The instrumental program at Johns Hill is accessible to students in every grade. Beginning in Kindergarten, students have the opportunity to take Suzuki Violin or Cello lessons. Taught by Mrs. Rai, a string specialist in the Decatur Public Schools, these students perform at concerts and contests throughout their time as Suzuki students.
Beginning in the 4th grade, students are able to begin traditionally-instructed lessons on any string instrument: Violin, Viola, Cello or Bass. Students meet weekly for small-group lessons and also participate in concerts and festivals hosted by the district.
Fifth grade students often take advantage of playing a band instrument: Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba and Percussion. Like beginning orchestra, students meet weekly for small group lesson and play in school concerts. The goal of the beginning band is to familiarize the student with reading traditional notation as well as becoming proficient on an instrument.
The 6th Grade Band is comprised of students that continue with their instruments into middle school. Meeting every other day, opposite of choir, it is designed to further enhance the students' musicality and music literacy. The 6th grade band performs more difficult music as well as serving as a transition to the 7th/8th grade band.
The 7th/8th grade band is comprised of both 3rd and 4th year players. Playing more difficult music, students refine their skills as players and begin to learn more advanced music theory as well as polishing their music reading skills. Students in this group often go on to claim top spots in local High School bands, as well as their annual performance at Six Flags St. Louis' Music in the Parks festival.
The Middle School Orchestra is made up of 6th, 7th and 8th grade string players, some of whom have played since Kindergarten Suzuki lessons. They also polish their music reading skills and play music from many different time periods, including the Classical to Modern. Students here have the opportunity to play in district and state-wide festivals as well as performing at the Six Flags St. Louis Music in the Parks festival every May.