FAQ about Band

Do I have to know anything about music to join band?
No Experience is Needed! Everything you need to know to play an instrument will be taught in your band class.  Any previous training in music is a plus but not necessary for success.

Can I still be in athletics, choir, orchestra & other school groups?
YES. We encourage our band students to participate in athletics & other school activities. Many of our band students are very successful athletes, terrific singers, as well as ACADEMIC leaders of our school!

Who will be in band?
Your friends and fellow classmates will join you in what will be some of the most exciting and fun times of your school experience.  The more friends, the most fun!  With over 6,000 band students in Cherry Hill, and still growing, the band is the largest single organization.  Many of our students are the school leaders and among the most successful students in Cherry Hill.

What fun things will we do in band?
The best reward is learning to play an  instrument and make music!  You will experience many parties, trips, concerts, contests & performances throughout the year!

Asthma?  Braces?  Is it possible?
ABSOLUTELY!  Braces end up making you a better player in the long run and some of the music teachers have asthma. We have many students that have braces and/or asthma.  Playing a wind instrument can actually be beneficial for those with asthma as it helps strengthen the lungs.


FAQ about Orchestra

Do I have to know anything about music to join Orchestra?
NO!!! Everything you need to know to play an instrument and read music will be taught in your Orchestra class. Any training in music you already have will be very helpful, but it is not required. All students interested in joining Orchestra must attend the String Fling to choose their instrument and be sized for their instrument, but this is NOT an audition - all students are welcome to attend and there is NO PRIOR MUSIC EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! Learning any instrument takes practice, and by taking small steps in class every day and practicing daily at home, you will be amazed by your progress at the end of the year!

If I join Band or Orchestra, can I still be in Athletics, Band, Choir, Theater, and other sports/clubs?
YES!!! Not only is participation in other organizations possible, it is encouraged. We work closely with the coaches/directors to allow our students to participate in everything without having conflicts. The Shadow Ridge Orchestras also have many academic leaders, talented athletes, singers, actors, NJHS members, cheerleaders, and more!

I'm left-handed...can I still play in the Band or Orchestra?
All instruments are held a certain way. Some have the left hand doing more and some have the right hand doing more. Both hands will be involved.

I don't know what instrument I should play. Will someone help me?
Take the time to review each instrument on our Sign Up page. Which instrument sounds the most fun? Which instrument sounds like you? That's the one to choose!

How much time do I need to practice?
Students are expected to practice an average of fifteen minutes almost daily; this is the musician's homework, just like you will have homework in every other academic class. Practicing your instrument regularly is as important as using the batting cages, doing laps in the pool on different strokes, using a driving range for your golf swing or practicing your times tables. Steady practice is vital to enjoying the instrument as well as improving on it.

How many performances will I be involved in?
The Beginner Orchestra performs at our annual Fall Concert, Holiday Concert, Cluster Concert, Spring Concert, and NRH20 Music Festival in the Spring. Private lessons are also strongly encouraged for all students (click here for more info) and can provide more playing opportunities such as recitals and the annual LISD Solo & Ensemble Contest. When you join Orchestra at Shadow Ridge, you don't just play at concerts - you get to be part of the whole experience! From themed performances with costumes and props, to special guests and set design, the Orchestra students truly create the concert 'hands-on' and make every performance special.

How much money will this cost?
Fortunately, not much; the main cost is your instrument. Most families rent an instrument on a rental/purchase plan at a low monthly cost. Students can exchange their instrument for a bigger one as they grow, and once students reach a full-sized instrument, your accumulated rental credit can be used to purchase a quality step-up instrument. Cello and Bass students do not need to carry their instruments back and forth to school every day - families will rent one instrument to practice at home, and the school district provides instruments for students to use at school for a low yearly maintenance fee. 

For your convenience, the other required musical supplies are available for purchase with your rental package: the package includes a music stand for home practice, music book, tuner/metronome (not needed until Spring), rockstop for Cello/Bass students, shoulder rest for Violin/Viola students, and a soft cleaning cloth. Other required supplies that can be purchased at any school supply store include a 1 inch black binder, dividers, page protectors, pencil bag, pencils, and highlighter. You will learn how to use all of these materials and how to stay organized throughout the school year!

I want to join Band or Orchestra! How do I get an instrument?
Check out all of the instruments by rolling over "Sign Up" at the top of the page and selecting "Pick and Instrument". Check out all of the options byt listening to the different recordings on each instrument. Click on the "Sign Me UP" button and that will direct  you to the option to select your school to register. There are more directions there on how to rent your instrument. Instruments will be delivered to school before the first day of class. 
We strongly encourage you rent or lease a quality instrument through our recomended and approved companies as they offer the brands and models we prefer the children use in the program. Bargain hunters are finding inexpensive instruments on the Internet, in discount stores, and in some catalogs. Sadly, these instruments are not bargains. While the price may look right, the “real” cost of this instrument may be in costly repairs, poor durability, poor tone, or worst of all, a student who is not able to succeed in their lessons.

String instruments come in all sizes to fit the student. Be sure to follow the instructions on measuring your child so you get the right size for them. A missized instrument can be very difficult to manage. The rental program allows you to switch your instrument for the appropriate size up as they grow. If you buy a string instrument, you are stuck with that size.

What do I do if we already own an instrument?
If you are using an instrument from someone else, please bring it to your teacher to check. We will test it out and tell you if it is ready to use or point you in the direction of a reputable repair shop. We advise not to have your child choose that instrument just because it's there. The best instrument choice for your child is the on they are most interested in playing.

Can I start learning my instrument over the summer?
Your instrument will be waiting for you in the Orchestra room on the first day of school. While it might seem like a good idea to find a private teacher and start learning now, you will be bored in class when school starts! All students are strongly encouraged to sign up for private lessons once school starts. Ms. Riddle works closely with these teachers to ensure that you are successful in Orchestra.