What does my student need to do to get a good grade in music?
During an average grading period most students get a “B” or better on their grade report. To get a good grade in
music students need to: 1. Have a positive attitude and try hard in music. 2. Bring their music, instrument, pencil
and binder to class daily. 3. Avoid causing distraction or getting in trouble in class. 4. Practice their music and
pass their tests. 5. Attend all concerts in which he/she is performing.

How are students tested in class?
Students are tested in class often and tests are worth 20% of their grade. Tests are given on specific sections of
their music or on entire pieces. Depending on the difficulty and amount of the material being tested, students are
given 1 day to over a month to learn the material. In class they will be asked to perform the music for Mr. Eckl. If
the student does well on the test they will be passed. If a student needs to practice more, he/she will be asked to
play the piece again for Mr. Eckl the next day outside of class, during break or lunch. Students are required to
keep taking the test until they pass. For each day that the student does not pass their grade will be lowered.
Although this process seems scary at first, most students become used to it very quickly and pass their tests on
the first try. Help from Mr. Eckl, teaching assistant, older students and classmates is always available.

What does “materials not brought to class” refer to on a progress report or report card?
This notation means that a student has forgotten his/her music, pencil, binder or instrument more than is
acceptable. See “class preparation” under “Grading” for more information.

May students leave one set of music at home and one at school?
No. Students must bring their music back and forth from school and home every day. In class, students will be
writing instructions and assignments and taking notes on their music. These extra instructions will be crucial to the
practicing they will do at home. Each student must have their own music in class every day.

What should I do when my student’s instrument breaks?
Time permitting, Mr. Eckl will be able to do minor repairs on instruments, but most of the time the instruments will
need to be taken to the repair shop. If you are renting an instrument it is recommended that you take the
instrument to the shop where you rented it. Local repair shops are The Magic Flute in San Rafael and Best Music
in Oakland.

What can I do to help my student practice?
Just like other classes, students will usually have nightly assignments and a student should include practicing in
his/her regular homework schedule. Parents can help the student by establishing a regular homework/practice
time of the day. Students also need a quiet, uncluttered space where they can practice. Music stands,
metronomes and tuners will also help students practice efficiently. An average students should practice about 10-
15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Visit the Sinaloa Music page at novatomusic.com to find a page on practice tips.

What about private lessons?
Private lessons are tutoring sessions that where an instrument or voice instructor works individually with a student.
In these lessons the instruction is geared toward the individual student. Teachers generally work on technique -
how  to produce sound, style - how  to interpret music and also on basic playing skills. Private lessons are good
for all students. For struggling students private lessons can help students feel more comfortable in their music
class, for advanced students private lessons can add an extra challenge and help students master their
instrument or voice. Students at all levels benefit from private lessons. For lists of local private teachers visit the
Magic Flute at www.themagicflute.com. This list is published by the music store - the teachers are not affiliated with
the Novato Unified School District.

Should I purchase an instrument for my student?
Whether or not parents should purchase instruments depends a great deal on how far a student has progressed
on their instrument and what they plan on doing in the future. Some students are ready for a higher quality
instrument and some are at a level where a rental instrument is just fine. Please contact Mr. Eckl to help determine
if your student is ready for his or her own instrument. Additionally some instrument brands and models are
superior to others. Before purchasing and instrument please contact Mr. Eckl for recommendations about what
type of instrument to buy and where to purchase the instrument for the best price.

When setting up for concerts, cleaning up, packing up instruments, moving equipment and at other times, please
keep in mind that it is an important learning experience for students to do some jobs themselves. As a part of their
class, students learn about all of the work that goes into setting up for a concert or trip. During this “behind the
scenes” work it is important for students to learn by doing the work themselves, even if it would be easier to have
parent assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions...
5th Graders
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