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Band Handbook - grading info, uniform info, class descriptions

  • Welcome to the Sentinel Band Program!

    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 below.

    This handbook includes the following:
    *A description of each band class offered at Sentinel
    *Grading Policy and how to make-up points
    *Classroom expectations
    *Concert/Festival Etiquette
    *Performance Attire Information
    *Travel Information

    I hope all parents/legal guardians and students will participate in the band program with a high appreciation, understanding, and commitment in mind.


    Welcome to the Sentinel band family!


    Lewis Nelson

     

    GOOGLE CLASSROOM LINKS:
     
     
     
     

     

    CLICK HERE FOR MY HANDOUT THAT HAS A CALENDAR AND NEEDED PAPERWORK FOR BAND

     

    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. Please read the schedule that I sent home in August and email with questions. 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 regular day, 10 points per block day
    - 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 online or 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.
     Cell phones need to be placed inside a caddy at the beginning of each class, unless Mr. Nelson gives a student permission to use the phone for tuning purposes.  If a student violates this school rule, the cell phone will be turned into an administrator and the student will lose their daily points.

    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. 
     Excluding emergencies, absences from performances can only be excused by a note or phone call from a parent/legal guardian. Mr. 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!**


    THINGS THAT TAKE ZERO TALENT, BUT WILL MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL IN BAND AND LIFE
    1. Being on Time
    2. Work Ethic
    3. Effort
    4. Body Language
    5. Energy
    6. Attitude
    7. Passion
    8. Being Coachable
    9. Doing Extra
    10. Being Prepared

     


    BASIC PERFORMANCE ATTIRE/UNIFORM INFORMATION

    Marching Band (all students):
    All students will be given a season shirt, which will be worn during all performance days and under their marching uniform. The marching uniform will be sized and checked out to each student by Band Parent volunteers. Students will take their uniform home on the day it is assigned. Please make sure you hang the uniform and remember to bring the uniform to school on football game and parade days. These uniforms cost OVER $500 to replace. Please take care of them! Students will change into their uniform prior to all marching events and we will travel together via busses to all games and parades. Students are required to wear shorts, black marching shoes, black socks and the season shirt under their marching uniform. Please remember the goal in marching band is to be uniform and look disciplined.

    Concert and Jazz Band Uniform:
    Women:
    All Black Uniform Dress (checked out and sized by Band Parent volunteers)
    You will need to provide:
     Black Stockings
     Black Dress Shoes (you can wear your marching shoes if you choose to)
    Men:
    Tuxedo Jacket, Marching Shoes and Pants (checked out and sized by Band Parent volunteers)
    You will need to provide:
     White “Wingtip” Tux Shirt – You can purchase this at any tux shop, Men’s Warehouse or Amazon.
     Black Socks
     Black Bow Tie

     

    TRIP COSTS
    The band takes one large scale trip every 2-3 years and participates in high profile festivals. Depending on the trip, costs can range between $1000 and $2500. Mr. Nelson will email information about upcoming trips well ahead of any planned trip.



    INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
    (Not required, but recommended and points go toward a band letter! These activities look good to colleges when applying for scholarships!)
    ● Performing a Solo or in an Ensemble at the District and State Festivals. Information will be announced as final details become available for these events. This is an excellent opportunity for a soloist or ensemble to perform a prepared work and be critiqued and graded on their performance.
    ● All-State Band and Orchestra are audition-only groups composed of students throughout Montana. Students, who earn their way in to these ensembles, will get to work with an outstanding internationally known clinician and perform at an honor concert.
    ● UM All-Star Band is a recommendation-only group composed of students from all over Montana.