Welcome rising sixth grade students!!!

We had some great visits with the fifth-grade classes at Midway ES, Friedberg ES, and
Wallburg ES back before Spring Break and are excited that the future Grizzlies get to visit and
tour the middle school this year. We have enjoyed speaking with the students about the band
program here at Oak Grove and hope that you/your child will consider participation in one of
our school’s most outstanding and accomplished organizations.

It is important to understand that beginning band is only offered during sixth
grade. Students are encouraged to participate in band in sixth grade because sixth grade is the
only time that they can ‘give it a try’ to see if learning to play a musical instrument is a good fit
for them. No prior knowledge or ability is required and parents/families don’t have to already
own an instrument to be able to participate in the beginning band.

Students and parents should also know that band is a class that meets during the school
day. As a result, it does not conflict with other activities like sports or other associations that
students may be participating in afterschool. The only required events that we have that take
place outside of the school day are our concerts (2); a winter concert in mid December and a
spring concert in mid May.

In order to complete the band registration process we must determine what instrument
will be best suited for each student to play. To facilitate the selection process there will be
three instrument “petting zoo” meeting events held in the cafeteria at Oak Grove Middle
School. The dates of these instrument petting zoo meetings are May 3rd, 5th, and
10th. Participation in ONE of the petting zoo meetings is the single most important event of
the beginning band registration process.

Interaction with one of the band directors at the “petting zoo” meeting will last about
10 minutes. Students will be given the opportunity to “test drive” each instrument that is
available to beginning band students by making some sounds on the mouthpieces and then the
fully assembled instrument. This process will provide the opportunity to pair students up with
the instrument that is best suited for their mouth musculature. The instrument petting zoo
meeting helps to ensure that beginners are paired up with an instrument that is going to allow
them to be successful right from the start. Attending an instrument petting zoo meeting is
required for a student to be registered for participation in the 6th grade beginning band.

Parents should sign up for an instrument “petting zoo” meeting date and time that
works well for their family. This sign-up must be completed on-line by visiting the following


Once on the Sign Up Genius website you will be prompted to select an available time
slot by clicking on the sign up checkbox beside the date and time slot that you prefer. Once the
check mark appears you are ready to click on “Submit and Sign Up”. This will take you to a
screen where you should enter your child’s name in the “my comments” area. Located below
this you will need to enter your first and last name and an email address. This will allow the
Sign Up Genius website to send you a reminder email two days prior to your instrument
“petting zoo” meeting.

For the first semester of the sixth-grade year, instruction in the beginning band will be
limited to the following instruments: Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, or Trombone.

Auditions for Percussion will take place after the winter break. Percussion students will
be responsible for playing many different instruments including: mallet/keyboard instruments,
snare drum, bass drum, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, timpani, etc. Students that are
serious about their interest in becoming a percussionist are encouraged to begin keyboard
percussion lessons, or piano study with a qualified percussion instructor/piano teacher. This will
help them be more prepared for the percussion auditions.

It is recommended that students that are interested in playing Saxophone begin on the
clarinet. Tryouts for saxophone will take place at the beginning of the second semester. There
will also be tryouts for other instruments at the beginning of the second semester
including Oboe, Bassoon, Bass Clarinet, French Horn, Baritone/Euphonium, and Tuba.

Please contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Matt Liner, Oak Grove Bands
Mike Howell, Oak Grove Bands

Step by Step Instruction for Signing Up for a “Petting Zoo” Meeting Date & Time

  1. Visit the following
  2. Find a date and time that works well for your family and click the checkbox
    beside the words “Sign Up” for that date and time.
  3. Click on “Submit and Sign Up” at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Enter your child’s name (first and last) in the “my comments” box.
  5. Enter your first and last name as well as your email address.
  6. Choose if you would like to create an account so that you could go in and make
    changes to your sign-up date and time. You also have the option of requesting a
    reminder email two days prior to the date that you selected.
  7. Click “Sign Up Now!”
    You may also visit www.oakgrovebands.com and click on the sign-up link!