Arts FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

You know that question you've been really wanting to ask?


Your answers may be here!  These are some questions that often come up.  You may also find helpful forms located here.  If you need more information on any item, please contact the Director of Fine and Performing Arts at


NOTE:  The first few questions are specific to the protocols for the arts under the 2021-2022 reopening plan.

Reopening Question 1:  Will our students be able to sing in school this year?

Yes!  We will continue to monitor guidance from state and national organizations for changes, but based on the latest guidance we are able to sing again safely together in person with masking and social distancing measures in place. 

Reopening Question 2:  What about instrumental lessons and ensembles?

After being extremely limited last school year, we are excited to offer more in-person instrumental classes this year with masking, social distancing, and bell covers for wind instruments to keep everyone safe. While we will not be back to our full program, we are able to offer more beginning instrumental lessons in our elementary schools and allow in-person playing for all instruments in some capacity! We will continue to monitor state and national guidance to provide our students with the best musical education possible while prioritizing safety.

Reopening Question 3:  Will there be performances this year?

While there will continue to be significant adaptations to our pre-pandemic performances, we are excited for the possibility of holding some in-person performances this year! We expect our performance calendar to be significantly reduced, and we are monitoring whether we can invite audiences in person, but under current protocols we expect to have students perform together in-person in some capacity. We're excited to share those performances with you, whether in person or virtually!

1.  At what age do children enrolled in HPS start music and art education?

All students in Kindergarten through 6th grade at any Hamden Public School receive 60 minutes of both music and art instruction each week. Once they enter Hamden Middle School, students are given choices about which art form they would like to study. In high school, students are required to get one full credit in the arts before graduation.  This can be done via classes in visual arts, music, or theatre.  

2.  At what age do children start receiving instruction on a musical instrument?

While students in primary grades are exposed to a variety of instruments including Orff and percussion instruments, we introduce formal instrument study to all students in grade three with the recorder. In grade four, students are given the opportunity to choose an instrument that they would like to study in the brass, woodwind, string or percussion families. Students are given small group instruction on that instrument and many advance into our elementary band or orchestra ensembles.  INSTRUMENT CHOICE FORM

NOTE: 4th grade instrumental programming may be limited for the 21-22 school year due to safety protocols.

3.  How do we obtain an instrument for my child to play in grade four?

There are several ways to obtain an instrument.  A detailed explanation can be found here:  INSTRUMENT VENDOR FORM

Students are encouraged to rent an instrument from a local vendor. We suggest several local vendors including All Things Musical of Hamden and Creative Music of Monroe. Please be careful about buying very cheap instruments on line. They are often substandard and break easily causing more problems than they are worth.  Also, students tend to grow out of instruments quickly. Renting allows them to always have an instrument that fits them at their developmental stage. For students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch, students may rent an instrument through Hamden Public Schools. HPS subsidizes or fully pays for the costs involved in these cases. As students get older, we recommend a "rent-to-own" program through a local vendor. We work very hard to ensure that every student who WANTS to play an instrument is able to play an instrument.  

NOTE: 4th grade instrumental programming may be limited for the 21-22 school year due to safety protocols.

4.  My child is entering THIRD GRADE.  Do we have to buy a recorder?

In order to ensure that all students have the same type of recorder (there are dozens!), we offer students two options. They can purchase a recorder from us for the cost of the recorder (between $5 and $6). That becomes THEIR recorder. They keep it when they are done. It helps build a sense of responsibility and ownership. We encourage this. Students may BORROW a previously used recorder from us (the recorders are thoroughly sanitized) for the year. There is NO CHARGE for this, but if a student loses or destroys the recorder, the parent is responsible for the replacement value (between $5 and $6). Students may also choose to use a recorder purchased for an older sibling. We do suggest that parents check with their music teacher before purchasing one on their own to make sure it is the proper recorder for our instruction.  

5.  What is Recorder Karate?

HPS uses the Recorder Karate method of progression in recorder instruction. Basically, as students become more competent and are able to play more challenging songs, they receive recognition in the form of either a colored band or colored string to attach to their recorder. Most students are motivated to practice in order to obtain the next color "belt". However, this method does not overtake the purpose of recorder instruction in our classrooms. 

6.  Do you accept donations of any kind?

So glad you asked!  YES!!!  YES!!!  We gladly accept donations.  Although not all donations are suitable for our use, we appreciate any offers. Examples of donated items include:  period or specialized clothing (theatre department), new art supplies (art), musical instruments (music), monetary donations (to allow our students to go on field trips etc.). We get many offers each year for piano donations. Unfortunately, most pianos meant for the home are not acceptable for our use. However, the Director of Fine And Performing Arts will look at any piano. We appreciate anyone thinking of us when moving or downsizing. Whenever possible, we accept the donations. Please contact the Director at

7.  Can my child take more than one arts course at the middle school and high school?

At Hamden High School, students can take as many arts courses as can fit into their schedule. With careful planning, a student can take multiple arts courses in a single year. Unfortunately, the schedule at Hamden Middle School restricts what choices a student has. Currently, all students in grade 7 take one art and one music class. In grade 8, students may select only ONE arts elective (band, chorus, orchestra, visual arts).  

as more questions are consistently asked, they will be added to this page.  If you have a question that was not answered, please contact the director of fine and performing arts.  Thank you!