Handbook‎ > ‎

Frequently Asked Questions

Marching Band

What do students need for marching band?
Besides their instruments, students are expected to purchase and bring their own lyres for their music. These are available at all local music stores. Drumline members do not need to purchase lyres. Comfortable shoes are also recommended (NO FLIP-FLOPS!) Due to wet grass, etc, we recommend a pair of "grubby" shoes to rehearse in. For performances, all students must have black shoes and black socks. (The shoes must be ALL black- stripes or swooshes of a different color are unacceptable.)

When does the marching band perform?
At all home varsity football games and the homecoming parade. The band marches pre-game and the half-time performance.

Are they responsible for keeping their uniforms during the marching band season?
No. The uniforms will be checked in and out by Music Boosters at each performance.

When do they get fitted for uniforms?
During the first couple weeks of school. Music Boosters will aid in the fitting of uniforms. Some friendly advice: the earlier you get fitted for a uniform, the better the chance of getting one that fits!

Where do I purchase music lyres, and are their certain kinds that are better than others?
At any music store in the Quad Cities (West, Griggs, etc.). For Trumpets and Trombones, we recommend the lyres that clamp onto the bell. If you are worried about scratching or denting the instrument, a cloth may be placed between the bell and the lyre.

Who is required to march in the Homecoming Parade?
Everyone is required to march in the parade except VARSITY Football players and VARSITY Cheerleaders.

Lessons / Grading

Does my child need to purchase a method book for lessons?
No. We will provide the method books. If it gets lost, it is the student's responsibility to replace it.

What is expected of the students in lessons?
The students are expected to prepare assigned materials in the method books.

Are lessons graded? How?
Yes, each lesson is graded based on preparation and progress.

How does the lesson schedule work?
Students sign up on their own one week ahead of time. They are asked to sign up for a time when they feel they would miss the least in a particular class. They are also instructed not to come out of the same class more than twice per quarter.

Explain the scale/arpeggio lesson.
For this lesson, the students will prepare a group of scales and arpeggios and perform them from memory. This lesson grade will be weighed more heavily than the others and will definitely be counted as one of the five required (even if it does not fall within the "top five lesson grades" for that student during that particular quarter.)

Do students receive credit for taking private lessons outside of school?
As long as it is on their PRIMARY concert instrument and happen on a regular, weekly basis. Students who study with a private instructor will need to attend 3 in-school lessons and turn in a Lesson Voucher for the remaining 2. The private instructor is to fill each out and assign a grade. The student will then turn it in to Mr. Kessinger or Mr. McMann by the end of the quarter.

When can the students do the quarterly computer assignments?
These can be done before school (after 7:00 am), after school (before 4:30 pm), or during a study hall. If a student is not satisfied with his/her score(s), they can redo the computer assignments as many times as they wish during that particular quarter. When the quarter ends, the grade is recorded.

Can students do the computer assignments at home?
We are now able to check out CD's to students to use on their computers at home. HOWEVER, in order for their grade to be recorded, they MUST complete the review at school.

Do summer lessons count towards the band grade?
No, but they do count towards the band letter.

Concert / Symphonic Band

How / when are the students auditioned for concert / symphonic band?
Auditions for chair placement will be held during the last part of marching band season. Audition material will be given out in lessons. Audition material will consist of the following:
1) Watkins-Farnum Standardized Music Test (Sight-reading)
2) ALL major scales - C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db, Gb(F#), B,E,A,D,G, and chromatic over full range.
3) Prepared piece(s) selected by directors.

Once they are placed, is that set for the whole year, or can they challenge?
CHALLENGES may be made with the person in the chair immediately above. The challenge is made first by informing the person to challenged, then by informing one of the directors. The challenger is to select a piece of music from his folder, the person challenged is to select a piece from his folder, and each is to give a copy of their piece to the other THE NEXT DAY after the challenge is made. Each student will then have three school days (after exchange of music) to prepare BOTH pieces of music. On the fourth school day after music is exchanged, both players must play for the directors. All challenges will include scales. Any student refusing to accept a challenge or not abiding by the challenge rules will automatically forfeit their chair position. The only exception is if a student is ill on the day of the challenge. A challenger losing a challenge may re-challenge, but must wait at least one week. Challenges may also occur between Concert and Symphonic Bands and Jazz I and Jazz II. The directors have the option of selecting another piece of music, if they so desire. While a challenge may occur during the time immediately prior to a performance, a change of seating will not occur within two weeks before a performance.

