Wednesday, July 29, 2015

6th grade band start-up booklet

Instrument Decisions

Student complete:                                 Name:_______________________________________
I am most interested in these three instruments:


2. _____________________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________________

I plan to:  (Circle one)

Use a school-owned instrument

My parents own this instrument:  ____________________________                                                   
My parents will rent one from a music store

I will use one from another source not listed here

Teacher use only:  rate mouthpiece testing on a 1 – 5 scale with
5 = excellent sound and 1= not a good fit.

Trumpet:              5               4               3               2               1

Trombone/          5               4               3               2               1

Clarinet:                5               4               3               2               1

Saxophone:          5               4               3               2               1

Flute:                       5               4               3               2               1
Teacher Recommendation or comments:

Instrument User Agreement turned in: _________     Paid:  $____.______

Northwest Middle School

Beginning Band
Start-up Booklet
6th Grade

Frequently Asked Questions

What instrument am I going to play?
            This depends on three variables: 
1.     After doing the mouthpiece testing in class, which instrument is the best fit for you?
2.     What instruments are available and what composes an ideal instrumentation in a band? 
3.     Which instrument are you the most interested in and how do your personality characteristics affect your instrument choice?

(If you already own an instrument, for convenience sake, that instrument will likely be the best option for you.)

Does playing in school band cost money?
Yes, there is a financial commitment.    We are fortunate to be in a district where they have a significant amount of instruments for us to use.  There is a $40 yearly instrument user fee to use those.  This fee includes some start up instrument supplies, as well.  However, some instruments have some supply needs that are ongoing, and will cost a few dollars throughout the year as needed.  (example:  reeds.)
Because of the large amount of students wishing to participate in band, we don’t always have enough instruments for everyone and some will need to share.  However, everyone will have their own mouthpiece and supplies.  Because of this, some families opt to rent from an area music store for a monthly rate, purchase their own instrument, or borrow an instrument from a family member or friend.  This is a great option, however if your instrument source is not from the school, I strongly encourage you to ask Mrs. Reynolds about the quality of that investment.
Available Instrumentation

These are the available instruments in the NWMS 6th grade beginning band.

Flute –                                                         
Clarinet –                                                   
Alto Saxophone –                                                
Tenor Saxophone –                                 
Trumpet –                                                  
Trombone –                                               
Baritone –                                                  

Notes/Questions for Mrs. Reynolds:

Due to popularity of the instrument, we limit the number of saxophone players to balance the overall instrumentation of the band.  This instrument is easy to begin to learn but becomes increasingly more challenging as the student progresses. 

Students who need a quick start at something will likely succeed on this instrument.  Someone who is very detailed and enjoys complex tasks will enjoy this instrument. Students who want to play jazz in their future will like this instrument.

While some success on this instrument comes quickly, to progress on this instrument the student must give a great deal of attention to details and practice regularly.
This is the largest section in the brass family and we will need to start numerous students on this instrument to maintain proper balance.  A consistent commitment to practicing will greatly improve a student’s chance of success on this instrument.

This is an instrument that requires regular practice.   A great deal of demand is placed on the muscles around the lips that help make the sound.  A good work ethic is a necessity.  Students will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to create a buzz that is both high and low at the mouthpiece testing.  Some patience is required as higher notes can be a struggle for many beginners.

Students who will be getting braces in the first year will have a difficult time.  Once the student has progressed some, having braces is less of an issue.  Progress can be slow with this instrument, so a great deal of patience is required.  Certain mouth and lip shapes can present obstacles to the student.

French Horn Potential for future scholarships is great on this instrument.  It’s strongly encouraged that a student takes private lessons for this instrument.  It is the hardest of the brass instruments to start on.

Students who have a good ear will be more successful on this instrument.  Singing experience is a plus.  Students will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to match pitch in the mouthpiece testing.  Students who are bright, hard workers, patient, and who love a challenge.

Students unable to match pitches will struggle on this instrument.  Students who want instant success or do not enjoy a challenge will also struggle.
This is an instrument in high demand for band.  The high school bands need more trombone players and we will be encouraging as many players as is reasonable to play this instrument.  This is the easiest instrument in the brass family to begin to learn, but can be quite challenging as you progress.

This instrument requires a good ear because there are no keys, just a slide.  Students will need to make a sound on the mouthpiece and match pitch.  Students with some previous singing experience are more likely to succeed.  Students who are patient and willing to work hard are also more likely to succeed.  A different instrument, the baritone, has many similarities to the trombone.  Instead of a slide, it has valves. 

This is a larger brass instrument, so students with small statures will struggle with certain aspects of the instrument until they grow.  Students with difficulty hearing different pitches will also struggle.  Progress can also be slow, so patience is required.

