Student Life

Welcome to the ISB Music Program!

Learning to play a musical instrument actually makes you smarter! Years of scientific research on the brain have revealed that disciplined practice p laying a musical instrument engages and strengthens all areas of the brain, including auditory, visual, and motor areas, allowing us to apply those strengths to other activities. This youtube video describes how learning to play a musical instrument helps to build executive function in the brain which is important for critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. The ISB Music Program offers private lessons with highly trained and professional musicians. Program organizers collaborate with ISB music teachers to engage qualified instructors for all ability levels, whether students are taking up a new instrument or are seeking advanced tuition. Parents and siblings can enroll as well, when time slots are available.

The ISB Music Program offers lessons in the following:

  • Clarinet
  • Flute
  • French Horn
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Piano
  • Viola/Violin
  • Voice

If there is enough interest in other instruments, an attempt will be made to hire teachers to offer lessons.

Choosing an Instrument

Which instrument is right for my child?

Choosing the right instrument for your child needn’t be a nightmare. Most children will begin on one of a handful of instruments: piano, recorder, violin or cello.You will want to make sure they are comfortable with the instrument. Some instruments are better for younger players. The recorder, for instance, is easy to handle. Some stringed instruments are available in smaller versions for beginners. Instruments involving breathing, like brass and woodwind, should be learned later, when the child has the strength to blow and the second set of teeth has appeared.


  • Take your children to hear live music to find out about different instruments. Encourage them to think about the genres that interest them.
  • Consider the physical capabilities of the child. For example, asthmatics might not do well with a wind instrument, children with braces often find brass instruments painful to play, and older children with longer arms might do better with big instruments like the trombone. Finding a comfortable fit is important.
  • Try before you buy – if possible.
  • Think about where your child will fit in. For example, there are often more clarinet and flute pupils than there are groups for them to play in, while bassoonists and oboists are scarcer, and so might enjoy more opportunities. Bass players are also rarely short of a gig, unlike their guitar-playing counterparts.
  • Think about practical considerations: do you have cost limitations, will the noise disturb the neighbors, have you got room for your child to practice, how do you get the instrument from the lesson to your house?

Important Dates

Lessons through the IMP are held when ISB is in session and follow the academic school year. August 2018 – June 2019

August 18, 2018 Community Activities Information Day
August 14 – August 25, 2018 Online registration for first semester or school year
August 27, 2018 First semester lessons begin
December 2018 First semester lessons end, dates adjusted for make-up lessons
January 7 – January 18, 2019 Online registration for 2nd semester
January 21, 2019 Second semester lessons begin
May 2019 Second semester lessons end, dates adjusted for make-up lessons
May 11, 2019 ISB Music Festival
May 20 – May 31, 2019 Pre-registration for 2019-20 offered to returning students

Practicing at Home

A Guide to Great Home Music Practice

Teachers cannot make you a better musician; they can only tell you how to improve. The actual improvement, you have to do yourself, and mostly on your own time. Lesson time is for you to show your teacher your progress and get instruction on how to improve. Group rehearsal times (band, orchestra, choir) are mainly for the improvement of the group and for practicing playing together. Performances (individual or group) are for letting everyone enjoy the progress you have made. None of these times are ideal for actually making progress, so even if you show up for every lesson, rehearsal, and performance, you will have no time to improve! Individual music practice is absolutely necessary if you want to become a better musician. Your teacher should give you guidelines on how often and how long to practice as well as what to practice. If you do not have a private teacher or if the guidelines are vague, you will find some useful tips here. It is important not just to practice, but to practice well. You can practice daily and still make very slow progress if you are not practicing well. To make the most progress with the least effort, your individual practice time should include the following:

1. Set Goals What are your long-term goals as a musician? Knowing what you want to do will help you decide what you need to work on and help you set your medium- and short-term goals. For example, what do you need to do be able to do to make first chair or to start your own rock band? Improve your range, your reading ability, your tone quality, your tuning, your bowing or fingering technique? What method books would be most helpful? What less-difficult pieces will prepare you to play the pieces you can’t play yet? If it’s difficult for you to decide what you need to work on, ask your teacher, your director, or another musician you respect for advice. Your medium-term goals, plus any performances or lessons coming up soon, will determine your goals for each practice session. You must be prepared for lessons, rehearsals, and concerts; and your director and teacher have chosen materials that will help you become a better musician. If you do not have any lesson materials to work on, and your ensemble music is easy for you, then find materials that challenge you in the areas that you need to be challenged. Stay focused on what you want to accomplish right now, today, and on how that will help you get where you want to be.

2.  Set Practice Times Your teacher or director should tell you how often and how long your individual practice times should be. If not, keep in mind two general rules: practicing often is more important than having lengthy practices, and the better you are, the more you have to practice to improve. Practicing every day is ideal. Skipping a day occasionally won’t hurt, and may even be necessary to rest your muscles and keep you fresh and excited about playing. However, skipping a day on a regular basis is not conducive to making progress. If you are pressed for time, just doing your warm-ups or cool-downs is better than skipping a day. Young musicians and other beginners do not need long practices to make progress, while a sixteen-year-old pianist who has been playing for more than ten years may need to practice more than an hour a day to make further progress. Professionals practice several hours a day.

