• Hopkinton Public Schools

    Department of Music

    Hopkinton, Massachusetts  01748


    Elementary Beginning Instrumental Program


    September 2014


    Dear Parent,


    The instrumental music program at the Hopkins School is beginning a new season and I hope your child will take advantage of this program.  Expert instruction on woodwind, brass, percussion, and string instruments will be offered to all students entering the fifth grade.  Playing an instrument is an activity that your child may enjoy throughout his or her school years.  If you are interested in the program, please read the following information regarding the school instrumental program and then go to the link below and complete the electronic registration form by Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

    All students in our program at the elementary level will receive instruction on the instrument of their choice.

    Group lessons for students are given once a week for a half-hour during the school day.  Lessons are given without any charge.  In addition, beginning students studying wind and percussion instruments will come together for an additional period of band each week.  Students who elect a string instruments will also have an additional weekly string orchestra experience.

    Once students reach the secondary level, there are no group lessons and students should take private lessons.  

    Students and parents are often excited about the prospect of playing an instrument.  There is the initial excitement that goes along with any new endeavor and students will often want to try to play their instrument all of the time.  As the novelty wears off, many students will not take their instruments out of the case.  This leads to poor performance in the lesson and little or no progress on the instrument.  

    As a parent, it is important that you support your child and encourage him or her at all times.  Practice routines must be established for your children. Practicing is like homework and you should establish a set practice schedule for your child every day.  Unlike team activities where practice is done in groups, learning to play an instrument requires hours of individual practice time.  Success happens when a child has a regular monitored practice regiment.  We suggest that initially, students practice 10 to 15 minutes a day for a minimum of six days per week.  After the first month, practice times should be up to 20 to 30 minutes per day for a minimum of five days per week.

    This year we will also be using the computer program Smartmusic in our beginning program. Smartmusic will allow your child to record his/her practice into your home computer and get feedback as to correct rhythms and pitches and perform with great accompaniments.  The program will also allow the teachers to listen and evaluate your child’s progress. Smartmusic is required for every beginner.  You may register for Smartmusic at WWW.Smartmusic.com .  There is a $40.00 subscription fee for Smartmusic.

    If you as a parent feel that you are not willing to make a commitment to your child’s success on the instrument, then you should consider not having your child study an instrument at this time.  If however, you feel that you can help your child achieve great musical success then please take advantage of this wonderful program.

    The students must supply their own instruments.  There are many music stores in the area from which instruments may be obtained.  For your convenience, representatives of David French Music of Westborough will be present at the Hopkins School on Thursday, September 11, 2014 from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM. At this time, you may make arrangements for the purchase or the rental of an instrument if you do not have one.  I highly recommend the rental purchase plan.

    This year, for students who would like to play trombone, we are offering the opportunity for you to purchase a PBone rather than elect the rent to own plan for traditional brass instrument.  The PBone is a real trombone that is made of plastic and sells for $160.00. Upon entering middle school, students playing the PBone must rent or purchase a traditional brass instrument.

    You may rent or purchase an instrument through any dealer you choose.  We have selected David French Music because they provide superior musical instruments and service. Our main concern is for interested students to obtain a good instrument in playable condition by the date of the first lesson.  Instrument rental information, through David French Music is attached to this letter.

    If you are considering buying an instrument via the Internet or at one of the “Big Box” stores, please be aware that there may not be any local service provided for the instrument or the instruments may not be up to the standards that we would like.  Please call one of the music teachers for their input before you purchase.

    If you have an instrument that has not been played in a number of years and intend to have your child use it, please bring the instrument to one of the music teachers for evaluation.  Our main concern is that the instrument is in good playable condition.

    The instrumental music staff will be present at the instrumental rental meeting to answer any questions regarding the music program.  I suggest that your child attend so that a good choice of instruments may be made in regards to size and potential physical problems.

    If you cannot attend this meeting and intend to rent an instrument, you may go directly to David French Music, 53B Otis Street, Westborough, at any time.  If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to contact Mr. Craig Hay, Mrs Caitlin MacDonald, or Mrs. Katherine O’Toole at the Hopkins School at 508 497-9824 or at the Middle School at 508 497-9830 or me at the High School at 508 497-9820 X 1154.



    Craig Hay

    Director of Music

    Students can study the following Instruments:


    Strings:                    Violin                Viola                 Cello                                               

    Woodwinds:            Flute                 Clarinet            Saxophone           

    Brass:                      Trumpet            French Horn     PBone           

    Percussion:             Mallets/Bells/Drum Pad