Homeschool Beginner Band Program

Update: The Homeschool Beginner Band will meet on Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3PM.

Registration for the beginner band is now open! You can register at  The link to register is on the main page of the Carolina School of Music. If you have any difficulties registering for the homeschool band, please contact Jon Milton at

Friends, I am very excited to announce to you that Colonial is launching a beginner band program for homeschool students. This program will be led by Colonial’s Orchestra Director, Jon Milton. There are still many details to work out. We don’t yet know the cost or times. However, I can tell you that this will be a top quality experience for beginner band students. Please note that this is a band program and not an orchestra program. Strings will not be part of what we offer. Instead, we will focus on brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. 

We are not currently enrolling students, but will be soon. I will post more information here, but I wanted to make you aware of this right away. If you have questions, you can reach Jon at John has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions to give you some more details. 



Why do beginner bands and orchestras practice separately?

  • Strings and woodwind instruments are very different from each other. String players spend a lot of time working on bowing technique while wind players focus on breathing.
  • Wind players in general learn to play in “Flat keys” while string players learn to play in sharp keys.
  • There is no combined teaching method available on the market to use. This is because of the previous reasons.

What made you decide to launch a band program?

  • It is not practical to launch more than one group at a time due to the large amount of preparation time involved with each ensemble. 
  • As the band has the most variety of instruments (brass, woodwinds, and percussion), it would be the best choice to begin with.

Does having a band replace the need for private study?

  • Serious students should study privately. The band teacher cannot replace the direct education from a private instructor. It gives an advantage to a young musician, but plenty of students never study privately. They are also less likely to become as skilled of a musician as one who has studied privately.
  • Every band teacher had a primary instrument they grew up learning. This is the instrument they understand the best. They may know how to play all the instruments and can teach, but they will not have the same level of experience as someone who has specialized in that instrument. In my case, my area of specialization is brass. I can teach the other instruments, but it is not the same as studying with someone who has spent decades playing an instrument.

What is the purpose of a band?

  • Unlike private lessons, a band/orchestra allows students to interact with one another. They learn to play together as an ensemble.

Why did you choose the curriculum you did? (Hal Leonard’s Essential Elements 2000)

  • This curriculum has been widely used. It is innovative, but retains the time-tested approaches to teaching.
  • The books are in three volumes — beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

What is the cost?

  • Public schools employ full-time band directors to educate children. Children going through that program are given a tremendous advantage in that band directors are able to devote 40 hours a week to planning, communications, and teaching. I cannot offer that luxury.
  • To make this work requires greater parental involvement. A meeting with parents prior to the fall semester will let me show parents how they can work with their children to make up for missing time. By choosing a good curriculum that is easy to teach, time commitment can be drastically reduced.
  • Expected costs for the band program include purchase or rental of an instrument, a book ($15.00), and a tuition fee to be determined soon.

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