3.  Warm Up Playing a musical instrument is a physical activity and warming up is just as important to the musician as it is to the athlete. Warm-ups may feel like a waste of time, but you can turn them into some of the most productive minutes of your practice. Consider doing scales as warm-ups. If you find this boring, do the hard ones (how are your D flat major and C sharp melodic minor scales?), or do jazz scales. Want to have a great practice? When you’re working on the hard stuff, it can be difficult to remember to play with your best tone quality and musicianship. It’s a lot easier on the easy stuff. Sure it’s only scales, arpeggios, or long tones, but try playing them with the best tone quality, best technique, and best musicality you have. This will make warming up a little more interesting, but the big payoff comes later; you will play with a better tone quality and musicianship later in your practice.

4.  Work on It Once you are warmed up, get out the hard stuff and work on it. Some tips for improving as fast as possible:

  • Don’t practice it wrong! Don’t play wrong notes, leave notes out, or play wrong rhythms. This just teaches you to play it wrong. If it’s too difficult to play right, slow it down enough that you can play all the notes in rhythm, correctly, no matter how slow this is. When you can play it correctly slowly, start speeding it up, but never practice it at a speed that you can’t handle.
  • Don’t just play through your music. Skip the easy parts; they’re easy! Find the hard parts, slow them down, and practice them until you can play them right at the right tempo.
  • If there’s something you just can’t play at all (a high note, for example), make it part of your warm-up. Find an exercise that makes it easier to get to that note (or to double-tongue, or to do that giant slur) and do it every day the easy way. Eventually it will start showing up in the harder music, too.

5.  Cool Down While you were practicing the hard parts of your music, you may have become tense or frustrated, or forgotten to play musically or with good tone quality or technique. End your practice time by playing or singing something you like that is easy for you. Relax and “perform” it for yourself, playing with your very best technique and musicianship. During this part of your practices, develop a “repertoire” of music that you feel very comfortable and confident playing or singing. Then you’ll always have something ready if people ask for a performance.

6.  Evaluate What progress did you make on the difficult stuff during this session? What should you work on in your next practice time? When you are playing something that is difficult for you, you are so involved that it is difficult to listen objectively, too. But, do you believe a particular piece is ready for your next rehearsal or lesson? You’ll get more feedback on it then. If not, consider recording yourself, at least occasionally, so that you get a chance to sit back and listen to yourself. Don’t be hypercritical, but be objective: this is good, that is what needs work. Again, if a teacher is not available to help, play whenever possible for your director or other musicians and listen for useful feedback. Adapted from an article by Catherine Schmidt-Jones,


For the academic year 2018-19, ISB Music Program offers lessons in the following instruments:

Mr. Benz (Piano)
Mr. Best (Flute)
Mr. Boat (Guitar)
Ms. Candy (Piano)
Ms. Dontra (Saxophone)
Ms. Fah (Piano)
Ms. Kae (Piano)
Mr. Lester (Drum)
Ms. Nat (French Horn)
Mr. Nin (Saxophone)
Mr. Nung (Flute)
Ms. Peach (Piano)
Ms. Pleng (Piano)
Ms. Pook (Piano)
Ms. Qing (Piano)
Mr. Seem (Piano)
Dr. Siriporn (Flute)
Mr. Unn (Piano)
Ms. Vanisa (Violin/Viola)
Ms. View (Violin)
Ms. Waranya (Clarinet)
Mr. Wirote (Trumpet)
Ms. Won Kang (Flute)
Dr. Yos (Clarinet)

Program & Registration


The ISB Music Program (IMP) was designed to offer as many students as possible a chance to benefit from individual study on a variety of instruments and voice. The program is open to all in the ISB community, including students, parents, siblings, and teachers, with priority given first to ISB students. Student placement is determined by the student’s and the instructor’s schedules. Students may choose 30-, 45-, or 60-minute lessons, in a private or group setting, meeting once or twice a week. All lessons are held on the ISB campus.We hope that students enrolled in this program will consider the commitment a serious one. In order to receive the maximum benefit possible from the lessons, students should practice regularly and attend lessons on time. The teachers, who are professionals on their respective instruments, are making a time commitment, and full cooperation will help to maintain our excellent teaching staff.

How to Register

The IMP registration is done online on a first-come and first-service basis. Information about online registration will be sent out each semester through the ISB e-newsletter in early August and early January. Returning families can pre-register for the coming semester at the end of each semester and will be notified through a separate email. During August registration, families may choose between registering for the entire school year or for one semester. Registration is complete once full payment is made in cash, credit card or by check payable to “International School Association”.


Finding a good value when purchasing an instrument can be difficult, and some parents have questions about which instrument their child should learn. The teachers and specialists are happy to give advice about obtaining an instrument.


An important component in developing musical skills is to perform in front of an audience. An informal recital is held at the end of the academic school year to allow students of all playing abilities to showcase their progress.


Refunds of the pre-registration fee or the program fee will not be given, except in the event of long-term illness/injury or unscheduled transfer out of the country. In these cases, refunds will be made on a pro-rata basis.

Missed Classes and Make-up Policy

If the student knows of a conflict with a scheduled lesson, i.e. an ISB sports event, art or cultural event, or school trip, the IMP Coordinator must be notified within 48 hours by email, and a make-up lesson will be scheduled. If the IMP Coordinator is not notified within 48 hours, no makeup lesson will be offered. In the event of a medical emergency or illness, please notify the IMP Coordinator by email BEFORE the scheduled lesson time if possible. Make-up lessons will be offered at the discretion of the IMP Coordinator.


Students are encouraged to undergo periodic musical examinations run by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). Working towards these exams encourages practice and helps students to set goals. Students who wish to take an ABRSM exam should discuss this with the instrumental teacher to find out which grade is appropriate and whether he or she is ready for such a challenge