Information for New Students to

Newhart Music (Band, Orchestra & Choir)


Welcome to one of the premier and award winning middle school music programs in the Capistrano Unified School District. Our goal is for all music students to become better musicians, have fun, be with your friends and hopefully gain a life-long appreciation for music!


Full Length 5 minute video about BAND & ORCHESTRA

Short 2 minute video about BAND & ORCHESTRA



Why should I sign up for band, orchestra or choir?

At Newhart, not only will you learns so much about music, but you will have fun! Here are some reasons but probably not the only reasons. :)

---------You will laugh, celebrate successes and work as a team with a close set of friends

---------You are in the only electives going on 3-4 field trips a year per group

---------You will learn many different styles of music - pop, movie, classical, traditional, inspirations, fast, slow, etc.

---------You will learn how to play your instrument in such a strong way! Maybe you might chose a different instrument next year

---------You will enjoy music now and it will become a fun part of your future life too

---------You will work towards a common goal - the concerts!


Parents - What if I am not sure if I want to do music in middle school?
Remember when your children wouldn’t eat the food you made for them? You always said, “Try it before you decide you don’t like it.” Music is the same way. You should sign up for music even if you are unsure. If at some point you decide that music is not for you, drop the class. It is much easier to drop something after trying it, than to join late when you decide you miss it.


How is music different in middle school?
While the actual act of playing your instrument is similar, the social network and safety net that middle school and high school music provides is very different from elementary. From day one, your child will be musically and personally mentored by successful older students who have a vested interest in their success. They will have dozens of new and like-minded friends within weeks and have experiences musical and otherwise that are unlike anything they have experienced in elementary school. We have music every day and 4 rooms specifically devoted to music at Newhart.


What is the difference between band, orchestra and choir?

BAND is Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, Bassoon, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone Horn, Tuba & Percussion

This year-long music course is the further study of music beyond the elementary music curriculum. This performing music group meets daily where students learn to read music including key signatures, time signatures, rhythms, & notation, all while learning how to make the best sound and technique on their instruments. This is designed for students who want to be part of a fun team and have some/minimal prior experience playing an instrument. Since there are 14 choices of instruments, switching to another instrument is possible. The band has multiple concerts a year and goes on 3-4 music field trips. School instruments are readily available.

ORCHESTRA is Violin, Viola, Cello & String Bass

This performing ensemble of string instrumentalists rehearse and work together as a cohesive and fun team in an orchestra classroom. Professional coaching is available for more personal instruction and music genres range from pop to classical to jazz to many other styles and difficulty levels. Music theory, history, and technique, in addition to learning how to read music and properly play the stringed instruments are all topics that are covered in orchestra. Students are expected to have at least a very beginning level of music ability to be in orchestra however instrument switching is possible and will be discussed at the beginning. Multiple concerts plus 3-4 field trips are also part of the curriculum. School instruments are readily available.

CHOIR is all voice types

This year-long performing ensemble rehearses and learns music daily in a choir specific classroom. Choir students enjoy music as they learn together as a team. The students will learn to read basic music notation & rhythms while they get ready to perform in approximately 5 concerts throughout the year. This class has performed in the Newhart MPR, at Disney, the Norman Murray Center and other places throughout Orange County. This class is designed for the student who enjoys music yet has little to no music experience or is an experienced vocalist.


How much out of school time is required?
There is VERY little time required outside of the traditional school day. Our middle school ensembles require very little (less than standard homework). Generally, the greater the level of commitment, the greater the reward and memories. Regardless of the ensemble, a year-long calendar will be provided well in advance to help you plan for these events.


How do I sign-up? Sign-up forms are passed out during the 5th grade visit to Newhart on February 3rd. If you are coming from another school, you will need to get the form from the front office. It is the form that you will use to sign-up for your elective choice - band, orchestra, choir, art, drama, wheel, etc.. If you have lost your form, please see your regular 5th grade classroom teacher or the Newhart office. If you are going into 7th or 8th grade, you will need to see Mrs. Elgin or Mrs. Fisher in the front office for your form.


