Cedar Valley Middle School

Band Handbook

2016 – 2017

CEDAR VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the CeVMS Band Handbook is to serve as a guide and a source of information for students and parents in the CeVMS Band program.  Every band students is given a copy of this handbook at the beginning of the year and it is essential that students and parents read the handbook thoroughly.  Information, policies, and expectations are addressed in this handbook.  Please take the time to read the following pages.  The overall program will benefit through a greater understanding of our policies and develop better parent, teacher, and student relationships.  However, this handbook cannot possibly cover every detail of the CeVMS Band program.  If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

ATTENDANCE

Performances

The Round Rock ISD School Board has determined that band is a performing art and that performances are an extension of class time.  Performance is the ultimate goal in band.  It is essential that students participate in all performances.  An unexcused absence from any performance or required rehearsal will severely affect the student’s grade.  The band department follows school policy in determining the status of an absence.  The following policy will be used for performances and scheduled (required) rehearsals.

***If a student must be absent from any required band event, a parent must inform a band director in writing before the event occurs in order for the absence to be excused.

1 – Students with an excused absence will be required to complete an “alternative assignment” with a 90 being the highest grade attainable. A form to report an absence is available online at the band website, cevmsband.org

Examples of excused absences: sickness, family illness, hospitalization, death in the family, etc.

Non school events are not an excused absence.  Please put all band calendar dates on your personal calendar at home so that potential conflicts can be avoided.  A band calendar has been given to all students.

2 – An unexcused absence from a performance or a required rehearsal will result in the student receiving a grade of zero for the event. A grade of zero for an unexcused absence will remain intact unless the student completes an “alternative assignment” with a 70 being the highest grade attainable. In addition, the citizenship grade will be an automatic “unsatisfactory” for the grading period.

3 – With continued unexcused absences the student may be removed from the performing organization after review with all parties involved and with approval from the administration.

The grading policy given above will also be in effect.

BAND HALL GUIDELINES

  1. Please refrain from all food, drink, gum, or candy in the Band Hall unless approved by a band director. Bottled water is allowed in the band hall.
  1. Running and horseplay in the Band Hall is strictly prohibited.
  1. Respect the Band Hall furniture and electrical equipment at all times. Writing on the dry-erase board, music stands, risers, and/or chairs is strictly prohibited.  Students are not allowed to use the metronome, tuner, or harmony director without director permission.
  1. Only percussion students have permission to touch the percussion equipment at any time.
  1. Touching or holding another student’s instrument is not allowed, even with the other student’s permission.
  1. For your security as well as to practice, instruments and band binders are required to go home every night. Unless you have a home instrument and you have informed directors.
  1. Cell phone use is prohibited unless you are using the “Tonal Energy App” for class.

BAND PLACEMENT AND PROMOTION

At the end of the current school year, all sixth and seventh grade band students will audition for placement in the Honors, Symphonic, and Concert Bands for the following school year.  Auditions may consist of scales, prepared music, and solo.  The audition will also serve as the Final Exam grade for the end of the year.

Throughout the year, seventh and eighth grade students may be promoted to a higher band at the discretion of the band directors, if the schedule will allow it.  This action is based on the following criteria:

  • The overall performance of the student—instrumental performance as well as behavior/attitude
  • The instrumentation needs in all performing groups
  • The student’s ability to succeed and to retain his/her self-respect in the performing group—his/her ability to consistently perform at the level of expectation for the group
  • Approval from Administration and Counselors

CEDAR VALLEY MS BANDS

Beginning Band: In the sixth grade, the emphasis in band is on learning the fundamentals of music and the basic skills required in order to play an instrument.  Mastery of these fundamental skills leads to further development of higher level skills which will enable students to progress smoothly through the band program.  Seventh and Eighth grade beginners are admitted when class size and scheduling will permit it.

Honor/Symphonic/Concert Bands:  In the seventh and eighth grade, students continue to perfect skills while learning new and more challenging aspects of music and performance.  There is a greater emphasis on competition for individuals as well as groups.  The CeVMS performing bands are open to all seventh and eighth grade band students by audition.  Placement in a performing band will be determined by the instrumentation needs of the ensemble and the individual student’s attitude, conduct, and playing ability.  The performing bands represent CeVMS at various events, times, and places throughout the year.

Required Rehearsals:  Band is a part of the school curriculum and meets daily as a scheduled class.  Beginning Band students will have two required after-school rehearsals to prepare for concerts.  You can find these dates on the Band Calendar.  Students in Honor Band, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band will have regularly scheduled sectionals outside the school day one (1) time per week, either before or after school. There may also be other scheduled rehearsals in preparation for the UIL Concert & Sight-reading Evaluation and any other contests we may enter.  Absences:  An unexcused absence from a rehearsal, sectional, performance, or scheduled event may result in a lower chair placement or the transfer out of the performing group.

CONTESTS

All-District and All-Region Band/Orchestra Auditions:  Seventh and eighth grade students may audition for the All-District and All-Region Bands and Orchestras.  Try-out music is given to all 7th and 8th grade students during the first week of school.  Students in the Honor Band and Symphonic Band have achieved the level of musical skill necessary to perform this music and are required to participate in the audition process.  Students in the Concert Band are strongly encouraged to participate in the audition process, especially those taking lessons.  Our students compete with students from other schools in our region and are ranked according to their performance at the audition.  The top ranking students at the All-Region try-out will participate in a two-day clinic with a respected guest conductor.  The clinic will culminate in an All-Region Band Concert.

***Entry fees are to be paid by the student. Cost per contest: $7.00

Solo & Ensemble:  Students in Honors, Symphonic, and Concert Bands are required to participate in the RRISD Solo & Ensemble Contest.  Students will perform either a solo (individual) or as a part of a small group (ensemble) for a judge who will rate the performance on the following scale: I (Superior), II (Excellent), III (Good), and IV (Fair).  Students in the Honor Band are required to perform a solo for this contest.  Students in the Symphonic & Concert Band are required to participate in a solo or an ensemble.  Ensemble participation by all 7th & 8th grade students is strongly encouraged.

***Entry fees are to be paid by the student. Cost per event: $7.00

***Solos must be accompanied by a live piano player to be paid by the student: $30.00

U.I.L. Concert & Sight-reading Evaluation:  Students in Honors, Symphonic, and Concert Bands participate in the U.I.L. Concert & Sight-reading Evaluation in the Spring.  Each band will perform three prepared pieces for three judges who will rate the overall performance on a scale of one (I) to five (V), with I being Superior.  After the Concert performance, the band will move to another room where they will perform a piece of music they have never seen before.  Another panel of three judges will rate the Sight-reading performance on a scale of one (I) to five (V).

Spring Festival/Trip: Students in Honors, Symphonic, and Concert Bands are required to participate in the Spring Festival and Trip to San Antonio, TX. All bands will perform three prepared pieces for 3 judges who will rate the overall performance on a scale of (I) to three (III), with I being Superior. After the Concert performances, the bands will travel to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

***Festival/Trip fees are to be paid by the student. Cost per student: $125.00

ELIGIBILITY

State law does not allow a student to participate in any U.I.L. sponsored event (district or region) or any other extracurricular activity unless all grades on the six-weeks report card are 70 or above.  Students with a failing grade on the report card will remain ineligible for a period of three weeks, at which time the student will regain eligibility if all grades on the IPR (interim progress report) are 70 or above.  Students who fail a class are eligible to participate in co-curricular events, such as concerts, where no admission is charged.  Football games and trips are considered extra-curricular activities.

FUNDRAISING

Although the CeVMS Band program receives funding through the school district and from the RRHS and McNeil HS Band Boosters, these funds must be supplemented to enable our band to function at a continued standard of excellence.  Each year our band students participate in a fundraising activity.  The items to be sold are determined by the band directors.  Profits from the fundraiser go towards travel, music contests, social events, incentives, and awards.  **If you do not wish for your child to participate in a fundraising activity, please notify the band directors by e-mail, phone, or a written note.  Donations will also be accepted in lieu of fundraiser participation.  The amount of donation is completely up to you.

GRADING SYSTEM

Cedar Valley Middle School Band program uses a grading system which evaluates each student’s progress in technical mastery of his/her instrument as well as the student’s progress in social and work skills such as preparation, responsibility, and self-discipline.  Grades will be taken in each category below and averaged together for the final six weeks grade.  Some test scores may be given added value, and the students will be informed ahead of time when this will occur.

  1. HOMEWORK (15%) – Each student will receive a Practice Report to fill out every week.  Full credit will only be given with a parent signature.  Please see the Practice Report for grading criteria.
  2. ASSESSMENT (50%) – These grades will include playing tests, written tests, sectionals, rehearsals, concerts, performances, etc.
  3. PREPARATION (20%) – Students begin each grading period with a 100.  The grade is reduced 5 points each time the student does not bring the proper equipment or materials to class and the student will lose one chair position.
  4. DAILY GRADES/SECTIONALS (15%) – This may consist of written assignments, pencil checks, numbering measures, etc.
  5. RETEST POLICY – Students may retest for a higher grade within the current grading period. Retesting will change the student grade but will not change a chair position.

INSTRUMENT IDENTIFICATION

Every student must have his/her name fastened to his/her instrument case.  Percussion students must label all of their equipment with their name, including sticks and mallets.

INSTRUMENT STORAGE

Each student will be assigned a locker located in the Band Hall to store his/her instrument and band binder during the school day. All students will be issued a green band lock. Students who misplace or lose this lock will be required to pay a replacement fee of $7.00. Only band locks may be used on band lockers (no locks from home.) Students are expected to keep their instrument in their assigned locker.  Overnight storage of instruments is prohibited, except for students with an assigned school instrument. There will be no sharing of lockers. Students may not leave backpacks and other school books in their locker.  Please use your school locker for those needs.

MATERIALS

All band students are required to have a 1.5 inch 3-ring binder, pencil bag, pencil (used for band class only), pocket metronome-tuner, and tuner lead.  Band students will also be required to keep all music handouts, music books, and written assignments in their Band Binder at all times.

PRACTICING

Practicing is most crucial to a band student’s success.  The amount of practice required will vary from person to person as some need more than others in order to learn assignments and to improve on their instrument.  Quality of practice is more important than quantity; therefore it is important that students practice correctly with a systematic approach to their daily practice.  Select a time of day that will be free from interruptions and try to practice at the same time every day.  Find a quiet place where you will be comfortable and relaxed.  Set a goal for each practice setting and stick to it.  Do not spend valuable time playing through the parts that you have already mastered; instead concentrate on the difficult parts.  Slow, steady practice will pay off much more quickly than trying to play things as fast as possible; this will only result in errors. Practice reports will be completed through MUSICFIRST an online software suite and submitted weekly.

SCHOOL OWNED INSTRUMENTS

Students are responsible for the care and maintenance of the school owned instruments that they are using.  If the instrument is damaged while in possession or responsibility of the student, they must pay the repair cost to put the instrument back into its original condition. RRISD will charge a yearly usage fee of $50 that goes directly to the district.  

STUDENT BEHAVIOR

Minor behavior violations and disciplinary problems will be handled by the teacher who observes the misbehavior.  The teacher may discuss the misbehavior with the parent, administrator, and/or support personnel.  If the problem persists, a more severe response will be necessary.  The parent will be contacted and a conference will be scheduled.  The Round Rock ISD Discipline Management Plan will be followed in all cases (see Student Handbook).

STUDENT EXPECTATIONS

  1. The student is expected to be on time, to enter the band hall quietly, to have all materials daily, and to participate in the class in a positive manner.
  1. The student is to be seated in his/her assigned seat, with all class materials, no later than 2 minutes of the tardy bell.
  1. The student will demonstrate good citizenship, be courteous, and will respect teachers, guests, and other students and their property.
  1. The student is expected to play or touch their instrument only.  Students will be held responsible for any damage they do to another student’s instrument.
  1. The student is expected to ask for and to make up all missed work in a timely manner.
  1. The student is expected to take his/her instrument home daily.
  1. The student is expected to participate in all required band functions.  These include concerts, contests, festivals, special events, pep rallies, etc.  You will always be informed well in advance of these events so that conflicts may be avoided.  Most dates have already been scheduled and you can find them on the Band Calendar.

Download this handbook