To The Parents: Learning to play a musical instrument is a valuable experience for your children. Through it they will enjoy working with other children; they will come to appreciate good music through familiarity with specific compositions; they will receive enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction by being a member of a musical group. They will learn self-motivation, and can take pride in their personal and group accomplishments. Most important, they will develop their God-given talents to use to His glory.

How It Works: The SALSA Band Program is offered to the students of St. John the Baptist Catholic School, St. John Lutheran School, Trinity Lutheran School, St. Paul Lutheran School, Bethlehem Lutheran School, and St. John Lutheran School Sherman Center. Oostburg Christian School joins with the group for concerts.  It is taught by an instructor from and subsidized by the Sheboygan Area Lutheran School Association, or SALSA. Sheboygan Lutheran high School provides rehearsal space and equipment.

Students enrolled in band receive an individual or small group (2-3 students) lesson each week at their own school and participate in band rehearsal once a week at Sheboygan Lutheran High School.

The fee for the band program is $550 for the school year, payable to your own school in installments or in full at the outset of the school year. Method books, materials, rehearsals, extra help and band music are all included.

The instructor for the program is Mr. Geoffrey Schuh of Sheboygan Area Lutheran Schools Association. We play three concerts per year (a Christmas Concert, Spring Concert, and a concert at the SALSA Music Festival).  We also do a Sheboygan County nursing facility tour in May. To contact Mr. Schuh, please call (920) 400-6629 or e-mail him at

Practice Records: A practice record is given to each student at the beginning of the year on which a record of time spent practicing is kept. Parents are asked to be sure their child is filling out the record and to initial the record each week. Please be sure to be accurate, as grades are determined by practice, as well as class participation!

Lesson Schedule: Lessons are based on a pullout system where the band student leaves class to attend a 20-minute lesson each week. Students are never pulled from classes in which there is a test or quiz, or one in which they struggle. In most schools, the schedule rotates so that the band student never misses the same part of the same class consistently.

Grade System: In keeping with the importance of practice, grades for each student are determined by practice records (80%) and class participation (20%). Each student is expected to practice a minimum of sixty minutes per week. Any practice time over sixty minutes is considered extra credit. Time practiced per week is graded as follows: 60 minutes = A, 50 minutes = B, 40 minutes = C, 30 minutes = D, 20 or less minutes = D-, 0 minutes = F (Special exceptions will of course be made in the case of severe student illness, death in family, or any event deemed appropriate by the school principal.)

Common Questions About Band:

Where can I get an instrument for my child? The best place to get an instrument is to use one that you used as a child, or one from a relative, since it is already paid for and you know the history of that instrument. A well-built a maintained instrument should last at least 30-40 years. Next I would check the classified ads and garage sales, but beware: have the instrument checked out by a qualified repair technician or at least your child's teacher before you pay any money for the instrument. As for the internet, be sure that the instrument comes with a return guarantee (watch the shipping costs), and stay away from off-brand or big-box store instruments; they are built cheaply and just don't hold up well. Another source is to buy or rent an instrument from a reputable dealer, such as Dreams Unlimited in Plymouth. They offer good rent-to-own programs that make it affordable to acquire new and newer used instruments. Some good brand names to look for are: Flutes - Gemeinhardt, Yamaha or Armstrong; Clarinets - Yamaha, LeBlanc, older Selmer; Trumpets & Cornets - Getzen, Yamaha, Selmer, older King and Conn; Trombones - Yamaha, Getzen, Selmer

Does band operate for the entire school year? Yes. Our last concert is usually mid-May, but lessons run until the end of the school year.

What will band do for my child? By learning to play an instrument, your child will learn: to develop talents for service in life, home, school, church and community. They will enjoy working in cooperation with other children and adults. Get to know music by familiarity with specific, quality compositions. Experience the satisfaction of playing well with others, develop coordination and learn to work towards a goal.

Is Band worth the cost? Definitely. From a purely cost-efficient perspective, we are able to teach your child for about $10 per lesson, which includes books, materials, weekly rehearsals, extra help if needed, solo and ensemble participation, minor repairs, and school credit. Lessons are taught at your child's school by a certified, knowledgeable instructor. In comparison, most music stores charge about $12.50-$15.00 per lesson and do not include any of the above-mentioned benefits. Most importantly, band is an effective means by which we can teach our children to be more faithful to our God and Savior and develop skills to serve Him and make this life He has given us better.

What if my child misses a lesson? Band lessons can be made-up, or taught at a different date and time at the discretion of the instructor. Lessons are not missed due to forgotten instruments as the instructor has an alternate lesson plan if such a case should occur.

Common Misconceptions About Band:

If I play in the band, I won't be able to play in sports. Nope. Playing in the band will not impact your schedule or ability to play in sports. Lessons are held during the school day, and Thursday nights are set aside by he SALSA principals for rehearsals. Conflicts are few and far between. As a matter of act, the self-discipline learned in band is a valuable tool for success on the field and court.

Band is only for the rich kids who can afford it. No. If this were true, your very director would not have been able to play in band as a child. Instruments can be rented from the program for $20.00 per year, and financial help is available for the fee.

You have to be super smart to be in the band. Untrue! A good teacher can teach any willing student to play. While some students will progress faster than others, all band members are valuable, even the least experienced. There is no "bench" in band,; everyone plays, period.

Cool kids don't play in the band. Wrong! What is a truly "cool" kid? Someone who uses their God-given talents to God's glory, whatever they may be, no matter what others may say.

I have no talent. So what? Music is learned, not born into you. The only thing that will keep you from success is not trying to learn. Anybody who tries will do well.

Tips on Practice for Parents: On many occasions parents have come to me and asked what they can physically do to help their children succeed. Here are some time-tested tips that will not only work for practicing an instrument, but can help with accomplishing any goal, from long-term projects to daily homework.

