2021 – 2022
Alex White, Band Director
Note from the Band Director
Dear Band Students and Parents,
Welcome to the 2021-2022 John Sevier Middle School Band Program! The purpose of this handbook is to inform the JSMS band students and parents of the educational opportunities, as well as the responsibilities and expectations that are required of each band member.
A quality band program offers students many ways to grow academically, musically, socially, and personally. We will strive to perform music at a high level and continuously push each other to be the best we can... while having a ton of FUN! It is my goal for all students who complete their band career at JSMS to come away with a life-long appreciation for the arts and an ability to express themselves through music for as long as they have a passion to do so.
The JSMS Band will consist of two primary groups:
1) Beginning Band – comprised of all new 6th grade members
2) Advanced Band – comprised of all returning 7th & 8th grade members
It is my hope that students will learn to strive for high standards and possess an unquenchable desire for excellence. Please do not let perceived scheduling or financial issues be a reason not to join the band. We welcome ALL students who have a positive attitude and want to learn an instrument! I look forward to working with the JSMS students and parents and am excited to see what we can accomplish together.
Mr. Alex White
Band Room: 423-378-2454
TABLE of CONTENTS
II. Summer Band Camps p.5
III. Braces & Dental Appointments p.5
IV. Ten Essentials for Success p. 6
V. Instrument Repair Procedures p. 7
VI. Grading Procedures p. 7
VII. SmartMusic p. 9
VIII. Attendance Expectations p. 10
IX. Beginning Band (6th) objectives p. 11
X. Advanced Band (7/8th) Objectives p. 12
XI. Pep Band – Football games & Other p. 12
XII. Performance Attire p. 14
XIII. Disciplinary Procedures p. 15
XIV. “Quitting” Band p. 15
XV. Invitation to join Advanced Band p. 16
XVI. Open Band Room p. 16 XVII. Instrument & Equipment Information p. 17
XVIII. Music p. 20
XIX. JSMS Band Booster Club p. 21
XX. Private Lessons p. 24
XXI. Awards & Recognitions p. 26 XXII. Jazz Band p. 26
I. Band Calendar
*This schedule serves as a tentative outline for the year and is subject to change. Other performances or events may be announced throughout the year. Please consult the official calendar at Tinyurl.com/JSMSband
Fall Semester 2021
*Special Note: All JSMS Athletes, Cheerleaders, & Dance Team in the Advanced Band are NOT required to participate in any conflicting Pep Band performances.
Spring Semester 2022
After-School Practice (3:00-4:00pm) - *Offerings subject to change
*These “After-School” offerings are optional. Anyone can come to the band room until 4pm to practice any day. Attendance counts towards students’ weekly practice records
II. Summer Band Camps
The Summer Band Camps provide students with a fantastic way to have fun and get a head-start on next year. These camps are optional but highly encouraged for all band members. This year’s camps will offer an informal “meet & greet”, team-building fun, and a first-look at Pep Band Music for 7th & 8thGrade. 6th grade students will also participate in “Jump-Start” Day(s) near the beginning of the Fall semester, more info to come!
Summer 2021 Dates
III. Braces & Dental Appointments
It is often necessary for middle school students to need braces or other major dental work. This does impact a student’s ability to play in a significant way. Immediate challenges will arise with tone production, intonation and endurance. These can be very discouraging to individual students and impact the band as a whole. While these obstacles can be overcome, all students and parents should be aware of and patient with these challenges. Please consider your child’s band performance schedule when setting major dental work appointments.
IV. Top Ten Essentials for Success
1. Be respectful to your instructors. Sir, ma’am, please, and thank you are words that should be frequently heard in the band room. If you would like to speak during a rehearsal, raise your hand and wait to be recognized. Follow instructions the first time they are given.
2. Be respectful to your fellow band members. We should want to support and encourage our team members. Unless you are offering a high-five, handshake, or pat on the back; you should not touch another student.
3. Be respectful of our room, equipment, and instruments. Properly maintain your instrument and never touch instruments belonging to others. Food, gum, and drinks (water is an exception) are not allowed in the band room.
4. Remember that rehearsal time is valuable. Arrive on time (early!) and get to your seat as quickly as possible so rehearsals can begin promptly. Do not ask to go the bathroom during a rehearsal (except emergencies). When musical corrections or suggestions are made, always use your pencil to mark a reminder on your music. Stay focused and on-task, let’s be efficient!
5. Remember that your band class period is for band rehearsal. Please do not ask to use band class time to make up work or tests in another class. In return, you will not be asked to make up band assignments during another class period.