This is an instrument in high demand for the band.  Potential for future scholarships is almost limitless on this instrument to a good player. 

This instrument is the most important sound to the band. So we need students who are reliable, dedicated, and can push lots of air into the instrument.

This is the largest of the brass family.  Students may struggle until they grow because it requires a great deal of air.
Percussion **Students are not eligible for percussion during the first half of beginning band.** They will be required to play a brass or woodwind instrument first, and if they achieve the required level of success, they will have the opportunity to audition for percussion after winter break.  We limit the number of percussionists to insure proper instrumentation.

This requires an extremely organized and dedicated student.  It is extremely helpful to have piano experience.  Percussion students will learn many rhythm instruments, starting with snare drum and bells.  Students must also demonstrate good rhythm and tempo.

Students must be able to manage time and practice twice as much as all other band members.  Students who want to only play drums will not enjoy being in the percussion section.

Picking the Right Instrument!
Instrument information
Who will likely succeed on this instrument?
Who might struggle with this instrument?
Due to popularity of the instrument, we limit the number of flute players to balance the overall instrumentation of the band program.  Students will need to show clear potential to be selected.  This is a challenging instrument to begin to learn and requires a great deal of patience and an extremely dedicated student.

Students who can persevere, who are patient, have a good work ethic, and who can quickly make a sound on the mouthpiece testing will likely succeed on this instrument.  Students who enjoy a challenge will love this instrument.

Students looking for instant success, who want to do the minimum amount of work, and who are unable to initially make sound or handle complicated fingering patterns will likely struggle on this instrument.  Certain lip shapes have a hard time on the flute.
The clarinet section is the largest section in most bands.  To maintain this balance, we will need to start numerous clarinet players.  This is an easy instrument to start on but very difficult to master.  There will be an on-going expense of reeds that can be minimized if  taken proper care of.

This is an instrument with lots of keys.  Someone who is very detailed and enjoys complex tasks will enjoy this instrument.  Students who love a challenge will love this instrument.

Students with small hands will struggle with certain aspects of playing this instrument until they grow.  This instrument requires a certain amount of patience as the year progresses because it starts out easy but gets increasingly difficult.

Band and Strings Handbook

Band and Strings Handbook 2015-2016
Mrs. Reynolds
Classroom Blog:

Table of Contents
       Introduction                                                                        3
         Concert Dates                                                                    4
         Classroom Expectations                                                      4
         Daily Procedure                                                                  5
         The 4-Step Consequences                                                  5
         Attendance at Performances                                      6
         Concert Dress for Performances                                         6
         Grading Policy                                                                    6
         SWIK                                                                                7
         What is a Practice Log?                                                      7
         Instrument Storage                                                              7
         Music Parking Violations                                                    7
Usage of School-Owned Instruments and Fees          7
Other Instrument Options                                                    8
         Taking Instruments Home                                                   8
         Method Books                                                                   9
         Sheet Music                                                                       9
         Other Instrumental Music Opportunities                     9
Dear Instrumental Music Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year!!   I am very excited about this upcoming school year and look forward to the valuable opportunities and experiences this year will bring.  In our handbook, you will find policies, procedures, and other important information regarding the Northwest Middle School Instrumental Music Program. Please take the time to read this material. 

I’d like to share with you this quote:

Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them – a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement.  The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” President Gerald Ford
In addition to our rigorous KCK instrumental music curriculum, I strive to incorporate the skills that students will need to live, learn, and thrive in a 21st century environment.  These skills your student will acquire in the Northwest Middle School Instrumental Music Program include: 

1.     Creativity and Innovation
2.     Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
3.     Communicating and Collaborating
4.     Flexibility and Adaptability
5.     Initiative and Self-Direction
6.     Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
7.     Productivity and Accountability
8.     Leadership and Responsibility

Feel free to contact Mrs. Reynolds with any questions or concerns regarding this handbook, or otherwise. 

Musically yours,

Mrs. Heather Reynolds
Northwest Middle School
Instrumental Music Teacher

Concert Dates for 2015 - 2016

Monday, November 9th            Fall Orchestra Concert, grades 6 – 8

Thursday, November 12th        Fall Band Concert, grades 6 - 8
Monday, February 1st              Orchestra Cluster Concert, grades 6 – 8 (and invited elementary schools)                                                  6:00pm

Monday, May 9th                     Spring Orchestra Concert, grades 6 – 8

Thursday, May 26th                 Spring Band Concert, grades 6 - 8
Classroom Expectations

Northwest Middle School “Non Negotiable” Classroom Rules
1.    Stay in your assigned, unless you have permission to move.
2.    Raise your hand and ask permission before speaking.
3.    Keep all belongings and body parts to yourself.
4.    Keep your head up and your eyes open at all times.
5.    Follow all adult instructions immediately and completely.