What if I missed signing-up or I've changed my mind? If you missed the sign-ups or you change your mind after Spring Break and do want to be in band, orchestra or choir, it is probably too late. However, you may want to try to bring a parent note to the Newhart office, but with scheduling so tight, the request for a change may not able to be honored. Therefore we HIGHLY recommend that you choose your music classes right from the beginning. Our music classes sometimes fill up, so make sure that you sign up early!


If I want to be in Concert Choir or Vocal Ensemble, what do I sign up for? It is called Concert Chorus on the sign-up sheet. Chorus is another name for choir. You will be placed into Concert Choir or Vocal Ensemble based on your grade level.


If I want to be in the band, orchestra or chorus, how do I sign up? You need to turn in your elective choice form to your 5th grade regular classroom teacher by the due date. You received this from the guidance department when you visited Newhart in February. Students who turn them in on time most often get their first choice. Music classes often fill up, so please get them in on time!


What about field trips? Click on the Calendar listed at the top of this page. This is a complete list of concerts and field trips as of now. We are always looking for new adventures. Click on any of the titles and you will get the information. Most groups average 2-3 trips a year. in 2016-17, we went to Disney California Adventure, Orange County Philharmonic Society Concert called Salaamuna, Norman Murray Center and to the local high schools for Festival. :) Lots of fun and many performance. Most groups go on 3-4 trips a year.


Do you have a school instrument that I can borrow? Yes, we do! We own all of the instruments that you may choose to play in our classes. Students choose to borrow a school instrument for many reasons including switching instruments! We also appreciate any family who wants to rent or purchase an instrument at a local store. We own approximately 150 instruments so it has always been possible for us to find a school instrument for those in need.


What instruments are currently not included in the music classes? Sorry, but we do not have classes that include piano, guitar, bass guitar, or harp. Most players of these excluded instruments join the orchestra as there as similar instruments offered. We do not have soprano saxophone or alto clarinet and piccolo is something that advanced flute players play. For your information, the music we play does not offer group music for these instruments.


Can I switch instruments at Newhart? Since we have many students that come in playing the same instrument, we need to balance the sound in the groups and also give opportunities for instruments which weren't previously available last year. We will show the music students all the instruments that are available for their group during the first week of school. We never require a student to switch but encourage those interested. Before choosing which instrument you want to learn, we encourage your to wait for the teachers to demonstrate before you make any decisions. In band, your choices include the flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone "bari" sax, trumpet, french horn, trombone, baritone horn, tuba & percussion. There are typically too many students playing the alto saxophone, so we encourage those interested in trying the saxophone to try the tenor sax or bari sax instead of the alto sax. The students are usually more successful and it is less competitive. Percussion (drum) players will need to pass a competitive audition within 2 weeks at the start of class. Percussion players need to have a mature attitude, good sense of rhythm and be able to read music (rhythms and note names). The percussion section is made up of mallets, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, and many other instruments. In orchestra, you can play the violin, viola, cello or string bass. We have really small string basses (1/4-3/4 size) for those height challenged yet still want to play the bass. We also have quite a few cellos in 3/4 and full sizes. Those who choose something else besides the violin will have a lot less competition and will fill our really high need for a balanced group and sound.


Do I need to bring my instrument the first day to school? You do NOT need to bring instruments the first few days of school. We will give plenty of notice and time for students to get their instruments. (Especially since some students may change instruments and we will need a little more time to show them what is available, etc.)


Where do I put my instrument during the day? We have 4 classrooms dedicated to music. We have cabinets and storage for instruments while at school. You will not need to take them to your other classes.


I want to get a head start. What can I do? Click here to go to a flash card program to help you with the names of your notes. It's really easy to use! You may also want to make sure your instrument is working properly. If it's been a while since you've had it in the repair shop, especially woodwind instruments, it may be wise to take it in for a minor adjustment. There are also summer music camps or music lessons. See "summer music link" on home page. Finally, try to play everything in your current music book. Can you get to the end? Do you know all the note names and fingerings?


What if I have other questions?
Please know that we are here to answer any and all questions that you may have. Due to the busy nature of our program, it is difficult to contact us by phone. The best way for you to reach us is electronically at (Valerie Petty) and (Kent Klingbeil). This will allow us to respond to your query, whether you are available by phone or not. You may also visit our website here at

Band & Orchestra with Mrs. Valerie Petty -
Choir with Mrs. Erin Girard -