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Band & Orchestra Information

West Hills Middle School BAND, CHOIR, and ORCHESTRA Questions and Answers

There’s a dollar sign on the registration card. How much do music classes cost?

There is no instructional fee for band or orchestra. Band and orchestra students do need an instrument which can be rented or purchased at local music stores or online. The school also rents some instruments (see below). For choir students, the voice is the instrument.

What class should I take?


For students who have little or no experience in band. Instruments include FLUTE, CLARINET, SAX, TRUMPET, FRENCH HORN, TROMBONE, BARITONE, TUBA, and PERCUSSION.


For students who have ONE YEAR of experience in band. Instruments include FLUTE, CLARINET, SAX, TRUMPET, FRENCH HORN, TROMBONE, BARITONE, TUBA, and PERCUSSION.


For students who have little or no experience in orchestra. Instruments include VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO, and BASS.


For students who have at least one year of experience in orchestra. Instruments include VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO, and BASS.

What if I don't have an instrument?

Music stores have rent-to-own programs that cost between $20 and $60 per month, depending on the instrument. West Hills has several different instruments available, including: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, French Horns, Baritone Horns, Trombones, Tubas, Violas, Cellos, String Bass, and Percussion (drums.) The Jordan District rental fee is $80 per year, and can be paid in installments. Fees are waived for students with free lunch.

What about guitar?

Guitar is offered in the 8th and 9th grade.

What are the best reasons to take band, choir, or orchestra?

  • Making music is fun. Making music well is AWESOME!
  • West Hills Middle School musicians make lifelong friends.
  • Musicianship connects students to the culture of our civilization through positive self expression.
  • University music departments give students scholarships, ranging from 1/4 to full tuition.
  •  Music makes you smarter. Students who learn music score higher on math, language and a science tests. Every additional year of music study raises lifetime test scores.
  • Learning music provides genuine self esteem based on work related achievement.
  • Music at West Hills has a wonderful tradition of talented performance.
  • West Hills is the “Best Hills.”

AP Parent Information

What is AP Human Geography?

The purpose of AP Human Geography is to “introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of the Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice.” (from the College Board AP Human Geography course description)

AP courses are designed to give students the experience and challenge of a college course while on their high school campus. AP classes are rigorous and demanding, and only highly qualified and prepared students should enroll.

Who Should Take AP Courses?

“The content of AP courses is more sophisticated than that in typical high school honors courses. Students should have had practice in analyzing content, drawing comparisons, and reasoning through problems. They must be able to read perceptively and independently. Additionally, students will need to be proficient in writing clear, concise essays. Students who are not skilled in these areas must be even more highly motivated to make up deficiencies at the same time they are taking more rigorous courses. The earlier students prepare for AP or college courses by taking the most rigorous classes available, the more likely will be their success. The keys to success are motivation, self-discipline, and academic preparation.” (from Advanced Placement Q&A,, emphasis added)

AP Human Geography does not simulate or emulate a college-level course; it is identical in content and difficulty to a college course. Students who do not have a Lexile score in the range of college freshmen (1300- 1450) may find AP Human Geography difficult. Additionally, students who are not able to commit enough time outside of class to complete readings, essays, and other assignments may not be fully prepared for the AP test.

What About The AP Test?

The goal of the course is to cover the material required by the College Board in order to prepare students to take and pass the AP test in May (the current cost of the test is approximately $98, which students and their families are responsible for paying). Students who pass the test (scoring a 3, 4, or 5) may receive credit at the college or university of their choice for an introductory Geography course (approximately three credit hours).

AP courses and AP tests are difficult, and ninth graders taking AP Human Geography will take the same test that juniors and seniors in high school will take.

What Does This Mean?

AP classes are intended to be rigorous, challenging classes. They are designed to give accelerated students the opportunity to be challenged at a college level and to earn college credit. As with any AP course, there is always a chance that, despite the best efforts at preparation of the student and teacher, you may not receive a passing grade on the AP test. You also may not receive an A grade each quarter and you will not be given “busywork” assignments or extra credit to earn additional points if your grade falls below an A at the end of the quarter. If you want to earn an A you must be doing “A” work (reading, studying, turning in assignments on time, doing well on tests, etc.)

Other Issues:

Students who choose to enroll in AP Human Geography are asked to commit to the entire school year; you may not be able to transfer to a lower-level course at the quarter or semester. Please only choose to enroll in AP Human Geography if you are highly motivated, eager to learn, and can read and write at the upper high school or college level.