Band and Orchestra information for rising sixth graders

Band and Orchestra information for rising sixth graders

Welcome to Walker Grant Performing Arts!

We are looking forward to working with your students during the transition to middle school for your rising 6th grader! One new part of your student’s school day will be the opportunity to choose Band, Choir, or Orchestra as an elective for the entire school year.  This is new to the students, so we wanted to reach out and give you some class descriptions to help with the decision. What an exciting time!

Music is another language; it is going to teach kids to think and learn differently than their common course work. We really encourage families to consider that when they are picking out their electives. These courses require teamwork. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie. It is perfect for the students to begin to find a place of belonging during the middle school years.

Choosing an instrument is an exciting first step to learning music should your child choose Band or Orchestra! To join beginning band or orchestra, students must select an instrument for the school year.  You may obtain an instrument anywhere you wish; however, we recommend some type of rental/purchase plan. We have included a couple of local music stores to help with your search. If your student elects to take choir, they will just need their voice as their instrument!

It is important to understand that there are a set number of students selected to play each instrument depending on the size of the band or orchestra. This will ensure an enjoyable musical experience for everyone. There will be more information about instrument fittings once course registration period has concluded.

Please take the opportunity to sit with your student if they are interested in Band or Orchestra and watch the videos below on the different types of instruments that will be available to them should they enroll in one of these courses.

We look forward to meeting you all soon!

Roberson's Music

WM Mason Violin Rental

First page of the PDF file: WMMasonRentalsheet20201


Watch the following video to learn more about the instruments in band.


Watch the following video to learn more about the instruments in orchestra.

Ms. Fowler, Chorus

Ms. Fowler
What inspired you to become a music teacher?
I have always loved music as a form of expression when words or actions fell short. In addition, I come from a family of musicians with exceptional talent, so this was the only career choice that made COMPLETE sense!
Why is chorus beneficial to students? Why should they be interested in your class?
​Chorus is beneficial to students because it aids many different areas of their lives. First, it is an outlet for them to build collaborative skills, lifelong friendships, and music in general is one of the few subjects/life skills that enhances student's lateralization (use of both hemispheres of the brain)! Students should have interest in music because it is a specialized skill that can be utilized in many different facets (song writing, song production, leisure activities, and professional performances). With that, in my class, we focus on musical literacy and practical skills that give young musicians the ability to perfect their talents and pursue their futures as musicians!
One fun fact about you?
​I used to live in Alaska!

Ms. Gould, Orchestra

Ms. Gould
What inspired you to become a music teacher?
My entire life is a series of events that pointed me towards teaching music, and it would be really time consuming to walk you through all of it (haha). I think there were a few defining moments for me, though. I can remember playing cello in a youth orchestra when I was in 7th or 8th grade and for just a moment detaching myself from the sheet music on the stand and just experiencing the sound. We were playing Pirates of the Caribbean, and I’d never felt so alive. I’ve gotten to enjoy those little almost spiritual moments several times since then, and I just knew when I was approaching the end of my senior year of high school that orchestra was something I never wanted to live without, so I chose a path where I wouldn’t have to. I chose to teach rather than perform because it was my own music teachers that helped me discover my passion, and I wanted to be able to share that with students of my own.
Why is orchestra beneficial to students? Why should they be interested in your class?
Music education is beneficial to students in so many ways. Studies have shown that students who are enrolled in music classes perform better in their academic classes. They also help build many of the same skills as team sports – teamwork, self-efficacy, accountability, work ethic, goal setting, etc. Learning to play an instrument develops fine motor skills, learning to read music has intellectual benefits, and learning to play and collaborate with an ensemble creates well-rounded citizens. It’s also a fantastic outlet for many students, which helps them develop social-emotional skills. Not to mention – it’s fun! We play music, we go on trips, we use all sorts of different games to learn, we perform concerts for families and communities. It’s an opportunity that anyone can enjoy, and your ensemble becomes your second family.
One fun fact about you?
play more instruments than I can count, but I spend most of my time on cello, piano, violin, ukulele, bass guitar, viola, double bass, and acoustic/electric guitar. I’ve got a little home studio where I write and record my own original music. I’m trying to get Spotify to notice me, that’s a work in progress.


Mrs. Ortiz, Band

Mrs. Ortiz
What inspired you to become a music teacher?
Prior to middle school, I was not doing my best in school. I was getting into trouble and not focusing on my grades. My parents decided to move us so that both my sister and I had a better opportunity to do well in school. That happened to be my 6th grade year. I joined the beginner band (playing the flute) and that was what determined the rest of the story. I started band and I never stopped. I also had a female band director during my 8th grade year and that just moved me even more to join the music teaching world.

Why is band beneficial to students? Why should they be interested in your class?
Band (a performing art) is just not vital to the music world in itself, but also provides a foundation for learning other subject areas as well. There have been numerous studies on how being in band improves your ability in not just band, but in core content area as well. Band allows you the opportunity to join a "family." We don't just play instruments, we also compete at different assessments. We have competed at Busch Gardens and Hershey Park. We have won numerous awards for our performances.

One fun fact about you?
I had job prospects in London. I really wanted to pursue a band position there.