Five additional music room requirements:
1.     Make musical sound on your instrument when directed, without interrupting instruction.
2.     Be on time to class and to your seat. 
3.     Dispose of outside food or drink before entering the music room.
a.     This includes gum!
4.     Be prepared for class. 
a.     Have your instrument, instrument accessories, pencil, and other required text materials. 
5.     Be respectful to music materials. 
a.     If its not assigned to you, don’t touch it.  Harmful or neglectful treatment of your assigned instrument may result in a charge for its repair.
At a glance: 
1.     Its never okay to be hurtful.
2.     Its never okay to be disruptive. 

Other items:
            NWMS Policy will be enforced in the music room in all other areas.  Example:  tardies, cell phone use, allowance of passes, dress code, etc.

Daily Procedure
Beginning of class:  “First five”

1.     Enter the room in a calm manner (quietly and at a walking pace).
2.     Read any directions written on the board or projector.
3.     Set up music stand, music folder, instrument and sit in assigned seat.  (In this order, please!)
4.     Begin work on the posted bell work.
5.     Be ready to start class at the designated start time.

During rehearsal:  “Give me five”

1.      When I hold up the five fingers of my hand, you will immediately give me the five following behaviors:
a.     EYES on speaker.
b.     EARS listening in order to follow directions.
c.     MOUTH closed and no noise or talking.
d.     FEET still (freeze where you are).
e.     HANDS still (stop writing or shuffling papers, etc.)
**If you talk during or following a “give me five”, I will be implementing the 4-step discipline consequences.**

End of Class:  “Final five”. When I give the signal “Time to put up”, you will immediately do the following:

1.     Put away instruments and return it to its spot in the storage areas.  Leaving your instrument in the middle of the floor is not permitted. 
2.     Put away music folders, and stands to their designated spots.
3.     Check the floor area around your chair and pick up any paper or trash.  Hold it in your hand so you can drop it in the waste basket as you exit.
4.     Sit back down in your assigned seat and listen for my parting words. 
5.     Upon inspection of the room, I will call your row.  (The bell does not dismiss the class.  The bell is not for the students.  It is for the teacher.  Only the teacher dismisses class.)  You will stand carefully, making sure you have all belongings with you and that your chair is left neatly in its place.  Then walk to the exit.

The 4-Step Consequences
Most people will agree that no child should have to be spoken to about their behavior more than three times during any one class period.

            Step 1:  Warning or reminder (verbal or non-verbal)
Step 2:  Teacher calls home (to go over discipline steps with parent and to inform them of next steps – detention, office referral)
Step 3:  Detention today or tomorrow
Step 4:  Office referral
Attendance at Performances
Please keep in mind that performances are a culmination of many hours of hard work requiring participation and attendance by every member of the group.  The success of the music program depends on the group working together as a team. 

Excused absences for a scheduled performance:
-Sick (absent from school)
-Immediate death in the family
-Other conflicts explained by parent/guardians and cleared with Mrs. Reynolds with a signed note, email, phone call, or verbal confirmation.

In the event that a student fails to attend a concert, they may make-up the concert with one of the three following options:
1.  schedule two 30 minute sessions with Mrs. Reynolds after-school, before the end of the grading period.
2.  attend a classical or jazz music concert, and bring back proof of attending, (such as a program, admittance ticket, etc.), before the end of the grading period.
3.   write a 2-page paper (Typed and double spaced.  Size 12 font.) on a musically related topic that is approved by Mrs. Reynolds, before the end of the grading period.
                  Excused absences will be allowed to make up 100% of the grade.  Unexcused absences will be allowed to make up 70% of the grade
Concert Dress for Performances
In order for us to look sharp at our concerts, please be prepared to have the following items: 
-Black pants or skirts, dark socks, and dark shoes. 
-White shirt or blouse

School dress code applies.

Grading Policy
Grades will be determined using the following categories:
Bell Work (Practice 30%):
-10 points a day will be given to students who are visually observed to be working on their daily bell work.
Written Assignments (Practice 30%).
- In class writing assignments related to the daily content.  Points will vary.
Tests & Quizzes (Performance 70%):  Playing tests, written tests and quizzes.
-Playing tests are 100 points.  Points for written tests and quizzes vary.
Performances (Performance 70%):  Attendance at band performances. 
-Attendance at performances are worth 100 points. 

