Answers to frequently asked questions concerning 
    the Brink Band program.

    Who can be in band at Brink?

    Any entering 7th grader wishing to learn a musical instrument is welcome to join the beginning band program at Brink. No prior musical experience is necessary. In the Spring, the band director will visit the elementary schools that feed into Brink and explain the band program to all 6th graders. Those interested will be given an opportunity to test out the different instruments and talk with the teachers about the instrument best suited for them. Band is a regular class that meets daily and joining band is as simple as indicating your preference on the enrollment form for Brink.


    How do I aquire an instrument for band?

    The following instruments must be acquired by the student for band: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Trumpet or Cornet, Trombone, and Percussion Kit.

    These local music stores offer a rental-purchase plan and a selection of quality new and used instruments. They are full-service stores which also provide music books, accessories, and quality instrument repair.

    Gilliam Music Company
    2280 W. Main St., Norman 321-0080

    Larsen Music Company
    4001 NW 63rd St, OKC  843-1573

    Norman Music Center
    317 W. Gray, Norman  321-8300 
    Palen Music
    7701 N. Broadway Ext, OKC, 896-8111 
    If you get an older instrument from a friend, family member, newspaper ad, or pawn shop, be sure to have the instrument checked at a music store and have them make any needed repairs.

    The following instruments are school-owned and can be used by the student with permission from the director: Bassoon, French Horn, Baritone, and Tuba.


     Is percussion more than just drums?

    To be a percussionist at Brink means that you are capable of playing a wide range of instruments. They include drums(snare, bass, timpani, etc.), mallets(xylophone, marimba, bells, etc.), cymbals, triangle, and a host of other instruments. As a beginner, you are required to learn both the drum pad and the bells. To continue in the program, you must achieve a level of mastery on both instruments. Contrary to popular belief, we do not teach drum set, although some older students have the opportunity to perform on the instrument. Percussionists at Brink are well-rounded musicians who can handle any percussion part handed to them whether it be a snare drum, chimes, or castanet.

    See Mr. Smith's website for more information.


     Is it OK to buy instruments from Ebay?

    One quick bit of advice. Let the buyer beware. While there are safeguards on Ebay to protect the consumer, the selection of musical instruments is so large and varied it's often difficult to know your best choice. If you have done your homework and know exactly what you are looking for you may be able to purchase a high-quality instrument at a good price. Keep in mind that the condition of the instrument is very important and you might have to get repair work done before it plays properly. All that said, if you know what your looking for and are comfortable with the internet auction process, Ebay and other similar web sites provide another option for parents.


    Is it OK to buy a different color instrument?

    Incoming 7th graders can get excited about different color instruments (red trumpets, pink trombones, blue clarinets, etc.) but often the color is that instrument's greatest selling point -- not the quality.  When these students get into the high school band they will definitely want the same color instrument as the older kids.

    Do the music stores deliver to Brink?
    Representative from Gilliam Music and Palen Music can deliver reeds, music books, valve oil, etc.  Call the stores (phone numbers listed above) to place an order.

    How often should band students practice their instruments?

    The average beginning band student should practice between 20 and 30 minutes a day 4 to 5 days a week. The student who desires to excel will, of course, practice longer. Towards the end of their first year, the average beginner should increase each practice session to 45 minutes. 8th graders who are working towards mastering their instruments should practice an hour each day. It is not necessary to practice in one long session. It is often easier and sometimes more beneficial to split your daily practice into 2 or 3 shorter sessions.

    Beginners are required to turn in practice reports. See the band handbook for the grade policy.  Blank reports can be downloaded here: Practice Reports


     Are private lessons required in the Brink Band?

    No. However, private lessons with a quality instructor is the best way to achieve a high level of mastery on your instrument. Most of the top-rated bands throughout the country utilize private teachers in their programs. This allows the bands to perform more advanced music. It also enhances personal satisfaction and diminishes frustration in the student-performer. While private lessons are encouraged for enhanced musical growth, they do not guarantee higher placement in bands.  Ask Mr. Ortega for contacts of private instructors on your instrument.


     Can you be in both band and athletics?

    Yes. Many of our band members are active in a variety of sports at Brink. We also have students who are involved with journalism, drama, choir, cheerleading, science club, academic club, spirit club, and other school activities.


     Is it OK to start in band as an 8th grader?

    Yes. Remember, however, you will be in a class that is almost entirely 7th graders.  Also, you will have to be prepared by the end of only one year to become part of a competitve high school band.


    Will braces affect playing an instrument?

    Braces affect two instruments more than any other: flute and trumpet. For flute players, it's a matter of repositioning the headjoint to the lips so the airstream strikes the embouchure hole at the correct point. For trumpet players, the problem is mostly discomfort. It will also adversely affect the tone for a while. However, most children today will wear braces at one point, so it's really a matter of getting used to them.


     Is it OK to buy the cheapest instrument I can find?

    See the following page for a guide on buying quality band instruments: Instrument Buying Guide