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Grade 6 Band


Concert Band is open to all 6th Grade District 36 students who can pass a basic audition on a band instrument. We meet every morning during first period at Skokie School.

Message from Mr. Vowles and Mr. Chester

Dear Band Parents and Students,

Welcome! We are looking forward to working with all of our students and parents during the coming year and have put together this handbook to clearly define various aspects of our program. For those of you returning to the band program, much of this information will be familiar. However, this guide will prove a convenient resource throughout the year.

Please give special attention to the calendar. It is very important that you plan now to avoid any future conflicts with performance and other band events. Every student is vital to the success of our band and we must have each member present at all performances and rehearsals. We have a complete and regularly updated calendar online.

The band program continues to grow in quantity and more importantly in quality. We believe this is mainly due to the fine support and cooperation of our students, parents and staff. Thank you for your continued support of music education in Winnetka and as always, feel free to call us or email us at any time.

Sincerely,  Stephen Vowles and Andrew Chester


Students are expected to provide their own instruments. Percussionists must provide their own sticks, mallets, and stick bag. It is extremely important that all of our students play on quality instruments in order to ensure the highest degree of success as performers. Before you buy or rent an instrument, please call us. We would be happy to suggest a reputable retailer. Many of our students rent from Quinlan and Fabish Music Company. In the case of larger instruments (tuba, percussion, baritone saxophone, baritone, tenor sax, bass clarinet, etc.) the district can provide these for the student at a cost of $140.00 for the school year. Rental forms are available. Please contact Mr. Vowles or Mr. Chester for more information.

Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) District Band and Jazz Band

Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grade students are eligible to audition for the ILMEA All District Bands. These are honors bands made up of outstanding middle school musicians from throughout northern Illinois. The events are not mandatory, but are a tremendous performance opportunity and we strongly recommend participation. (Participation in District Jazz Band is restricted to jazz ensemble instruments). The dates for this year's ILMEA District Band activities are listed in the calendar.

Summer Music Camps

Summer camps provide an excellent opportunity for young musicians to develop their talents and work with accomplished music teachers and performers from around the country. Numerous camps are located throughout the Midwest. Scholarships are available for interested students. Please see us for more information.

Private Lessons

Private lessons are not required by the district; however, they are strongly recommended and do provide students with invaluable one-to-one instruction. Currently, more than 50% of Washburne/Skokie students study privately. With the help of private lessons students will be able to increase their technique and appreciation of music. They will also improve the performance of the group through their individual efforts.

The district has a list of recommended instructors. Please contact Mr. Chester or Mr. Vowles for this list.

Concert Dress

The following list is considered the team uniform for all bands and ALL CONCERTS:

  • White Collared Dress Shirt or White Blouse
  • Black Pants or Black Skirt
  • Black Socks
  • Black Dress Shoes (NO GYM SHOES OF ANY KIND)
  • Long Neck Tie (if you wear a dress shirt. Not required if you wear a blouse.)

Attending a concert in inappropriate attire may result in the student not being allowed to perform with the group.

Concert Band Materials (Grade 6)

The "Tradition of Excellence" books will be ordered for the full class within the first few weeks of school.

Supplies like reeds and oils are available at Washburne and Skokie at a very discounted rate.

You should bring the following for your lessons and ensembles:

  • Pencil
  • Student instrument
  • Ensemble music and folder
  • Tradition of Excellence Book II for your instrument (We order this for you!)
  • Woodwinds: Three good reeds, cork grease, and a cleaning swab.
  • Brass: Slide grease and valve oil
  • Percussion: Drum sticks, mallets, stickbag, and a drum pad and mallet kit for home practice.

All group band rehearsals for 6th grade Concert Band members will take place at Skokie School in the Skokie School Band Room. Rehearsal time is very important to the success of the band. We need to make full use of every minute, and we need you present!

 If you would like to play in Jazz Band on Drum Set, Guitar, Bass, or Piano, we can direct you to some good teachers at NTHS and in the area so that you can audition for the separate group when you are ready. See Mr. Vowles or Mr. Chester for more information.

  • To learn more about the overall Band program, visit the main Band page
  • To learn more about the Washburne Jazz Ensemble or the Lion Jazz Ensemble, visit the Jazz Programs page
  • To see student testimonials or look at the choices of instrument available, to learn in Band, visit the Instruments Page