall apart.

    Please avoid purchasing the very low-cost instruments found online or at big box stores. These instruments are cheap for a reason! They are built with cheap materials, they are built to cheap standards, but they are not built to last. They are built to look good, but they usually sound horrible. They are appealing because they are cheap, but they will need to be replaced well before a reputable instrument. In effect, you'll pay less, but you'll pay often!

    Every child will need the method book and various supplies. These must be purchased, but they are only about $10 to $20 for most instruments (percussion is always more expensive). Some school-owned instruments are available to families with demonstrated need. School instruments are not shiny and new, like the ones that you rent from a store, but they function and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. School instruments are free of charge, but families are responsible for repairs or replacement costs due to negligence or abuse. Please reach out to one of the band directors if you cannot afford to rent a high-quality instrument for your child. Please do not reach out for a school instrument if you "just want to see if my child is going to stick with it". Our limited supply of instruments is intended to serve families who are truly in need of support - not just as a convenience.

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  • When are lessons and rehearsals held?

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    Small group lessons are held once a week during the school day, on a rotating schedule in most schools. Kids will be pulled from their other classes to meet with the band teacher to learn how to read music, how to produce a good sound, how to change notes, and more.

    Full band rehearsals are held once per week from 7am to 8am. These will be held in the band room at Jefferson JHS (7200 Janes Avenue, Woodridge).  Parents or other family members will drop kids off at door #10 (south side of the school) and school buses will pick the kids up at 8AM to take them to their elementary schools.

    This schedule is subject to change! Please check for the latest information from the band directors.

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  • What is expected of kids in band?

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    In general terms, we expect kids to attend lessons and rehearsals and performances. 

    We expect kids to practice at home. Short practice sessions, held every single day, add up to success! Students need regular practice to develop the skills and build the techniques required to do well. Online activities are available for free and these help a lot!

    We know it's not possible for every single kid to attend every single activity, but we encourage 100% attendance. Kids who participate fully will learn and thrive.

    Attendance at concerts, festivals and competitions is considered required, but attendance at dinners or other activities is considered voluntary.

    Please see the Elementary Band Calendar for dates and times and details.

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  • What is the required attire for concerts, festivals, and competitions?

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    Click HERE for a printable description of the band uniform

    Band kids wear BLACK below the waist (pants, skirts, socks/shoes) and WHITE above the waist (shirts with collars, blouses, tops).

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  • What is WOMP?

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    The Woodridge Organization of Music Parents (WOMP) was formed in 1999 with the goal of raising funds to provide experiences to band students that are above and beyond the norm. Through annual cheesecake sales, pre-concert dinners and other activities, WOMP raises money and awareness to support the band kids.

    Proceeds from fundraising activities help pay for large instruments, sheet music, music books, solo and ensemble music, festival and contest entrance fees, band uniforms (bow ties and vests), travel expenses to special events, clinician visits, master class expenses, and more.

    WOMP meets once per month, usually on a Tuesday evening. Please see the band directors for up-to-date information and details.

    Everyone is welcome to lend a hand, suggest an idea, attend a meeting, or sponsor an activity. It's a great way to support your child in band!

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  • How does my child sign up for band?

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    Please use the 2021-2022 Band Enrollment Form to sign up for band.

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