Dear 5th Grade Families,


We are excited that you are interested in choosing band as one of your child's electives for 6th grade! Signing up is easy!  All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your schedule card with BAND as your #1 or #2 elective choice.

  2. We'll send you an email by March 1, 2021* with information on selecting an instrument.  Everything will be done online!

  3. Follow the instructions in the email!  That's it!

    * If you are not available on this day, click here to email Mr. Chilton for another date.

Joining Band

When do band classes meet?

Beginning Band meets as a regular class for 45-85 minutes at different times throughout the school day. Students are grouped into classes according to what instrument they play.  The teacher-pupil ratio is kept low to facilitate individual supervision of students' progress. Skills developed during Beginning Band are to prepare students for the 7th and 8th grade bands.

Is musical experience necessary?

The short answer: No. The long answer: The method books used in beginner band are designed for the learning of all students, regardless of previous musical training. We teach the fundamentals of reading music as well as the fundamentals of playing an instrument.

Can my child do band and athletics?

Yes! If it fits on your schedule, we can make it work. There are many middle school students who are in band, athletics, and other classes such as choir, theater, art, Spanish, etc. In 7th and 8th grade, the school administration, coaches, classroom teachers, and band directors work together to avoid conflicts in scheduling. We have current Killian Band members who are also in football, volleyball, basketball, cross country, track, and many other extra-curricular clubs and organizations.

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"Band is a huge extended family. When you join, you'll find people who care about you and want to see you grow, musically and as a person."

 - Cloey, 8th grade Flute

Instrument Selection Guide


The flute is the highest pitched instrument in the beginning band. The flute is made of silver and is played by blowing across an opening in one end while the fingers press keys to change notes. With it's clear, penetrating sound, the flute often plays the melody in the band.  

  • 10% of the beginner band will be selected for flute.

  • Flute player personality traits:  "contentious", "detailed" and "consistent"

  • Flute player physical characteristics:  agile fingers, natural "frown" shape to the upper lip, even upper and lower jaw.

"Beauty and the Beast" for Flute Ensemble


The oboe is similar in appearance to a clarinet, but it is played using a double reed instead of a single reed to produce its brilliant and distinct sound.  Soloistic and melodious, the oboe is a special part of the band.  The oboe is a special instrument, and only a select few students will be chosen for oboe.

"Electric Winter" with Oboe Dubstep

  • 2% of the beginner band will be

  • selected for oboe.

  • Oboe player personality traits:  "studious", "dependable" and "diligent"

  • Oboe player physical characteristics:  even upper and lower jaws - no over or underbites, agile fingers, solid coordination.


The bassoon, like the oboe, is a double reed instrument.  It is the lowest sounding member of the woodwind family with it's dignified and majestic sound.  The bassoon is one of the most specialized instruments in the band, and like the oboe, only a few select students will be chosen for the bassoon. Universities and colleges seek out bassoonists who often recieve substantial scholarships. 

"Mirrors" performed by The Breaking Winds

  • 2% of the Beginner Band will be selected for the bassoon.  

  • Bassoon player personality traits: "serious", "aspirational"

  • Bassoon player physical characteristics:  slight overbite, agile thumbs, medium or greater handspan, coordination.

"Rhapsody in Blue" Clarinet Solo


The clarinet is a popular choice for Beginning Band. The sound is a large, beautiful woody texture with an extensive range. The mouthpiece and single-reed produce the sound, unlike the double reed instruments above.

  • 10% of the Beginning Band will be selected for the clarinet.

  • Clarinet personality traits:"focused" and "detailed"

  • Clarinet player physical traits: the ability to flatten chin; non-rounded bottom teeth





The saxophone is a woodwind instrument even thought it is made of brass.  Most people know the saxophone as they have heard it in jazz or rock music.  This instrument is versatile and is also used in the concert band.  Some saxophone players will also have the opportunity to play tenor or baritone saxophones after the beginning year.

Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" for Sax Duo

  • 5% of the beginning band will be selected to play the saxophone.

  • Saxophone player personality traits: "mellow", "driven"

  • Saxophone player physical traits: ability to sit straight and tall, agile hands


The trumpet is the highest instrument of the brass family.  It is recognized by its bright and clear sound.  The trumpet is frequently used to play melody.  Like some of the other instruments in the band, the trumpet is also used in jazz and pop music.  Similar to most brass instruments, the trumpet has three valves and is played by vibrating one's lips on a mouthpiece.  

Hummel's "3rd Trumpet Concerto" 

  • 12% of the Beginning Band will be selected to play the trumpet.

  • Trumpet player personality traits:"confident", "strong" and "enthusiastic"

  • Trumpet player physical traits: thin and even lips, slight over bite okay



French Horn

The French horn is the also a member of the brass family. Its sound is produced by buzzing into a small mouthpiece similar to a trumpet. Students with good musical ears, such as choir students, tend to be the most successful on this instrument. Recognized by its distinct coil shape, the french horn is one of the most commonly heard instruments in movie soundtracks, as it has the widest range of any brass instrument.  

"Jurassic Park" by the Vienna Horns

  • 8% of the Beginning Band will be selected to play the French Horn.

  • French horn personality traits: "methodical" and "academic"

  • French horn physical traits:thin and even lips, slight overbite okay, must have ability to match pitch, singing experience helpful

"Bohemian Rhapsody" for Trombone Quartet


The trombone, easily recognized by its long slide, is one of the most powerful instruments in the band.  The slide is not marked with positions so having a good ear is a must. Playing primarily in the lower range of the band, the trombone is used both as a melodic and a supporting instrument.  Trombones are used in virtually every type of music, including jazz, blues, rock, and symphony orchestra.

  • 12% of the Beginning Band will be selected to play the trombone.

  • Trombone player personality traits: "analytical" and "coordinated"

  • Trombone player physical traits: medium to long arms, medium to full lips, great ear - singing experience is helpful


The euphonium (you-PHONE-knee-yum), sometimes known as the baritone, is a member of the brass family and looks like a small version of a tuba. Its sound is similar to that of a trombone, but it uses valves like a trumpet instead of a slide. Though originally designed as a harmony instrument, the euphonium has grown to become one of the most popular band instruments for solo playing in the most recent years due to its rich sound.

  • 10% of the beginning band will be selected to play the euphonium.

  • Euphonium player personality traits: "artistic" and "unique"

  • Euphonium player physical traits: medium to full lips work best, right hand agility and ability to sit up very straight

Frozen's "Let it Go" for Euphonium


The tuba is the most important instrument in the band.  It is the largest and lowest of the wind instruments, and it produces the fundamental sound upon which all others are built.  Despite its relatively large size, even the smallest students can easily handle the tuba with proper instruction.  Good tuba players are generally intelligent and assertive, with a passion for their instrument.  Tuba players do not have to carry their instruments home every night.  Instead, they will be an issued an instrument to take home and leave home for practice and they will play on another tuba at school that remains on campus. 

"Czardas" for Tuba

  • 6% of the Beginning Band will be selected to play the tuba.

  • Tuba player personality traits: "unique" "reliable" "consistent"

  • Tuba player  physical traits: ability to sit up straight, medium to full lips

The Marimba Heritage

The percussion section is one of the most misunderstood sections of the band.  Often referred to as the “drums”, this name is actually a very incomplete description of what is involved in playing percussion.  Percussionists learn to play a number of instruments, including mallet instruments like bells and xylophone, battery percussion like the snare and bass drums, and accessory percussion instruments like the tambourine and triangle.  Enrollment for this course is limited, and students wishing to play percussion will need to attend an additional evaluation before students will be selected for this instrument.


  • Only 10-12 students will be selected for the percussion section.

  • Percussionist personality traits: "coordinated"

  • Percussionist physical traits: high gross motor and fine motor skills, coordination, multi-tasker mentality



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