Band in High School

How does high school band work?

CONCERT BAND is a class that meets daily.  Students receive a grade for participation/performance.

  • 2 concerts, one winter and one spring
  • Few required afterschool rehearsals or events

MARCHING BAND is an extracurricular activity (like a sport or club).

  • Week-long summer camp
  • Regular practices after school in the fall, August through early November
  • Football games, September through early November
  • A few practices in the spring for parades

If a student misses a school day for a band trip (which is rare), it is handled exactly the same as when students miss for sports events, field trips with other classes, etc.  Students are allowed to make up all work.

The band program has many high achieving students. They take honors classes and AP courses and make high grades. Some students are highly involved with the specialty program, such as veterinary or research science. Yes, you can do all of our activities and also get good grades, take honors classes, etc. All it takes is careful planning and flexibility in scheduling. Before taking high school classes, it is helpful to start planning ahead for your four-year plan.

Get the most from your high school band experience

  • Be as involved as possible. Those who do a variety of activities develop stronger friendships and bonds, have more fun, and develop their skills faster than those who have limited participation.
  • What you give is what you get. If you want to experience great performances, you must take the time to prepare. Learning your parts quickly allows more focus during ensemble rehearsals on musical style. Waiting until the last minute to prepare for a performance or for an audition typically ends in frustration. Excessive absences also take away from the finished product. Be a productive member in order to gain the greatest benefit.
  • COMMUNICATE. Visit the band website often, sign up for any band social media outlets (Facebook, Remind101), put our events on your calendar, e-mail the band director with questions/conflicting dates, open and read emails from the director, and attend meetings. We can work through almost any conflict, but not if we are unaware of the problem until the last few days or hours prior to the event(s). Check calendars early and frequently. Talk with ALL parties involved if there is an issue. Please don’t try to manipulate the situation by playing the coaches, sponsors, or teachers against each other. We have a dedicated and very cooperative faculty and are flexible with all situations. As soon as you know about conflicts, e-mail the director.
  • While there are many “good reasons” to miss scheduled activities, all of them cannot be excused when it comes to varsity letter requirements, or continued participation in our extra activities. If it falls under the parameters of a school district recognized reason for excused absence, then it will be honored, no questions asked. We try to be as flexible as possible with other situations, but it is difficult to excuse everything. Sometimes, our activity needs to take precedence for a particular performance. Absences from a band performance hurt ALL the other kids. They can’t perform at their best with parts missing.
  • Be careful with social media! This applies to parents as well as students. You can present yourself in a positive manner or in a very negative context. Those who use social media to vent often misrepresent facts and can damage our activity by spreading false information in a public forum.
  • Don’t believe rumors and don’t create them! Ask the people in charge of the activity, go to the source, and please avoid speculation stated as fact.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Private lessons are the key to rapid improvement of skills. Nearly every musician in the All-State Bands and Orchestras study with a private teacher. One-on-one advice and assistance is the fastest way to improve!

Information for Parents

  • Volunteer! You can gain a lot by being around the process. You will get to know the students, see the progress, and make friends among the other parents in our activity. We can always use assistance with everything from chaperoning to equipment crew, fundraising to event coordination. There’s a place for everyone. Find the thing you enjoy doing and help out in that aspect of the band program.
  •  Be a “receiver” of communication. Just as a star quarterback needs talented receivers, we need for folks to get the information that we make available. We use several means to communicate. All we can do is get the information out there. You have to be our “receiver” in order for us to complete the pass.
  • Be flexible. In any program, things do not always go exactly as planned. An event gets rained out…a bus is late…a football game goes into overtime. Many times, we have no control over these situations. When we get a last minute change of plans, we will let you know the moment things get sorted out. Once calendars are published, every effort is made to stick to those schedules. Unfortunately, emergencies arise, events get cancelled (or new events get added at the last minute) and these are totally out of our control. We are in a fluid situation and must sometimes adjust plans accordingly.
  • Band is not a discipline tool for bad grades or behavior problems at home. We need all members fulfilling their performance obligations. If your student allows their grades to fall, then take away computers, TV, Facebook, cell phones, Instagram, etc. Take away car privileges, cancel prom attendance, sell their tickets to the concert or play that they are planning to attend, WHATEVER…but please don’t mess up the remaining student’s efforts and performance by creating a gap in the music or routines by pulling your kid out of band. Yes, we know that they enjoy band and taking away something they enjoy can manipulate them into doing better, but when it affects the rest of the group, we need to search for better solutions.
  • You are our best audience. Nothing is more disappointing to a teenager than spending weeks getting ready for a performance, then looking out and seeing mostly empty seats. Come to the performances; applaud loudly the efforts of the performers. Sit together at marching band events. Promote your band program. Invite relatives, friends, and potential future band members to the concerts and performances. We need big crowds!
  • We need parent involvement. There are hundreds of little activities that can be done with a minimum time and effort investment. Uniforms need to be inventoried, handed out, collected, and stored. There are many events to chaperone. There is equipment to be moved for performances. You could help with hospitality for an event. Helping assemble packets for registration, trips, etc. might be your thing. Making some phone calls to prospective members can be done in your spare time. Perhaps you can help decorate for a banquet. Do you like working with media? How about band yearbook, website, or newsletters? Maybe you could be a driver to take kids to speak at the middle schools during recruiting visits. Are you handy with tools? Help out with building props for marching band or helping maintain equipment used all year long. No task too small…all help appreciated!

Adapted from G. Gribble and J. Rudolph from the Alan C. Pope HS Band.

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