ROXBURY, NJ - More than 100 fourth-grade students and their families turned out recently when the Roxbury Instrumental Music Department held a Roxbury Instrument Test Drive, an event designed to be an "open house" where students could try instruments they might play next year.

Prior to the test drive, there was an instrument demo day at all of the four elementary schools in Roxbury. Fourth-graders saw an assembly performance by Roxbury High School musicians who introduced them to the band and orchestra instruments available in fifth grade.

At the follow-up Instrument Test Drive, students had the opportunity to actually play instruments and receive coaching from high school students and music teachers.

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“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.”

The Test Drive was meant as an opportunity to help students identify the best fit for them. Students were assisted in holding each instrument properly and other basic techniques. From there, the music teachers were able to provide input as to what instrument might be best suited for each child.

“We put together the Test Drive 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.