Frequently Asked Questions
I have never played an instrument before, can I still join Band or stings?
Yes, but it's important for you to know that middle school music moves a bit faster than elementary level performance. If you are looking to be apart of the instrumental program at PCIS and have never played an instrument before, it is required that students participate in private lessons or the PPS Summer Music Program before the start of school year. This will ensure that the basic fundamentals are in place in order for you to see success in our program without feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, students can join our ensembles at any time! If you need more time in private lessons before you are comfortable joining one of our ensembles, you are welcome to join at the halfway point in the school year.
Do you receive a grade in band or strings?
Yes, these classes are full year courses that you will receive a grade in for every term. Grades are not based on ability, but instead are based on effort and growth. Because students perform at various levels, the grading reflects the individuals effort in class and at performances.
How often would do you have ensemble rehearsal as a middle school student?
Classes meets every-other-day for the entire year.
How many student musicians are there in class?
There are currently over 160 students that make up our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ensembles. There can be anywhere from 12- 40+ students in one class.
I've been loaning an instrument through the Elementary Loaner Library. Can I continue to borrow this instrument?
No, unfortunately there are students in the lower grades that need these instruments. PCIS does have a loaner library specifically for middle school musicians at PCIS. if you need an instrument for class, please contact Mr. Shaw or Mr. Palombo for details.
Do you take field trips?
In past years, the instrumental program has traveled to Gillette Stadium, The university of Massachusetts in Amherst, Memorial Hall, and various other performing venues throughout the state and the Northeast. These trips vary from year to year. We are always looking for unique performance opportunities for the students.
DO I HAVE TO BE A STRONG MUSICIAN TO PERFORM AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL LEVEL?
The middle school ensembles are made of up of student musicians at all levels. The directors pride themselves on their ability to challenge his advanced musicians while still building the skills and techniques of his beginner musicians and everyone in between.
DOES IT COST ANY MONEY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE PROGRAM?
No, the only cost students are required to pay are festival audition registrations, field trip transportation, and any instrument accessories needed for class.
HOW MANY CONCERT PERFORMANCES ARE THERE DURING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL?
There can be up to 4 large performances during the school year as well as a few smaller performances. Please see the performance calendar for updated details of events. Ensemble directors work with members of the community often for events and there are times when we may be called upon to perform at various events throughout the year outside of the school day. We will ensure that families of our student musicians have advanced notice of these events.
IS ATTENDANCE AT PERFORMANCES REQUIRED OF ALL STUDENT MUSICIANS?
Yes, all performances are required of student musicians. There is a list of reasons students can be excused from performances outlined in the program handbook. Students who are excused from a performance will be issued a make-up assignment to replace the missed grade.
THE SCHOOL YEAR HAS ALREADY STARTED, WOULD I STILL BE ABLE TO JOIN AN ENSEMBLE?
Yes, you can join the ensemble at any time! especially for beginners, this is a great opportunity for you to pursue lessons outside of school in an effort to prepare for the instrumental program here at PCIS. After a few months of lessons, just simply get in touch with your house guidance counselor and they will adjust your schedule.