Fine Arts: Helping Your Child
Succeed in Music
Welcome to the instrumental program at Burnt Hills-Ballston
Lake Central Schools. Starting an instrument is a great addition
to the educational program of your child. Getting off to a good
start and developing lasting good habits on the instrument are
vital to your son or daughter's success. Please read the
following guidelines that may help you work with your
instrumental student over the course of this beginning period.
- Set a routine for daily practice. A period before
dinner, after homework, or after school will help the
student get into this important routine. Practice time
should be 20 minutes each day, six days a week. (This will
not apply to the first one or two lessons.) Practice time
will increase as the student moves through the program to
high school. 20 minutes is a base minimum. Students who
practice less than this most likely will not experience
- Make sure there is a designated place for your child to
practice that is free from distractions. A music stand in a
bedroom works well.
- Encourage practice, not play through with mistakes.
Students need to learn to practice what they have problems
with, not what they can play at sight.
- Practice requires repetition.
- If there are things that do not come after a few days of
practice, help your child to not get frustrated. There will
be lessons, or segments of lessons that will be repeated for
two to three weeks. Most problems encountered will go away
- It is very important that students come to each lesson
prepared. Students who miss lessons or who have not
practiced will fall behind. One missed lesson or week of
practice can be overcome but two or three will put the
student behind the group. These are group lessons that move
at the pace of the group. This is quite different from a
private lesson where the student moves at his or her own
pace. As students progress through the program, lesson
groups are arranged to put students in groups that move at a
pace that reflects the student's ability.
- Please fill out the weekly progress chart. This helps
parents, students, and teachers keep track of progress and
alerts students to areas that need attention during practice
Protecting the Musical Instrument
- If your child's instrument breaks, do not attempt to fix
it. Many times a home repair will complicate the repair and
end up costing more. If an instrument breaks, bring it to
the instrumental teacher or the Fine Arts office in the high
school and we can evaluate what needs to be done.
- Remind students to put their instrument away after each
use. Instruments left on furniture or on the floor are at
great risk of being broken.
- Try to keep siblings from playing with instruments. Many
broken instruments are a result of experimentation by other
- The brands of instruments we suggest on our handouts at
Instrument Recruitment Night were put there because they
have been shown to be quality instruments that require
little service. Other instruments of lesser quality may be
less expensive, but may require more repairs during their
life. Please consider this if you get to the point where you
plan to rent to own. You do not want to end up owning an
inexpensive instrument that needs constant repair.
Band and Orchestra
Not all beginning students will join their school band this
year. Students who are ready and can play the materials required
for band will enter in February. All students will enter band as
fifth grade students. We feel that entrance to band before the
child is ready can be very discouraging. String students will
enter orchestra for the December concert as they will by ready
to perform on the open strings at this time.
In conclusion, we hope you have a great experience in our
program. Many children will graduate from high school and relate
to us that the music program was the most rewarding part of
their education. We hope that you and your child have a similar
experience. Should you have questions at any time please contact
your child's teacher or the Fine Arts Department chairperson.