Frequently Asked Questions – Middle School

Frequently Asked Questions – Middle School

Download this F.A.Q. as a PDF


How are music classes scheduled at the middle school?

All Grade 7 students are required to enroll in music classes. Offerings are as follows:

  • Band and Chorus,  scheduled during the school day as follows:
    • Band Only – 3 days a week
    • Chorus only – 3 days a week
    • Band/Chorus – 3 days a week rotating between band and chorus

Please Note: Band students also receive one small group lesson each week

on a rotating pull-out basis.

  • Music Technology
    • 7th Graders not enrolled in Band and/or Chorus are required to take Music Technology for one semester.
    • Band and Chorus students may also sign up for a Music Technology experiential.


What is Music Technology?

Music Technology class is an introduction to the digital world of music.  Each student has their own work station with a MIDI keyboard and a computer with recording and notation software.  The students will be able to create their own musical compositions and arrangements to produce their own audio CDs.  The course will explore the electronic keyboard, MIDI and audio recording, music theory, notation, arranging, composition, music production, sound tracks, performance and copyrights.


What are the expectations for students enrolled in band and/or chorus?

In order to achieve the highest level of learning and performance ability, each member of the Canton Music Program is expected to:

  • Attend every rehearsal

–       On time

–       No food (including gum) or drink is allowed in any of the music areas

–       With a clean instrument in good playing order with all keys and slides functioning

–       With all music neatly kept in a music folder

–       With a sharpened pencil and eraser. NO PEN!!

–       Prepared to rehearse and contribute in a positive manner!

  • Attend all performances

–       On time (Musician’s Call)

–       With instrument and music

–       Appropriately dressed (The purpose of appropriate concert dress is to establish the proper concert atmosphere that will reflect your hard work. Dress must not serve as a distraction.)


Are there any other musical opportunities for my child to participate in?

Students can participate in the jazz band and chamber singers at the middle school. They both meet in the evening and are open to all band/chorus students. Interested students are also encouraged to prepare and audition for the Northern Region Music Festival.




What is the concert dress for band and chorus?

  • Gentlemen

–       White Dress Shirt, Long Tie, Dark Dress Pants

–       Dark Socks and Shoes (no sneakers)

  • Ladies

–       White Blouse (no bare midriffs)

–       Long Black Slacks/Pants to the Ankle (no jeans)

–       Dark Shoes (no sneakers)

  • Failure to abide by the Concert Dress policy will impact your opportunity to perform at the Concert and affect your Grade!!!

How many concerts are there?

There are two grade level concerts scheduled each year: in the late fall and in May.


How much should my child practice?

It is our expectation that your child plays their instrument and/or sings at least five days per week in order to have a positive experience in the Canton Music program. If your child is interested in auditioning for Regionals, we would recommend individual, at home practice at least five times per week for at least twenty minutes each day.


What is SmartMusic®?

Our music staff implemented an exciting new program this past year.  The program is called SmartMusic®SmartMusic® is an interactive, web-based practice and assessment program that’s currently being used in thousands of school districts across the country.

SmartMusic® provides your child access to thousands of music titles, all with professional accompaniment that sounds great and helps encourage practice. The software provides immediate feedback that shows your child what they played correctly and where they need to improve.  The assessment scores encourage continued practice, similar to scores in a video game. To learn more, view a short video at Our lesson method book and several of our concert band and choral selections are available through this program. Your child’s participation in this program at school and/or at home will enable him/her access to guided practice of lesson materials and ensemble selections.  Also, the Northern Region Middle School Music Festival is now choosing audition pieces available on SmartMusic®.

We are not asking you to subscribe to or purchase anything.  All we need in order to register your child for of this program at school is an email address. The email address is used as a user name and is necessary for your child to be able to access our SmartMusic® account at school. More information is available through their music teacher.


Should my child take private lessons?

While not required, we encourage private lessons for students preparing for auditions. We have also found that summer lessons can prove to be very beneficial. Please contact us for a list of qualified instructors in the area, some of whom come to the school.




Are there any student fees to be enrolled in the music program?

