Beginning Band Information 2022-2023

Spencer Butte Beginning Band Information

Hello Parents of Incoming 5th Grade Students,

My name is Alyssa Van Laar, and I teach Band at Spencer Butte Middle School. The following information is for parents of prospective beginning band students. If I don’t answer your questions below, please email 

The quick version:

Any 6th grader can sign up for Beginning Band–either now, or in the Fall. (If you have already filled out an Electives Choice, you may re-submit another and they will accept it and make the change). No prior experience needed, and students do NOT need to know yet which band instrument they would like to play. There is information below regarding instrument choice, school instrument availability, and where to rent or purchase a band instrument. No instruments will be needed for the first 2 weeks of school.

More Band information:

Students may sign up for band in the fall. Students DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO PLAY YET! The first few days of class I will introduce the various band instruments. Instrument options for first-year band students are: 

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Alto Saxophone*
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone/Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Percussion**

*Saxophonists may begin learning tenor and/or bari after playing a year of alto saxophone. No school-owned saxophones are available for first year students (they can start on clarinet, then switch as a saxophone becomes available).

**Students sign up for percussion by audition/guardian meeting ONLY. Percussionists will learn both mallet (xylophone, marimba, etc.) and battery (drums) instruments. 

Students wishing to play oboe or bassoon should spend their first year on clarinet, and take private lessons when they start oboe or bassoon. We do not use any other instruments except those listed above in band class at Spencer Butte.

If you would like to listen to various band instruments with your student, please just click the link below:

Students will start to bring their instruments to class the second full week of school, beginning Monday September 19th. Prior to that, we will be learning musical nomenclature, ear training, and rehearsal etiquette.

If you are able to rent or purchase a band instrument, please choose from any of these local stores once you’ve made your choice (Do NOT purchase an instrument online unless you really know what you are doing). Students will not bring their instruments to school until September 19th. I am happy to answer any questions you may have so we can make sure students have access to a properly functioning instrument that will allow them to be as successful as possible! :

Beacock Music

791 W 8th Ave, Eugene · (541) 686-2484

Eugene Music

1840 Willamette St Ste 100, Eugene · (541) 686-2484


If you cannot rent, a limited number of school instruments are available. Choice of available school instruments is very limited. There is a $50.00 instrument maintenance fee for the school year–this fee can be paid at any time during the school year. Fee waivers are available on request, please just email me and I will ask no questions. All students will get an instrument, though it may not be their first choice of what they would like to play. Please email with your first and second choices of instrument if you would like a school instrument. Instruments are reserved via email first come, first served. 

I look forward to meeting your student, and again, if you have any questions, please just email


-Van Laar

Alyssa Van Laar

Band Director

Spencer Butte Middle School

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