Director’s Welcome – Jim Adkins

Welcome to the New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark Counties! I am excited about meeting you and welcoming you in person to our family of Music Lovers! At this time, I want to share with you some important information that will make your first visit with us easy and very enjoyable.

We all agree that there is no such thing as a dumb question so please feel free to ask any of us at any time about something that may not be clear to you. You may  send an email directly to me, or you may call me on my cell phone (330.858.2045). Nothing like hearing it directly from the horse’s mouth!

We are a group of people who love music. Some of us had never played a musical instrument before joining New Horizons. Some had not played for many years. Some were already musicians. Whichever group you fall into, we hope you will have a terrific time with us. That’s our objective, to make music, have fun, and enjoy ourselves.

We are a local chapter of the New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA), a nationwide organization consisting of many New Horizons bands, orchestras and other ensembles. (Click here to visit their website for additional information about NHIMA).

Our local “chapter” consists of a band, a separate group for beginners, a jazz ensemble, and a string ensemble all consisting of members from CantonCuyahoga FallsNorton, and surrounding areas. Please join us for a couple of practices to decide if this is something you would like to do. You will find, within our website, additional information such as our rehearsal locations with times and directions, concert locations and more. See the links to our various pages located at the top of each page. As a member of the New Horizons Band, you may participate in any or all classes and rehearsals that we have scheduled which are listed on the Calendar.

All members (strings, brass, woodwinds, & percussion) provide their own instruments. If you are just beginning and do not own an instrument please contact me directly. We are privileged to have many music stores and studios in our area that can provide a rental instrument for you at a reasonable price.

We recommend that you start out with a rental instrument which we are sure you will want to purchase after you attend several rehearsals and experience how much fun it really is to play in our groups. 

Every member also purchases their own copy of the Lesson Book that we use. The brass, wind, and percussion players use “The Standard of Excellence” series by Bruce Pearson (current members are now using book number two). This book should correspond to the instrument you are playing. (example, trumpet players need the book written for trumpet, clarinet players need a clarinet book, etc.). Book one is red and is published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company. You can get this book at any music store that sells band instruments. If you are renting or purchasing an instrument, you can deal with local instrument stores, however, our Sponsor is always willing to help.

Music stores are listed in the yellow pages. Department or discount store instruments are usually a bad purchase. Call me if you have questions. All of our members also supply their own music stand which can be purchased at the same store as your lesson book and instrument. 

String players use “ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS” series written by Robert Gillespie. It also comes specific to the instrument that you are learning (example, violin should purchase a violin book, cello a cello book, etc.). This book is published by Hal Leonard Music Company. String players will also need their own music stand.

Other supplies that each of us supply for ourselves include pencils, reeds, mutes, and cleaning materials that are specific to each instrument. Sheet music is provided by the instructor or director and it is from this collection of tunes that we prepare and perform our concert literature. You will keep this sheet music either in the folder that we supply for you, or in a book or binder of your choice. This music, along with your lesson book and a pencil, must be brought to every class, rehearsal, or performance.

We have official New Horizons shirts that we wear as our uniform during our many concert performances. Each member pays a monthly fee of $28.00. This fee goes toward offsetting rental fees, music, and supply costs, and part of our instructional costs. Your membership fee registers you as a New Horizons Band or Orchestra member. Membership fee payments can be made by credit card or direct deposit to our account.

Although we recommend that you attend at least one class or rehearsal each week, please understand that we know folks are busy. Sometimes it’s just not possible. THAT’S OK! Some of our folks come one or two times a week and others can only come twice a month. That’s not a problem. 

If you do not know how to read music do not let that stop you, there are numerous web sites that offer free instruction on Music Theory. Just go to a search web site like, enter Music Theory in the search field, choose a web site and have fun learning. The beginner classes will cover Music Theory, but if you come with some knowledge, it will be more enjoyable for you.

Remember:  if something is not clear, call me at 330.858.2045 or click here to send an email.