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All assignments for Concord Middle School Band students will be posted on our Google Classroom and related calendars. Students are expected to utilize these resources.
Band members are expected to be actively involved in all facets of rehearsal, demonstrate proper playing technique (posture, hand position) and well-disciplined.
All performances are required for all band members (see Calendar). Students may be excused from a performance due to illness or unforeseen family emergency. Any unexcused absence may affect the student’s final grade.
Students with an excused absence will be provided with an alternate assignment following the performance (see Grading Policy).
Instrumental music at the elementary level is not a graded activity. It is important to understand, however, that a performing ensemble is similar to a sports team in that we need all members to be successful but different from a sports team in that we do not have a bench from which we can bring students into the ensemble to “fill in” for absences. Performances are the culmination of all our hard work and are typically the highlight of this unique learning experience for students and their parents.
Scheduling conflicts can be difficult to navigate, especially for younger musicians. We have a limited number of commitments outside the school day. Although we are similar to a sports team where we all rely on each other to be successful, we differ in that we do not have a bench to pull from and do not have a full season of performances.
Concerts and most extra rehearsals take precedence over other rehearsals (including dress rehearsals), games, practices or any other non-milestone (birthday parties, etc.) “prior commitment.” Possible exceptions include recitals, championship games, and milestone events (bar/bat mitzvahs, etc.) and should be handled on a case-by-case basis between the student’s caretakers and the band directors.
We understand that an illness or family emergency may prevent a student from attending a rehearsal or performance. It is best that the lines of communication remain open between caretakers and the band directors so that conflicts and absences be handled in a way that is best for the student and the ensemble.
Please be proactive by placing the dates on the calendar on your family’s calendar and dealing with any schedule conflicts well in advance. We highly recommend that you sync our calendar with your family’s calendar, as it is always up to date.
Some great insight to home practice can be found here.
Students are expected to practice at least 120 min. per week over at least four days for a minimum of 20 minutes per practice session. Practice at the elementary level should be at least 80 minutes per week, averaging 20 minutes per practice session over four days. Evidence of practice is expected from all members of the band.
Preparation for rehearsals is measured through formal and informal assessments (see Grading Policy).
Your musicianship can develop only through practice. No doubt you have heard the saying “Practice Makes Perfect.” Although this saying holds a very important truth, it also contains a major loophole: practice will only make perfect if the practice itself is perfect! In other words, how you practice is just as important as what you practice.
Practice daily for progress and results. Set up a consistent practice space. Use a music stand, and metronome, and a recorder to listen to how you sound. Schedule a regular practice time if possible.
Caretakers: you do not need any musical knowledge to support your child in the practicing. Facilitate a space and schedule and give encouragement and praise. It is a great idea to purchase a stand for your child’s instrument, so that they may leave the instrument assembled and in sight when they are home - 5 minutes of practice here and there adds up fast!
Here are the steps you must take when you practice at home:
- Assemble your instrument. Be sure to use valve oil, slide grease and cork grease!
- Play long tones with an even and steady sound
- Pick one or two warm-up exercises that you can play well and use them to make sure you’re playing with an appropriate tone. Practice slowly at first, increasing the speed only after the exercises can be played evenly.
- Begin your work! When unable to play a particular phrase or group of notes, STOP. Focus on just the difficult part - practice it slowly at first, and then gradually build up to the proper speed. Be sure you are able to do the following:
- Count and clap the exercise
- Name the notes (letter names)
- Finger the notes while naming them
- Finger the notes while singing
- Clean and disassemble your instrument. After a practice session is over, dry the inside of woodwinds and drain the moisture from brass instruments. Then wipe off the inside and outside of the instrument. Carefully return the instrument to its case. To avoid damage, do not keep stands, mutes, music, or other objects in the case unless a place is provided for them.
Practice for results - not just a length of time! Focused time spent on your instrument is very similar to focused attention on physical exercise. You can save yourself a million mindless repetitions if you work intelligently.