About Sentinel High School Bands

  • Welcome to the Sentinel Band Program!  

    Sentinel has a rich tradition of band excellence that started in 1957 and continues today. Today, Sentinel's bands have over 160 participants and growing.   Sentinel's band has recently moved into a state of the art band room! If you play an instrument, we hope to see you at Sentinel!

    The main goal of Sentinel’s Band Program is to offer a variety of opportunities to make you a better player, performer, listener and person. Sentinel offers three high school concert bands, a jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, marching band, drum-line and pep band.  There will also be opportunities for students to audition for the Montana All-State Band, All-Northwest Band, perform at District Solo and Ensemble festivals, State Solo and Ensemble festivals and other festivals listed in the handbook.

    Please make note of all required performances and rehearsals. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.   Clear communication is the answer to 99% of all problems.  

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email.  lnelson@mcps.k12.mt.us 

    Thank you,

    Lewis Nelson

    There are many reasons to sign up for band and countless studies that show why and how band is great for students.

    Reasons to sign up for band at Sentinel:

    1. The program is growing and successful. 

    *The Wind Ensemble earned a "Gold" rating at the "Sounds of Spring" Concert Band Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York, spring 2019

    *The Jazz Band's Rhythm Section earned "Best Section" award at the Buddy DeFranco Jazz festival in 2019

    *The Wind Ensemble earned a "Gold" rating and first place in it's division at the 2017 Heritage Concert Band Festival in Anaheim, California

    *Each Sentinel Band ensemble earned a "Superior" Rating at the 2018 District Music Festival

    *The Jazz Band's Trombone section earned "Best Section" award at the Buddy DeFranco Jazz festival in 2018

    *The Jazz Band's Trumpet section earned "Best Section" award at the Buddy DeFranco Jazz festival in 2017

    *Each Sentinel Band ensemble earned a "Superior" Rating at the 2017 District Music Festival

    2. In 2019, we moved into new state of the art band room. Our rehearsal space is incredible!

    3. Students who are in a successful music program all 4 years in High School score 10-12% higher on the SATs.

    Source: The College Board College Bound Seniors Total Group Profile Reports, 2011 - 2015.

    4. Band is the ultimate collaborative class. Everything we do is collaborative. Study after study shows that the #1 thing employers look for in their employees is the ability to work together and collaborate.  Students in band do this in everything they do and remember, there is no “bench” in band. Everyone has to contribute to the finished product.

    5. Being in band gives the incoming freshmen a positive group that they can relate to and rely on during the transition from Middle school to High School.

     

    Class Descriptions

    Intermediate Band (Concert Band) (grades 9-12) is Sentinel’s entry wind band ensemble. This graded ensemble is open to all 9th- 12th graders.  This ensemble is important to the Sentinel Band Program because it is where the techniques learned in middle school are reinforced and perfected.  This class will push you as a musician. You are always expected to do your best and be prepared.  Please note your required additional rehearsals and performances listed in the packet sent home the first week of school.

    Advanced Band (Symphonic Band) (grades 9-12) is Sentinel’s intermediate wind band ensemble. This graded ensemble is open to all 9th- 12th graders.  This ensemble is important to the Sentinel Band Program because it is where the techniques learned in middle school and Intermediate Band are reinforced and perfected.  This class will push you as a musician. You are always expected to do your best and be prepared.  Please note your required additional rehearsals and performances listed in the packet sent home the first week of school.

    Wind Ensemble (grades 9-12) is Sentinel’s premier wind band ensemble. This audition-only graded ensemble will include the most advanced and dedicated band students.  Together, we will delve into advanced techniques, repertoire and musicianship.   This class will push you as a musician. You are always expected to do your best and be prepared.  Please note your required additional rehearsals and performances listed in the packet sent home the first week of school.

    Jazz Band (grades 9-12) is Sentinel’s advanced jazz ensemble.  This graded jazz ensemble is open to all 9-12th grade current concert band and orchestra students.  Students in this ensemble are required to be in a Sentinel Band or Orchestra.  Some exceptions will be made for hard to fill “non-band” instruments like piano and guitar, or rare scheduling conflicts. This class will teach you basic jazz theory and improvisation techniques that will result in your ability to improvise.  We will also delve into jazz standards in either a combo or big band setting and will begin preparing to gig!  Please note your required additional rehearsals and performances listed in the packet sent home the first week of school.

    Percussion Ensemble (grades 9-12) is designed for students interested in progressing rapidly on a multitude of percussion instruments, including drumline during the marching season.  This class will be team taught by Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Nelson.  Students in the class will focus on advanced percussion techniques, marching drum line/pit and will accompany the marching and concert bands at performances.  Please note your required additional rehearsals and performances listed in the packet sent home the first week of school.