Show What I Know.  The SWIK Program provides students specific goals to achieve and it highlights student individual achievement based on musical skills.  There are musical assignments to complete in order to “medal” and move on to the levels of Bronze, Silver, and Gold. They are to be played off for the teacher with little to no mistakes.  Certain privileges accompany each of the different achieved levels and students who “medal” will be recognized at our final Spring Concert. 
What is a Practice Log?
Practice Logs are a form extra credit.  15 minutes worth of practice is the amount required for one practice log for 10 points.  These points will be applied to daily bell work assignments which are worth 30% of the grade.  They are required to be signed by a parent or guardian.  An appointment can be set up with Mrs. Reynolds to practice afterschool in the music room and Mrs. Reynold’s signature may substitute for a parent’s signature.

Instrument Storage
Each student will be assigned a storage space area.  Students are expected to put away their instruments correctly in its proper spot.  There should not be any personal items besides their instrument inside these storage areas.  Failure to abide by these expectations may also result in a “Music Parking Violation”.

Music Parking Violations
Students are expected to put things where they are supposed to go.  Failing to do this may result in receiving a “Music Parking Violation” on their instrument or other materials for ILLEGAL PARKING.
                        1st violation:  Warning.  No penalty
2nd violation:  They must take the parking violation home to be signed by a parent, and brought back to Mrs. Reynolds. 
3rd violation:  The student will serve a 30 minute detention with Mrs. Reynolds.
4th violation:  The instrument or belongings will be TOWED and you will need to see Mrs. Reynolds to have the items returned.

Usage of School-Owned Instruments and Fees
We are fortunate to have a district that provides instruments for our students.  The fee is $40.00 per year to use a school-owned instrument.  Students will also receive instrument supplies to get them started for the year, which is included in this price.  Checks can be made payable to Northwest Middle School.  The instrument user fee will be due in full by Friday, September 18th, the end of the first grading period. These fees may be given to Mrs. Reynolds, or paid to Mrs. Henderson in the office.  If you are unable to pay the instrument user fee, please see Mrs. Reynolds and arrangements will be made to accommodate your situation. 
Also, students will not be able to begin using their instrument until the user form has been returned and a down payment has been returned to Mrs. Reynolds. 


Other Instrument Options
Instruments can be rented for a monthly rate from one of the following music stores.  These stores generally do a rent-to-own policy.

Olathe Band Instruments                                            913-764-4159

R.E.W. Band                                                               913-894-4349
8443 Quivera Rd.
Lenexa, KS

The Toon Shop                                                           913-362-6800
70th and Mission
Praire Village Shopping Center

Hume Music                                                               816-474-1960
2010 Broadway (downtown)
Kansas City, MO

If you decide to purchase an instrument from another source, please contact Mrs. Reynolds so she can advise you on the validity of your investment. 

For privately owned/rented instruments, it is very important that you write down the serial number and brand name of your instrument and keep that information at home.  If the instrument should disappear, you will need that information.  Most homeowner’s policies will cover the replacement.  Please be sure to put a durable nametag on your instrument before bringing it to school (i.e. such as a luggage nametag).  Also, privately owned/rented instrument do not require the $40 user fee through the school district.

Taking Instruments Home
Students may enter the music room directly after school to pick up their instrument to take home.  (If the music room is locked, it is likely that Mrs. Reynolds has afternoon duty, and you will need to find her to unlock the door.)  However, students will not be allowed to take their school-owned instrument home until the user fee has been paid in full and the instrument care test has been completed and passed.  In the mornings, students will be required to wait in the gym.  After being released from the gym, they may drop off their instrument in the music room before going to their first class.  If an instrument is not placed in its assigned storage space, that student may receive a Music Parking Violation.

Method Books
Band and string students will be using at least one method book through out the year.  Each student will be loaned a book, and they will be expected to turn the book back in at the end of the school year.  However if the student loses or destroys the book, it will need to be replaced at your expense.  The cost to replace a method book is $8.

Sheet Music
Band and string students will also receive sheet music songs that will be performed on our concerts.  These pages are like a single page out of a textbook.  If it is not returned, the replacement fee is $3.  (Yes, $3 for a single piece of paper.  It is not a Xerox copy and cannot legally be replaced without contacting and paying the publishers.) 

Other Instrumental Music Opportunities
Tiger Jazz
This group is a select group of invited musicians.  This is also Mrs. Reynolds Family Advocacy (FA) class.  In addition to our other school responsibilities, we study popular music styles such as Jazz, Latin, Rock, and other popular styles of music when time permits for rehearsal. 

Pep Band
This group is open to all NWMS band members.  We will perform at various athletic events throughout the school year.  The Jazz Band will be the core sound for this group, but all musicians are invited to attend (upon signing up for the dates).  More information will be distributed at a later time.

Middle School Solo and Small Ensemble Festival
This is for interested 7th and 8th grade band and strings members.  The festival takes place in the spring.  Students spend months preparing a classical solo or small ensemble piece of music, perform for a panel of judges, and receive ratings and helpful comments.  This is a challenging and rewarding experience.  More information will be made available in January.