Welcome to Band!

  • In Band, we play woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments together to create music for listeners to enjoy. Any student in Winnetka Public Schools in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade can come to Mr. Vowles and Mr. Chester and arrange to learn the instruments presented here, and join one of the bands. Most students start in 5th grade, coming together to explore the new territory together. Experienced players can also join, of course!

For Parents, A video introduction to the 5th Grade Cadet Band Program by Mr. Chester and Mr. Vowles

  • In the picture gallery above, you can click or press on the instrument image if you want to jump right to the page that has demonstrations of that instrument. If you press the i it will give you more information about the picture you are seeing while it cycles through the instruments.

    Any person of any age can learn a new band instrument. Here in Winnetka District #36, Mr. Chester and I have helped students, parents, staff members, and fellow faculty start or relearn, so if you are afraid of sounding bad, don't worry... somewhere right now a 75 year old has just picked up an instrument and made a silly sound, grinned, and made another. A little laughter, some strange sounds, some time building some muscles and control, and you will be well on your way to playing your instrument.

    In Winnetka, we usually start playing Band Instruments together in school in 5th Grade, but some students start as late as 8th grade. If you are in 4th grade or younger, then don't worry. We will get to teach you when you join in 5th Grade. You can still explore the instruments, figure out what you will want to play, and even make a game of picking out all the times Mr. Vowles has missed a note or not looked at the camera in the videos... there are lots of those to count!


    To sign up for 2021-2022 Skokie School Cadet Band, and begin learning an instrument here with us, check in with your parents and have them fill out this Google Form. We look forward to seeing you in the fall, and learning new things together...



     Google Form 2021-2022 5th Grade

How Do Woodwind Instruments Make Sound?

How Do Brass Instruments Make Sound?

How do Percussion Instruments Make Sound?

Winnetka Public Schools Students Talk About Band...

  • We learn band instruments so that we can come together and form musical ensembles. We can play here in District #36 in Cadet Band, then Concert Band, then finally Symphonic Band. At New Trier High School, they have many more bands, and many other ways musicians can get together to perform music. Here are two current District #36 Bandmembers taking about band:

Joshua, 6th Grade on performing with Band, Orchestra, and Choir

Katie, 8th Grade, on playing in Band from 5th Grade through 8th Grade

Renting an Instrument

  • Some families already have an instrument, and just need to contact Mr. Vowles and Mr. Chester to evaluate its condition and make any repairs necessry, ordering only the "starter kit" and book. For most people, though, your exploration of an instrument starts with a rent-to-own program like Quinlan and Fabish. You are welcome to use any rental company you would like, but we strongly recommend renting a brand new instrument, and not purchasing one yet.

    To get a quick one-stop-shop of the director-chosen instruments, music, and supplies, visit Renting an Instrument on our pages, or send an email or phone message to Mr. Vowles and Mr. Chester, and we will help you get evcerything set up in time for the first lesson!

  •  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. We suggest picking out another instrument to have fun with in Cadet Band if you play these instruments. You can never play too many instuments.

    • To learn more about the overall 5th grade Cadet Band program, visit the Grade 5 Band page
    • To learn about Percussion (Snare drum, Bass Drum, Cymbals, Timpani, Triangle, Piano, etc.), visit the Percussion Page
    • To learn about Woodwinds (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone), visit the Woodwinds Page
    • To learn about Brass (Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Baritone), visit the Brass Page

    ( Read through and heard and seen all of this and still want more? You can search the web for all sorts of great instrument performences - try "Concert Band" or "Jazz Band" or the name of the instrument you think you might like. And for a bonus of good music, funny music, and strange music try Vowles' & Chester's YouTube Gallery of Instrumental Winning! )