Do they have uniforms?
Guys wear the provided tuxes and girls wear the provided gowns. Fitting will take place two weeks before the first concert.

Jazz Bands

How / when are the students auditioned for jazz band?
AUDITIONS for one of the two jazz bands take place in the Spring, usually early May. The auditions consist of the following:
1) The C, F, Bb, Eb, G, D, and A major scales from MEMORY. You will get extra points for multiple octaves.
2) The mixolydian and dorian scales on attached sheet (sheet may be used in audition)
3) Two prepared pieces- Swing and Latin
4) OPTIONAL (but recommended)- Perform a 12 bar improvised solo over concert Bb or F Blues
changes with a pre-recorded rhythm section.

1) Perform these drum styles:
    Up-tempo Swing, q= 180
    Bossa Nova, q= 120
    Samba, q= 104
    Funk Groove, q=96
2) Two prepared pieces, Swing and Latin
3) Play swing feel with soloist, interacting.
CHALLENGES in jazz band use the same rules as for Symphonic / Concert Band. Each will pick a piece of music, prepare both, and perform the same scales used in the auditions.

How many jazz groups are there?
2 Jazz Bands and 3-4 Jazz Combos.

What instruments are eligible for jazz band?
Standard instrumentation includes Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxophones, Trombones, Trumpets, Piano, Bass, Drum Set, and Guitar. Clarinet, Flute, and Double Reed Players are encouraged to try out on sax if interested. We have many Flute and Clarinet players currently performaing in our jazz bands. Euphonium players are also encouraged, as the school owns a couple of valve trombones that translate nicely into a jazz band setting.

Can students who have never been in jazz band audition?
Absolutely. We have had many students who have never been in jazz band before step in and do a great job.

Since we register before auditions, what should we do? We won't know if we have made it yet!
Go ahead and register for jazz band. The guidance counselors are aware that all students registered for jazz band may not make it, and will work out an alternate schedule if needed. A lot depends on the numbers auditioning, but we haven't turned too many students away in the past. And if they are all very prepared, we may take all of them.

Can you participate in jazz band without being enrolled in band?
No. Jazz bands are only open to those students currently enrolled in band.

Do they have uniforms?
No, but they are asked to dress up for performances. (Guys, shirt and tie, etc.)

What if my child plays a different instrument in jazz band?
Check with the directors for specific info. We have a couple of saxes, valve trombones, guitars, bass, etc. that your child may be able to use.

If they study privately on their jazz instrument (if different than concert instrument), can that count for their band lesson grade?
Since Jazz Band is a separate class, lessons on their jazz instrument can not count towards their band lesson grade. If a drummer studies privately and they work on classical percussion AND jazz drumset, that would be okay.

What are grades based on?
1) Participation- This grade is determined by attendance, preparation, and attitude / behavior in rehearsals and performances.
2) Artist / Theory Quizzes- Each quarter, jazz students will be quizzed on the jazz artist packets in their binders. Basic Jazz Theory may appear on these quizzes as well, covering concepts discussed in rehearsals.
3) Semester Exam- Covers artists for that semester and jazz theory

Pep Band

Is Pep Band required?
All students are required to attend four (4) pep band performances.

Does it affect their band grade?
If they attend less than four, it will affect their third quarter grade.

How is the pep band schedule determined?
Pep band dates are chosen on the basis of conflicting activities. So that students have a chance to attend, we choose dates with the least number of potential conflicts. (Musical, etc.)

Instrument Rentals

What instruments does the school rent to students?
Students are allowed (for a minimal fee) to use our percussion equipment, Tubas, Bass Clarinets, Bassoons, French Horns, Euphoniums, Oboes, and Baritone Saxophones.

How much are rental fees for said instruments?
Students pay $50 per year.

What happens if my son/daughter plays a different instrument in jazz band?
It varies by situation. Please contact one of the directors.

Band Trip

How is the destination determined?
The directors come up with 3-4 optional destinations, and the students vote on it.

Are students required to go on the trip?

How many fundraisers are done leading up to the trip?
Music Boosters Pizza Sales and Dining Tour Books every year.

How do I get on the chaperone list?
Chaperones are generally chosen from interested members of the Music Boosters first, and then added on a first-come, first-serve basis. Interested parents should contact the directors at the beginning of a trip year.