    Marching Band (grades 9-12) is required for students who are involved in intermediate band, advanced band, wind ensemble, jazz band and percussion ensemble.  Participation in this ensemble counts toward your band grade.  The reason all band students are required to participate in the marching band is because it is the most visual part of Sentinel’s band program to the general public.  The marching commitment will be manageable, but there will be outside rehearsals that will be required in order to make this ensemble successful.  If you have conflicting sports’ schedules, accommodations will be made - within reason.

    Pep Band (grades 9-12) is open to all Sentinel band students.  This exciting ensemble will perform popular music and play at basketball games and other events as needed.  In order to play in this ensemble, you need to commit to performances and after school rehearsals.  If you are going to miss a performance, a satisfactory excuse must be given to Mr. Nelson at least 3 days in advance.  If you miss more than 30% of the performances/rehearsals, you will not be awarded letter points and you may not be allowed to travel to tournaments out of town. 

     

    Grading Policy For all Bands 

    Grades will be determined by the following:

    • Participation Points – 5 Points per day
      • You earn 5 points every day you are in attendance.  You will lose points if your absence, except for school sponsored events like athletics or speech and debate. 
      • You will lose your daily points by not abiding by the Classroom Expectations listed below. Each student will be given 2 warnings per semester before daily points are deducted.
    • Performance Points – 100-200 Points per Performance
      • You will lose performance points by not abiding by the Concert/Festival Etiquette expectations listed below.
    • Music Checks and Playing Tests – The number of points possible will vary according to the size and importance of the test.
    • Written Assignments, Concert Reviews, Written Tests, etc. – The number of points will vary depending on the assignment given.

     How to make up points if I am absent?:

    1. Schedule an outside 15-minute lesson with Mr. Nelson for each absence.
    2. Practice an additional hour per week on your own and fill out an absence form. You will find this form in the band room.
    3. Athletics/Other school events – If you are going to miss a class due to a school activity let me know. Do not assume I know your schedule.  I will work with you on a one on one basis as needed to make sure you do not get behind.  Your participation score will only be affected if you get behind and do not attempt to get help.

    At the end of each grading period, points will be totaled and put in percentage form.

    A = 90 – 100%, B = 80 – 89%, C = 70 – 79%, D = 60 – 69%, F = 0 – 59%. 

    Classroom Expectations for all Students

    (these are the little common sense things that we need to do in order to become incredible!) 

    • Invest at least 1 hour of individual practice each week on your own, outside of class. This is your homework. 
    • Turn in your forms on time. 
    • Please be on time and ready to work when a rehearsal begins. Students are to be in class prior to the bell ringing and in their seats ready to play two minutes after the bell. All students must have the proper instrument, equipment, music and a pencil
    • Keep room and instruments clean. Chewing gum, eating or drinking colored/sugary beverages during a rehearsal or performance is not allowed. Bottled water is the only exception. 
    • Stay off cell phones for recreational purposes. Cell phones are permitted only for tuning purposes. If students are found using their cell phone for anything other than a tuning app during class, they will lose their cell phone to the teacher. The cell phone will be returned at the end of the class period.  On the third and subsequent violations, the cell phone will be turned into an administrator. 

    Concert/Festival Etiquette 

    • Band students are to properly wear their entire uniform at all times during a performance or festival unless instructed otherwise by a director. Do not wear distracting jewelry while in uniform. 
    • No food, gum or drink (other than water) is allowed in the auditorium or on stage. 
    • Appropriate behavior is expected during any performance. No talking, cell phone activity, lounging with feet on the seat, hooting, hollering or goofing off while seated at festivals or concerts. A student may be asked to leave the event and have their performance grade penalized.  
    • Band students are required to travel on the bus to all performances. 
    • Dismissal from a performance site (other than SHS) will be permitted only by a note from the student’s parent/legal guardian presented to the band director prior to the performance releasing the school from responsibility. The parent/legal guardian must sign his/her student out with the head chaperone or director before leaving with the student. Students can only be excused directly to the custody of a parent/legal guardian.  This rule is for liability issues.  Thank you for understanding. 
    • Band is a performance-related class. Members are required to participate in every performance. An unexcused absence from a performance will result in the student’s grade being lowered. Please look at the calendar and clear all conflicts in advance of a performance.  Page 8, 9, or www.sentinelband.org/calendar 
    • Excluding emergencies, absences from performances can only be excused by a note or phone call from a parent/legal guardian. Nelson needs to know about any absences no later than two weeks before the performance. This includes other school-related activities. In the case of an emergency, a phone call or note from the parent/legal guardian should be received as soon as possible – preferably before the performance. A note or phone call does not automatically excuse a student’s absence.  Please remember, band is a curricular class and you do receive a credit and a grade. 

     

    REMEMBER: 99% of all conflicts can be resolved if both parties involved have communicated or have been given prior notification.

     

    ** Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs are prohibited at all times. Offensive, abusive or vulgar language will also not be tolerated at any time during any band related activity at school or away. Zero Tolerance!**