Parent Survival Guide

Middle School Band

When does band meet?

Middle School Bands are graded classes that meet on White days.

      8th Grade Band meets 1st Period.
                    7th Grade Band meets 2nd Period.
                    6th Grade Band meets 3rd Period.

There are no after-school rehearsals for Middle School Band.

How is my child graded in Band?

Your child’s grade in band is based on band rehearsal attendance, rehearsal preparation, lesson attendance,
practice journals, and concert performance. Every student starts each term with 100 pts.

Point deductions are as follows:
        No instrument for rehearsal   -2pts
        Missed Lesson   -3pts   *Missed lesson deductions can be reduced by turning in a practice journals.
        Missed Performance   -10pts

        *If a student misses a lesson, he or she can turn in a practice journal (documenting at least one hour
        of practice) and no point deduction will be made for the missed lesson.

Where does the band rehearse?

Band meets in Room 308 at the top of the center staircase. Students who were in advanced band last year will recognize the band room because this is where they met for after school rehearsals.

What equipment does my child need?

Drummers will need a pair of sticks for school and a separate pair for home practice. Drumsticks must be stored in the band room and may not be carried to other classes throughout the day. Clarinet and Sax players should have at least three working reeds in good condition (no chips or cracks) in their case at all times. Trumpet and Trombone players should have valve oil (slide oil for trombone) and tuning slides should move freely. 

Do they need their instruments on the first day of school?

Your child will not need to bring his or her instrument during the first week of school. At our first band rehearsal, students will be asked to fill out a form that updates our confidential records as to address, phone number, year of graduation, instrument played, etc. At that time, we tell students when to bring instruments to school and where to store them in the band room.

Lessons

In addition to regularly scheduled rehearsals, each child will be offered one small group lesson every two weeks. Lessons will be scheduled on a rotating basis through the first four periods of the day. At lessons, students will continue to improve the playing skills needed for full participation in performing groups. Individual help and assessment of each student progress takes place during lesson time.

Missing Lessons

Occasionally, a student is unable to attend a lesson because it is scheduled during a class that he or she cannot miss for an excusable reason.  Examples of excusable reasons for missing lessons are: 

     1. taking a test or quiz
     2. doing poorly in class
     3. working on a special project that can't be done at a later time

When a lesson must be missed, students must turn in a practice journal for that week. (See "Practice journals.")

Beginners

We accept beginners at the middle school level in all instruments (*except percussion). Beginners will be given one group lesson every two weeks and will be integrated into the band rehearsals as soon as possible. Whenever, possible, we will try to arrange additional tutoring with one of our advanced high school musicians on an after-school basis.

*Students interested in playing drums in Middle school, with no previous instruction will need to take private lessons until such time as they are able pass our minimum performance standards. Private teachers can be found by calling local music stores and asking for beginning drum lessons.

Practice Journals

Students are encouraged practice every week for at least an hour, in total.  If a student misses their assigned lesson, they must turn in a practice journal signed by a parent, indicating that they practiced for one hour that week. Journal forms can be found by clicking the "Journal" button on the Middle School Band page. 

Instrument storage

Lockers are provided in the band room for students to store their instrument during the school day. Students are not able to leave instruments in their classroom as they did in elementary school. All instruments should go home for practice at least twice a week. Instruments should NOT be left at school during vacation weeks or during the summer. We cannot be responsible for the security of instruments left in school during vacation time.

Repairs

Should your child’s instrument need repair, you are free to take it to a repair shop of your choice.
If you wish, we will send your instrument to the company that does our school instrument repairs.
(K & C Music) A representative from that company picks up repairs and most repairs take a week to complete. Should the estimated repair cost be more than $50, the company will call you for authorization to complete the needed work.

Junior Jazz Ensemble

Junior Jazz Ensemble meets after school, once a week, starting at the end of November. Standard jazz instrumentation includes Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Drums, Bass, Guitar, and Piano. Students are chosen for Junior Jazz during the months of September to November. Selection is based on performance, effort and attitude.                                                          

Concert Dates

Middle School Bands perform in December and May. Check the calendar on the Bandroom page for dates and other information such as concert venue and concert dress.

