LCCS Elementary Instrumental Program

Questions and Answers about the Lancaster County Christian School Elementary Instrumental Program

How can I enroll my child in the program?
              Complete this online form.


When does my child begin the instrumental program?

After learning the recorder in 3rd grade, 4th grade students have the opportunity to choose a band or string instrument to begin playing with the goal of participating in the elementary instrumental program. (While beginning an instrument is recommended for 4th grade, students may choose to begin an instrument in 5th or 6th grade.)

What instruments are included in the instrumental program at LCCS?

We have a traditional band and orchestra program, which includes all woodwind, brass, percussion, and string instruments. These instruments are listed on the online Enrollment Form linked above. Guitar and piano lessons are not part of our band and orchestra program, but private lesson are available for an additional cost for interested students.

How much do lessons cost?

Lessons on band and orchestra instruments during the school year for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students are free during the school day and are taught in groups of two, three or four students.

Are there any expenses that I will incur at the start of the program?

Instrument rental or purchase: Music store instrument- monthly rental is $28-$65 depending on the instrument.  Renting from a music store is recommended for beginning students as most music stores have a 90-day trial period and other incentives such as upgrades and protection against loss.  Check each store policy for details.

School instruments (when available) -$125 per year. Rental of school instruments does not count towards purchase and you are responsible for replacement in case of loss.  

Smartmusic- $40 student-subscription per year. $20 Microphone (one-time purchase) $29 for Mac.  

Books: Each method book is approximately 10.00 (snare and mallet percussion book - $15)

Reeds for clarinets, saxophonesbassoonsoboes and bassoons.  This is an ongoing expense of $10 - $25 per box for clarinets and saxophones.  One reed per week is a general rule of thumb for beginners, but if you take care of your reed, it could last two weeks or more. With care, a box of ten reeds could last several months.  The cost-per-reed is greater for oboes and bassoons, but these double reeds last longer.  (Reed care link.)

Oilslide creamcork grease, for proper instrument maintenance.  Many music stores sell care-kits specific to the instrument.

Music stand.  Purchase cost is approximately $15. When renting through a music store, ask if a music stand is included in the rental price.

How do we obtain an instrument?

Once a decision is made regarding which instrument is the best for the student, the process for renting a music store instrument will begin or a school instrument will be assigned to the student. Here are some possible sources (this is not an exhaustive list nor is this listing an endorsement): 

Central Penn Music (In Palmyra), Menchey’s Music (Granite Run, Lancaster), Ken's Music (Lititz)  Beams Music (Ephrata), Marty’s Music (Lebanon), Dave Wilson Musical Instruments (Lancaster), Lōser’s Music (Lebanon), Music on Main (New Holland), and  Zezwitz Music (Reading).  It is important that the students have instruction about the instrument before they attempt to put it together or use it on their own! You may use an instrument that another family member or friend used, but it is important that it be in good playing condition. Take it to a repair shop. 

When will lessons begin?

Lessons will begin in mid September or as soon as the schedule is produced. You will be notified by email.

When and what is the length of the lesson?

Lessons are scheduled using a rotating schedule so that students will not miss the same class time every week. Lessons may also be scheduled during a satellite day at the Leola campus. Lessons are approximately 30 minutes and meet once per week.

How will we know what to practice?

The student will log in to Smartmusic and select their class. Their assignments will appear on the computer screen. Click on each assignment and the music will appear on the screen.

Attach the Smartmusic microphone as directed and practice each assignment. Do not click "Submit" until you can play your assignment proficiently at 90% or better. When you have played each exercise or piece to the best of your ability within a reasonable practice time, select “Submit” and the file will be transferred to the director's gradebook. Your director will be able to access your recording and your grade.

How much practice time is expected of each student?

Here are some words of wisdom about starting an instrument. Find a place for your child to practice. Give us three months of regular 30-minute practice, and your son or daughter will be well on their way to proficiency on their chosen instrument. Although the sounds at the beginning may impersonate a cat with its tail caught in a door, please encourage your son or daughter to be patient. Their tone will improve! Smartmusic will track your progress every time you practice an assignment and allow it to finish and give you a percentage.

What should the student bring to the lesson?

Students are required to bring their instrument, ensemble music, and a pencil.

How will I know how my child is doing?

Smartmusic allows you to access your child’s grades and listen to your child’s recordings. You can assume that if they are not practicing at home, they are not doing well in their lessons and in ensemble playing. It is important that parent are involved in their child’s music. Sitting in on a practice session at least once per week and asking them about what they are learning is a good way to stay in touch.

When do they perform?

It is our goal as music teachers to have all students performing in the Christmas and the elementary musical. Students also may perform at various times for their class, in chapel, or for other special school events.

What is the best way to get in touch with teachers if I am concerned about my student’s progress or have any other questions?

Email is the best way to contact a teacher. If your student is struggling to understand a concept, please communicate with the teacher so we can best meet their individual needs. We would be happy to then arrange a time to talk by phone or in person.

What if my child is not in 4th or 5th or 6th grade and wants to take instrumental lessons?

Lessons on band instruments, string instruments, piano and guitar are available from Mrs. Janet Bartch beginning on the Thursday after Labor Day. Please call Mrs. Bartch for details on price and times. Please call the school office for contact information.

I would like piano lessons for my child during the school day.Who do I contact?

Piano Lessons are available through Sandi Burkholder, Wanda Longer , and Janet Bartch. Please contact them directly for details on price and times. Please call the school office for contact information.

Often students lose momentum and get frustrated when they do not remember how to execute the assigned musical exercise. Here is a tool that we have begun to use in the classroom-studio that provides motivation and immediate feedback to the student. It is called Smartmusic. It is a program that runs on your personal computer to assist your child in practicing their instrument at home. This program uses a special microphone and then marks the music on the computer screen where the students missed a note or played a wrong note. It is quite motivating! Here is the website where you can view introductory videos about how Smartmusic works: The cost for the subscription is $40 per year. The special microphone is approximately $20 ($30 for Mac). The students have been quite impressed by it, and it has been proven to increase student music learning in other schools such as Ephrata School District.