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The Beginning Band is a beginning level group for students who are learning to play a band instrument for the first time. Instruction is focused on developing a solid foundation in note reading, tone production, rhythm, articulation, proper posture/hand position, and instrument care and maintenance. Students also learn basic music theory concepts and ensemble skills, such as balance and blend. Beginning Band members receive a group lesson each week. The students are grouped with others who play the same instrument. As a performance date nears, the beginning band lesson groups join together and rehearse as a full ensemble. The minimum age to participate is 9 years old. No previous music experience is necessary.
The Concert Band is an intermediate level group for students who have had 1-3 years of experience playing a band instrument. Concert Band members receive a sectional rehearsal as well as a full ensemble rehearsal each week. In addition to continued development of basic instrumental music foundations, instruction focuses on the finer details of playing in an ensemble. Students in the Concert Band receive instruction on music theory and learn scales to improve technique and expand range. The sectional rehearsals offer the opportunity for the students to learn and perform chamber music or small ensemble pieces.
The Symphonic Band is an advanced level group comprised of students who have had 4+ years of experience playing a band instrument or have demonstrated a high level of proficiency on their instrument. Symphonic Band members receive a sectional rehearsal in addition to a full ensemble rehearsal each week. Students in the Symphonic Band rehearse and perform high quality music in many styles and genres. In rehearsals, instruction is focused on balance, blend, intonation, dynamics, articulation, phrasing, and accuracy of pitch and rhythm. Students learn all 12 major scales and music theory concepts. The sectional rehearsals offer the opportunity for the students to learn and perform chamber music or small ensemble pieces.
Our Homeschool Band director is Robert W. (Bob) Ellithorpe who, having attained his B.M.Ed. at VCU and M.M. from University of Richmond, has accrued over 30 years of experience in instruction and band direction at elementary, middle and high school levels in Hanover and environs as well as instructing at VCU, Randolf Macon, University of Richmond, Garwood Whaley and his own private studio. He has guest conducted with numerous bands, and his performance repertoire is very long including 18yrs with the Richmond Symphony. He has also been on a number of adjudication teams and has a long list professional affiliations and recognitions including being listed in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and more recently was elected to Phi Beta Mu Virginia Band Director’s Hall of Fame-2013.