Reply To: 4th Grade Band

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When I began my position we started students in the fourth grade, but over time I realized that many fourth graders do not possess the attention span needed to properly learn and instrument and also, that many students are not physically ready to start some of the instruments. We were experiencing a 15 – 20% attrition rate due to these factors. We made the move to just starting fifth graders six years ago and now we have 1% attrition rate. I also find that middle school students who start in seventh and eighth grades learn at a much faster rate than elementary band students, catching up to incoming seventh graders in just 10 weeks of steady practice. Maturity and self-direction have a lot to do with how well a student can learn an instrument.