ROXBURY, NJ - The Roxbury High School Instrumental Music Department held a Roxbury Instrument Test Drive for all fourth-grade students on May 24. This event was designed to be an "open house" where students and their families could come and try possible instruments to be played next year.

“Our goal at the Instrument Test Drive was to expose children to the instruments available to them next year with the opportunity to play each one," said sixth grade band director Kate Katz. "A teacher guided each child through a few basic steps of creating an initial sound on each instrument.”

Forty students originally signed up for the event but more than 100 attended. The staff was thrilled with the turnout.

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Katz went on to say, “The feedback we've received so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We loved how not only the kids got excited, you could see the parents were equally excited to watch their kids try different instruments out. Cell phones were out all over the place as parents furiously documented the experience.”

This event came as a follow-up to demo day assemblies in which the music staff traveled to each of the elementary schools and had high school musicians demonstrate all the instruments individually and in small group settings. 

“We specifically did the Test Drive the day after the assemblies in hopes of keeping the momentum going, and drumming up more excitement,” Katz said.

In addition to giving students the opportunity to try out all the instruments and get a better idea of what they'd like to play, the Test Drive was meant as an opportunity to help students identify the best fit for them. 

With the guidance of the instrumental music staff from grades 5-12, students were assisted in the process of holding each instrument properly, making a sound, and other basic techniques. From there, the music teachers were able to see how students did and provide input as to what instrument might be best suited for each child.

“We put together the Test Drive and plan to continue it annually, in an effort to establish the sense of community in the instrumental music department from day one," Katz said. "Because it's a program that spans the course of seven years, we want students and families to get a good idea of what we are about and have to offer and feel welcome from the very beginning. We hope that by encouraging participation from the get-go, our community and support will grow from there.”

The goal of the Instrumental Music Program is to team with parents, teachers, and the school to develop responsible, respectful, confident, and creative students. The high standards of excellence facilitate musical growth both individually on an instrument and in ensembles.