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Band teacher Brian Rebischke works with the concert band Monday morning at Dallas High. Rebischke said up to 80 percent of students rent an instrument as beginners.
October 16, 2012
DALLAS -- Band programs in the Dallas School District, as unlikely as it is, are on the rebound.
Dallas High School has retained its concert band, jazz band and wind ensemble. After nearly losing the program last year, LaCreole administrators found a way to offer band to seventh- and eighth-graders.
This year, band teacher Brian Rebischke is teaching another class: beginning band for sixth-graders.
Between the high school and middle school programs, there are almost 100 students in band.
Where do all those students find their instruments
Per-month instrument rentals can range from $15 to $75 depending on the instrument and its condition.
It's a problem Rebischke seems happy to have.
"A lot of times the parents will try to steer them toward what is in the closet," Rebischke said. "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
For the parents who can't convince their children to follow in their musical footsteps, the solution is often renting an instrument from a music store.
Rebischke said -- at least as beginners -- about 80 percent of his students rent their instruments.
There are no music stores in Dallas that rent -- at least not anymore -- as Gene Hall Music Studios got out of the rental business a number of years ago.
Rebischke has two stores he recommends based on their beginner-friendly rent-to-own policies: Uptown Music in Keizer and Gracewinds in Corvallis. Students who like their initial instrument selection can keep it until it's paid off. They also can switch instruments for a small fee with previous payments carrying over to the new instrument.
Rebischke said the per-month payments are usually affordable, ranging from about $15 to $75 depending on the instrument and whether it is new or used.
Rebischke said given the programs available, his students haven't had a problem finding what they need.
"The biggest challenge is getting busy parents to a music store," he said.
To assist those parents, Rebischke held a "band night" gathering at the beginning of the year and invited Uptown Music.
Julanne Courtney, whose sons Evan and Benjamin are first-year band members at the middle school, said the meeting and the rental programs have really helped.
"We had already known they were going to be in band," Courtney said. "They were sad when it wasn't available, so they knew when it came back that they would be joining."
Evan decided on drums and Benjamin, saxophone, she said, both believing their selection the coolest.
Band members are also responsible for purchasing their music books and concert attire. Rebischke said he tries to keep the costs low.
"With these guys, since they are beginners, I figure they will get an instrument and book and we will go from there," he said of the middle school program.
The cost, whatever it ends up being, doesn't bother the Courtney family.
"We were all just really excited to see the band program back in the middle school," Julanne said.