Student fees are limited to Northern Regional auditions (approx. $10 per) and, if selected, festival fees (approx. $30). Eighth grade band and chorus attend a music adjudication festival which is funded by the students (approx. $75).


What is the Canton Parents for Music organization?

The Canton Parents for Music (CPM) serves as both advocates and financial supporters of our K-12 Music Department. While membership is not required, we urge you to consider helping out. Currently, the CPM helps to fund Artists-in-Residence programs for Voice, Percussion and Flute; our District Piano Accompanist; and also subsidizes music trips at all of the schools. For more information, please see:



Is my instrument all right to use in middle school?

Woodwinds/ Brass:

While the instrument your child has played since fourth grade is certainly still usable, we recommend that certain upgrades in mouthpieces and reeds be made. As your child gets older, they tend to outgrow these. Reed instruments should purchase at least one box of good quality reeds to begin the school year. See your music teacher for recommendations of brand and correct strength.


The following information should serve as guides. Please consult your child’s music teacher before purchasing any equipment.


Recommended Mouthpieces/Reeds

Clarinet – Vandoren B45 dot mouthpiece with Luyben or Rovner inverted ligature, Vandoren reeds. Please ask us to advise you as to which strength reed is best suited to your child.

Saxophone – Meyer 5 or 6 with Rovner inverted ligature, Vandoren reeds. Please ask us to advise you as to which strength reed is best suited to your child.

Trumpet – Bach 5C; Schilke 11

Trombone –6 ½ AL; Schilke 51D; Yamaha 48


Does my Instrument need Periodic Maintenance?

Your instrument may be in need of some maintenance work especially if it has not received any in the past three years.



  • Have your instruments checked for worn pads and slightly bent keys. Pads that do not seat properly over the tone holes lead to slow or no response.
  • Flutes should have their head joint cork checked and replaced if necessary.


  • After three or four years even with regular cleanings, it is a good idea to have your instrument chem-cleaned professionally. This will help to eliminate the build-up of oxidation inherent in brass.
  • The repair technician should also make sure that all of the corks and felts are checked and replaced where necessary. Minor dents should be removed.
  • Have all slides moving freely.
  • Purchase a cleaning kit that includes slide grease and brushes. Clean monthly.


Most of this work can be done in a week or two. Expense varies, but generally is in the $50 – $75 range depending on the general condition of the instrument. In addition, the instrument should never sit for more than a week without being played or having all parts moved. This will lead to frozen slides and keys and repairs at the beginning of the school year.



Percussionists will need a stick bag and begin to add various mallets to their collection of sticks. These will be purchased over the next 3 to 4 years as they continue to working on various instruments. The school supplies percussion instruments and certain mallets, but items listed below are the responsibility of each percussion student, much like having to purchase reeds for a woodwind instrument.



Grade 7

Grade 8


Vic Firth


stick bag  (approx. $20)



notebook (3-ring binder) incl. blank notepaper



(min.) 2 pencils



1 pair med./light drumsticks (approx. $8)



3A, 5A

SD4, 5B

5A, 5B

1 pair mallets – unwound plastic or hard rubber (approx. $20)



M3, M4

M134, M140

PK23, PK25

1 pair med./heavy drumsticks (approx. $8)


2B, Rock

2B, Rock

2B, SD20

1 pair mallets – medium hard yarn or cord (approx. $25)


M406, M407

M2, M9

PK75, PK95

set of 4 mallets matched – medium hard yarn or cord (approx. $50)

M406, M407

M2, M3

PK75, PK95

1 pair of timpani mallets – generals (approx. $25)

T1 Generals

Also recommended:
1 pitch pipe (approx $15)


Drum key






All of the above percussion materials may be purchased from area music stores or through mail order. Please select from the recommended manufacturer’s list.


What School-Owned Instruments are available?

Generally, instruments supplied by the school system fall under three categories: 1) low brass (tuba, baritone, trombone, etc.); 2) low woodwinds (bassoon, bass clarinet); 3) required orchestral instruments (including oboe, French horn).  We are only able to offer lessons on these specific instruments if the student is transferring from another instrument.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *