Music Department Vision
While acknowledging that common goals, risk, failure and a safe learning environment are necessary and important aspects of music learning, the members of the music performing ensembles of Quaker Valley High School gain in both musical and personal achievement by continually seeking a greater understanding of music and the lessons learned through music.
A love for what we do drives us to expect that every member of the High School music ensembles will demonstrate that they are responsible, enthusiastic and proactive individuals who pride themselves on their Musicianship, their desire for excellence through self-improvement, and their high levels of involvement and effort.
This is an elective class for high school students who play a traditional band instrument (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, percussion) in grades 9-12. The High School Concert Band provides students of the high school the opportunity to play age/skill level appropriate wind band literature at the highest possible standard. Outside of the school day, students may elect to participate in festival competition and/or other outings related to the goals of the class.
Students who were in Concert Band during the previous school year automatically qualify for Concert Band the following year. All students will audition for the director at the beginning of the school year to determine class seating and individual ability level. The audition is to the advantage of the student as it allows the teacher to better cater the activities of the class to student needs. This audition is mandatory and will count as a test grade.
Band is a class, just like any other academic class—the only difference is the subject matter. Classroom rules still apply:
- Skipping class is a serious offense. If you skip class, you will be referred to the Office and forfeit all participation points for that week. Students who are in both Band and Chorus are responsible for managing their own schedules between those two groups. On “Band Days,” forgetting your instrument is not an excuse to go to Chorus. Attending Band in lieu of Chorus (or vise-versa) will not be tolerated either and will be considered the same as skipping class.
- Band/Chorus Rotation:
- Different rotations for orchestra and chorus will be available for those enrolled in both classes.
- ***When Mr. Wolford is unable to be in school, all band/chorus students will report to band, regardless of the schedule. When Mr. Neville is unable to be in school, all band/chorus students will report to chorus.
- The Band/Chorus rotation will be posted weekly on both teachers’ whiteboards. It is solely the responsibility of orchestra/chorus students to check the schedule.
- Band/Chorus Rotation:
- If you need to leave and don’t have a signed pass from another teacher (or had that teacher communicate with me ahead of time), don’t ask me to go anywhere. I will not call the teacher to verify your whereabouts and I will not allow you leave to get a pass to bring it back to me to sign.
- Having a signed pass from another teacher does not mean I have to let you miss class or will let you miss class.
- To leave class to use the restroom, you need permission to take a lanyard—don’t just leave the room. Leaving the room without a pass will be considered the same as skipping class.
- No gum, food, candy, drinks, etc. are allowed in rehearsals, and you are expected to play an active role in keeping our rehearsal room neat and organized. Water or coffee/tea are exceptions as long as these are not a distraction, trash is disposed of and the room is kept clean. Playing wind instruments after eating can damage the inside of the instrument and require the instrument to be chemically treated. Wind players who have band after lunch should take the time to drink enough water after lunch and before coming to band to ensure their mouths are free from food debris.
- The only items to be placed in your instrument cubby are your music and your instrument. Band lockers are not to be used as lockers for books, backpacks, computers, etc. Instrument and music—THAT’S IT.
- Respectful behavior is a must during rehearsals. We cannot work on music in a noisy environment—you have responsibility in ensuring our success. Disrespectful behavior towards other members of the band is unacceptable.
- School-owned instruments and equipment are provided for those who play instruments that are inconveniently large, too expensive to reasonably be purchased, and/or are unavailable through standard instrument rental programs. Like a textbook, students are responsible for the proper care of these items. Lost items, or items that become damaged beyond normal/reasonable/expected wear and tear will be the financial responsibility of the student. Students who are loaned instruments and their parents/guardians will sign a contract at the beginning of the year outlining the expectations of borrowed instruments and equipment.
- You will be assigned a folder which is your textbook for the class. This includes all music, books and supplementary materials distributed to you. Original copies of music and books are the property of Quaker Valley and any music that becomes lost or is damaged beyond normal wear and tear will be the financial responsibility of the student.
- Students are encouraged to attend the other music concerts in the district and to remain in the audience during concerts that are shared with other ensembles. As members of the music department it is important to support our friends and to support everything in the department. We are a music department, not an orchestra department.
- You’re expected to be in your seat and ready to play no later than 5 minutes after the bell. If you don’t meet this expectation, you will be marked late—even if you are physically present in the room.
- The objectives for each day’s rehearsal will be written on the board when you arrive. Please organize your music appropriately.
- Your band folder is your “textbook” for this class. You must have it every day! Do not rely on a stand partner.
- You need a pencil for class—every day. Do not rely on a stand partner!
- Check your mailbox regularly for new music, handouts, books and other class materials. You may (and are encouraged) to use your mailbox as a place to store class materials.
- Active participation in the class is a must to pass the course.
- “Active participation” includes, but is not limited to; working to one’s full potential, being prepared for class on a daily basis (pencil, music, etc.), and attendance and participation in all band activities and concerts recognized by the school. Daily rehearsal grades will be given for having all necessary class materials, posture, correct instrument position, etc.
- Should you not be able to participate in a concert or otherwise be unable to complete a major grade for exceptional reasons, an extra-credit assignment will be assigned by the director to make up for the deficiency. The assignment must be completed in its entirety for you to pass.
- Should you not be able to participate in a concert or mandatory rehearsal, it is YOUR (not your parents!) responsibility to notify the director by filling out an excusal request found outside the office door.
- Students are expected to practice their music on their own outside of rehearsal. Just as you will be assigned homework in your other classes, there will also be “homework” for Orchestra. In-school rehearsal is a time to be spent on improving the entire ensemble and should not be seen as a “practice session.” There may be periodic playing tests/quizzes throughout the course. Students will always be notified of when there is a formal playing test.
- Cell phones are not to be used and to are to be put away during rehearsal unless being used specifically for tuning and/or fingering charts.
- All other aspects of student expectations for the class shall be according to the Student Handbook.
All performances are mandatory and are graded. All of these events are located under the “Calendar” tab on the high school instrumental music website.
- Winter Concert
- Spring Concerts (Small Ensembles, Combined Band & Orchestra)
- MS Cameo Appearance
- Commencement (Graduating seniors and immediate family members of graduating seniors are excused from having to perform at Commencement).
- Adjudications, Community and/or Educational Concerts—TBD.
Please note that all scheduled concerts will require an additional dress rehearsal during the school day the week of the concert that may require students to miss classes other than band. Rehearsals may also be scheduled immediately after school prior to a performance to facilitate putting together different sections of the same class (i.e. winds and percussion; morning and afternoon string classes, etc.). Such dress rehearsals are mandatory–students are fully excused from their other classes and are given adequate time to make up any missed work.
Players in the Concert Band who accept the responsibility of Principal chairs are required to play in the Symphony Orchestra, which is the ensemble that includes strings, winds and percussion. The purpose of this is to ensure that the requisite amount of winds and percussion needed to have a Symphony Orchestra will be fulfilled, and also to give the Principal chairs in Concert Band solo/leadership opportunities relevant to the work they are asked to do in Concert Band. Additional wind and percussion players may also volunteer for Symphony Orchestra. These additional members may be appointed or auditioned as deemed necessary by Mr. Neville.
Symphony Orchestra will take place in Spring and will generally involve 3-5 after-school rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the concert. Every effort will be made to schedule these rehearsals around the majority of student availability. These rehearsals are mandatory for those who commit to playing in the Symphony Orchestra unless a student has an excuse that would legally excuse them from the school day (illness, academic/athletic obligation, extenuating family circumstances, etc.).
In order to promote student leadership, the title of “principal,” “co-principal” or “assistant principal” player will be granted to students who 1.) demonstrate superior musical ability and personal leadership potential, 2.) request that they be considered for a titled chair during their yearly seating audition and are interested in taking on an active leadership role in the group and 3.) accept the responsibilities of a principal chair. The decision of whether or not to appoint any or all principal chairs is solely at Mr. Neville’s discretion.
Principal chair responsibilities include, but are not limited to: playing in all concerts that involve Symphony Orchestra as described above, assisting with fingerings/stickings/slide positions, leading the section with issues of style/articulation, dynamics and tempo, and setting positive examples of good etiquette, attitude and musicianship.
All “titled” chairs will be asked to attend extra curricular sessions for leadership training up to twice a month and no more than 12 times per school year. These sessions will be scheduled at everyone’s convenience as much as possible and are required for titled chairs. The school excusal policy will apply to sessions that a titled chair cannot attend. Missing more than 3 sessions for any reason may result in that student’s removal from the chair position. Concert Band students with chair titles who are also officers in the Marching Band and/or have been attending Marching Band leadership training and have so far missed fewer than two sessions will not be required to do this.
Dress Code for Performances
- White collared dress shirt with optional necktie, black dress pants, black socks and black dress shoes. Matching black suit jacket or black vest is optional.
- White blouse, sweater or other white dress top within school dress code. Black dress pants or black skirt of an appropriate length (no higher than two inches above the knee). All black dress. Black closed-toed shoes.
When getting ready for any performance…deodorant is good, perfume/cologne are bad. Peers around you may not find your choice of perfume/cologne as enjoyable as you and some students may be allergic to certain fragrances.
Students in the Quaker Valley High School Concert Band receive 1.5 academic credits for their participation in the ensemble. Members of the Concert Band who are also in the Marching Band will receive 1.5 honors credits for their participation in both ensembles (the term for students who are in both Marching Band and Concert Band is Honors Band). The following are examples of graded items:
- Rehearsals/Class Participation/Preparation
- Performances, exams and assignments:
- Yearly Seating Audition
- Rehearsal Reviews
- Concert Reviews
- Etudes/Playing Homework
- Marching Band Rehearsals and Performances (For Honors Band members only)
Grades for performances and rehearsals are based upon execution, preparedness and conduct as outlined under “Expectations” above. All scheduled performances and rehearsals will be graded and are mandatory.