The Instrumental Music Program is open to fourth and fifth grade students at Orinda's four elementary schools and taught by John Speers. Instrumental Music is a pull-out program that takes place during the regular school day. Classes are 35-40 minutes long, once a week. Students are expected to practice 80 minutes a week. In order to play in the music program at OIS, a student must have either two years of elementary music, one year of private lessons or the consent of the instructors.
The instruments that are taught include clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet/cornet, trombone and percussion. If a child has experience on another band instrument such as oboe, french horn, etc., he/she is welcome to join band. The majority of students start on one of the above instruments without having any prior experience. Violinists or cellists, however, are required to have some previous experience.
Early in the school year there is an Introduction to Band assembly at which the various instruments are demonstrated to fourth and fifth graders. A sign-up sheet goes home to all fourth and fifth graders with further information about instrument rentals, method books, etc.Playing an instrument does take responsibility and discipline. Having enough time to practice while also completing schoolwork is a key consideration. During the school year the Band and Orchestra perform at a school music assembly in March and often an off-site concert as well.