Graduation

Every year, the Wilmington High School Band loses several seniors at graduation. Because this leaves us with enormous gaps in our instrumentation, we ask the Middle School Band to perform with us at Graduation. Fortunately, the quality of our Middle School Band allows us
to consider asking them to attempt such challenging music. A strong participation by the Middle School Band will help us continue the high standard of performance set by our graduating seniors. 

Memorial Day  

The Middle School Band does not participate, as a marching unit, in the Memorial Day Parade. Subfreshmen march with the High School Band. Other Middle School Band members, who wish to participate, can march as “ Coaches” with the Elementary Band. Coaches attend the after-school rehearsal before the parade and help our 4th & 5th graders to cope with the demands of marching and playing. During the parade, they march with their sections so that the elementary kids will have leaders to follow.

Fundraising

If your child is active in more than one group, chances are you are overwhelmed with fundraising projects every year. So as not to add to this burden, we limit our fundraising efforts to those that are done by the Band Parents Organization. The only exception is our annual “Yankee Candle Sale”. Because the high school band occasionally travels to places like Washington, D.C. or Orlando, Florida, we offer students the opportunity to earn money toward future trips by selling Yankee Candles every fall. Profits from each child’s sales are held in an account for them. After two or three years of selling candles, the money accumulated in your child’s account can go a long way towards minimizing or completely
eliminating the cost of your child’s band trip.

Subfreshman Corner

What is a “Subfreshman”???

Each year, we invite a few of our most talented and dedicated eighth graders to march with the High School Band. We call them “Subfreshmen” because they are part of the class immediately preceding the freshman year. Subfreshmen go to Band Camp with us in August and perform at football games, the Wilmington Veterans Day ceremony, Memorial Day Parade and a few out-of –town parades like the Boston Columbus Day Parade and the Woburn Halloween Parade.
We begin to evaluate potential Subfreshmen in the fall of their 7th grade year. We watch for effort, positive attitude, responsibility and maturity as well as musical ability. Subfreshman invitations go out in late March or early April for the following year. Students considering the Subfreshman experience are asked to check their personal and family schedules to be sure that they will be able to fulfill the time obligation involved in Subfreshman participation BEFORE
they agree to take advantage of this opportunity. For a more detailed description of our evaluation process, go to the Band Camp page and click on "Subfreshmen Corner."

Is there life after Middle School?

YES!…there is…it’s called High School Band

As they move into high school, Middle School Band members discover that the fun and excitement is just beginning.

At the high school, Band is a 5 credit (college prep level) course scheduled during the day. High school classes are scheduled on a seven-day rotation. Band meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (Except on day 6) Band members, who do not play in the Jazz-Rock Ensemble or Woodwind Ensemble,have a directed study on Tuesday and Thursday.

Woodwind Ensemble is a performance class open to flutes and clarinets
and meets on Tuesday and Thursday during the band time block.

Jazz-Rock Ensemble is an honors level course available by audition only. Auditions are held in May for the following year. WHS Jazz meets on Tuesday and Thursday during the band time block.

Are students pulled out of class for lessons?

We do NOT offer group lessons at the high school level. Small group instruction is offered only in grades 4-8. Students seeking additional help in grades 9-12 will need to arrange for private instruction from qualified outside teachers.

Does Band conflict with sports?

Our classes do not interfere with participation in sports. We encourage our students to be active members of the school community. Approximately 80% of high school band members also participate in at least one after-school sports activity. In order to learn our half-time show, we do schedule 5-6 night rehearsals in September from 6-9 pm. This time frame makes it possible for most our students to complete after-school practices or games and rehearse with us as well.

The Wildcat Marching Band performs at all home football games and some away games. Most of these games are on Friday night. We also perform at the Wilmington Veterans Day ceremony, Memorial Day Parade and several out-of –town parades like the Boston Columbus Day Parade and the Woburn Halloween Parade. During concert band season, we perform in December and again in May. 

Does the high school band ever travel?

The high school band has performed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington D.C. and the Main Street Parade at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We also go on an overnight ski trip to Pats Peak in February whenever possible.