  1. Practice at the same time every day. It does not matter when (before school after dinner, 7:00 pm) as long as it is close to the same time every day. Students will learn better and be more committed if you let them help choose the time.
  2. Have an adequate place for practice. Children should have everything they need to practice in one place: a music stand, a straight-backed chair or stool, and instrument. It should be well lit and private enough for them to concentrate, but close enough that you can hear what they are doing.
  3. Keep distractions to a minimum. It is good for younger brothers and sisters to hear and see their siblings play, but let the older child be free from the distractions. Do not let your child practice anywhere he or she can hear a radio or television.
  4. Be firm. Make them Practice! This can be the most difficult, but is the most important tip I can give you. If you are firm now with practicing, both you and your child will reap huge benefits later.
  5. Reward success. There is no harm in rewarding your child for a job well done. Small tangible rewards used properly will lead to your child realizing the intangible rewards later.
  6. Be Interested, and Supportive. Children love attention from their parents. Ask about what your child is learning, who plays the same instrument, etc. If you show them their activity is worthwhile to you, their chance of success doubles.

Curriculum: Music is a vital part of an individual's comprehensive education and human development. The musical experience (both performance and listening) provides a student with several opportunities of expression and abstract though development that are not found elsewhere in the school curriculum. A music education that provides several opportunities for a musical experience has three attributes.

First and foremost, a musical education provides an avenue into the realm of human existence: "the subjective part of human reality-the way life feels as it is lived-cannot be clarified or refined in our experience through the use of ordinary language..."The arts are the means by which humans can actively explore the unbounded richness of human subjective possibilities" (Reimer, 1989, pp.50-51). This cannot be identified in other subjects as the primary goal. This is, however, the goal of music education. The development of subjective reasoning is a fundamental aspect of music education.

Second, music education also helps unify the entire curriculum because several of its aspects permeate other education disciplines. Through music, one is exposed to elements of history, language, math, physical education and science. This aids in the formation of the comprehensive education of an individual.

Finally, several non-musical, yet relevant factors of a comprehensive education can be developed through the musical experience. Individuals mature in areas of: motivation, self discipline, creativity, respect for authority and the ability to exist in a community and work with others.

Eight Points of Instrumental Music, as taught by H.E. Nutt

The following points are the essential developmental areas of a solid instrumental music education. As an individual progresses through his or her education,ea ch of these aspects will be brought to mind and eventually will become automatic as he or she plays.

  1. Tone Production and Intonation: The student shall practice proper embouchure formation, instrument holding position, hand position, air stream shape, speed, and direction to ensure good tone quality, which is also in tune.
  2. Start-Sustain-Release: The student shall learn and practice proper tongue placement, air speed and sustaining value through the instrument with proper note values, and ceasing of sound.
  3. Hold Still: Excess movement interferes with correct embouchure formation, tone production, tone quality and intonation. The student shall avoid bouncing to the beat or wiggling his or her body while playing.
  4. Count Time with a Feeling of Good Rhythm: Rhythm is the steady pulse of beat (for example, ocean waves, tick of a clock or a heartbeat). Time refers to note values and note placement within the steady pulse.
  5. Routine of Musical Expression: The student shall learn to recognize and respond automatically to dynamic markings, articulations, accents, etc. on the page.
  6. Register: Only after the above points are somewhat routine can the student progress into the extreme registers of the instrument. The student shall be able to progress to the high and low register only if points 1, 2, & 3 are learned well.
  7. Technique: The student shall develop a fast, even technique. Going too fast too soon will cause problems in tone production intonation, and routine of musical expression.
  8. Interpretation: The student shall now be ready for more in-depth study of style, rubato and the more subtle aspects of musicality.

Benchmarks for Student Ability Levels

The following list comprises the set of skills that each student is expected to achieve over the course of each academic year. Variation will occur with each individual. The student shall be able to demonstrate the following skills through performance in the large group, small ensemble or as an individual:

Year One:

  • Steady, clear tone
  • Rhythmic Knowledge of whole, half, quarter and 8th notes and rests in various combinations
  • Expressive elements of piano, forte, crescendo and decrescendo
  • Theory Knowledge of intervals of a fifth, unison and octave: 4/4 and 3/4 meters, repeats, long rests

Year Two:

  • Steady, clear tone, growing in power and focus
  • Rhythmic Knowledge of the above plus dotted rhythms, 16th notes and rests in various combinations
  • Express elements of the above plus p, pp, f, ff, mf, mp
  • Theory Knowledge of the above plus scales, beginning harmony, identification of melody, play in keys up to three flats or sharps

Year Three:

  • Clear steady tone growing as above plus extending in range
  • Rhythmic Knowledge of the above plus deeper study into speed and intricate note combinations, 6/8 time
  • Expressive elements of the above plus rubato, staccato, legato, sfz, sfzp, all expressive marks
  • Theory Knowledge of transposition of the instrument, function within the band, memorized scales, alternate fingering and positions; play in keys up to four flats or sharps

Year Four:

  • Maturing tone, free of defects and consistent throughout the range of the student
  • Rhythmic knowledge of all standard meters, sight-read at appropriate level
  • Ability to play a WSMA solo at no less than class "C" level
  • Theory Knowledge of Circle of fifths, key signatures, play in keys up to five flats or sharps

Texts: (Variation allowed according to individual needs)

Year One: Yamaha Advantage for Band Book 1 by Sandy Feldstein and Larry Clark

Year Two: Yamaha Advantage for Band, Book 2 by Sandy Feldstein and Larry Clark

Year Three: Rubank Elementary Method for Band

Year Four: Rubank Intermediate Method for Band

Plus and arrangements and small ensembles for festivals, worship services, and concerts.