6. You must have all your materials to learn. Always bring your instrument, ALL music and accessories, and a pencil to every rehearsal and performance.
7. Keep track of band events. You are a very important part of our team and fellow band members are counting on you. Do everything in your power to avoid missing band rehearsals and performances.
8. Remember that band is more fun, the better you get. Success in music requires you to set goals and practice regularly. Complete your practice records (90 minutes/week) and pass-off your musical objectives to acquire the skills you need to have fun performing in the Sevier and eventually the DB Band!
9. Remember that your band instructors desire the very best for you. You will not be asked to do something that you are not capable of achieving. Remember the power of the word “yet”. Never give up.
10. Maintain excellence in EVERYTHING you do. Give your best in every band rehearsal and performance. Success in band also means that you strive to be excellent students, friends, and family members.
V. Instrument Repair Procedures
All instruments, regardless of quality, will need routine maintenance. Parts of instruments can break and accidents may happen. It is important that students first take the instrument to a band director if an instrument needs help. Many repairs can be made by a band director, staff member or repairman who visits weekly. NEVER try to repair an instrument at home. NEVER take the instrument to the music store or a repair shop without first consulting the band director. This can result in the student being without his/her instrument for potentially weeks, which could impact their grade.
VI. Grading Procedures
Students earn their grade in band through at-home practice, positive and active participation in daily classes, being prepared with all music, instrument and equipment, attendance at all band rehearsals and performances, and through individual and group assessment. Total class grade is divided into 3 major categories:
1. Homework – 10%
90 minutes per week of “out-of-class” practice. This can include before or after school practice in the band room). *Private lessons can also be included in this time. “Practice Records” will be turned in through a google form (at tinyurl.com/JSMSband) after each practice session. All students are required to turn in at least 3 per week and must total at least 90 minutes of practice time each week to receive credit. Weekly practice records are due by Thursday at 8:00pm. Practice Records are accepted 1-day late (Friday at 8:00am) with a 20% grade deduction. Late submissions after the 1-day penalty will not be accepted. 90+ minutes = 100. 1-day Late = 80. Anything after the 1-day Late = 60. Less than 90 minutes = incomplete (60).
2. Classwork – 40%
Points are earned for daily preparation and class participation. This includes having all music, working instruments, and all materials. This also includes having a positive attitude, acting in a respectful manner, and actively participating in daily rehearsals. This is a weekly grade: each day in the week counting as 20 points - total 100/week.
3. Assessment – 50%
As a performance-based class, the largest portion of the grade comes from individual & ensemble performances. Much of our class time is spent preparing the band as a whole for the next performance. Students who are on-time and participate to the best of their ability will receive full points for performances. Live performances cannot be replicated but a written or video-recorded make-up assignment may be given to anyone who misses a band performance for any reason. Assessment grades come from a combination of performance opportunities, including: full ensemble performances, individual objective pass-offs, and solo/audition preparation.
Musical Objectives: Band Karate” & “Jedi Academy”
A pass-off system will be in place for all students to work through as they progress on their instruments. These are meant to motivate students, allow them to move at their own pace, give them clear practice goals, and allow the band director the chance to offer individual feedback. A minimum number of objectives will be required each grading period to help keep students on track. Beginning Band (6th grade) will use “Band Karate”. Advanced Band (7th & 8th Grade) will use the “Jedi Academy”. Students pass off objectives to move up “belts” or “ranks”. More details in section IX and X. Completing these objectives will earn the student Assessment Grade points.
Solo & Small Ensemble Performance
During the Spring semester, Advanced Band students will have the option to participate in a solo and ensemble performance assessment. This usually takes place on a Saturday. All students are expected to prepare at least 1 solo or small ensemble piece for class with the option to participate in this event. Performing at this event counts as an Assessment grade. The student’s overall rating earned at this event determines the assessment grade (I=100, II=90, III=80, IV or below = 60). If a student chooses not to attend the festival, an appointment must be set to perform for the band director.
ETSBOA Jr. Clinic & Auditions
All members of the 7th & 8th Grade Advanced band are HIGHLY encouraged to participate in the East Tennessee School Band & Orchestra (ETSBOA) Jr. Clinic Auditions held in January. Students who are selected for the honor band will get to spend a weekend rehearsing and performing with other top student musicians from our region. This is one of the most prestigious honors for a middle school band student. Extra help is highly encouraged through the form of band director help sessions and private lessons. Only students who show they are properly prepared will be permitted to audition. Auditions consist of three components: scales, sight-reading and a prepared piece. We will cover the audition process thoroughly during classes.
Students who perform well in the audition process, may be selected into one of the Jr. Clinic Honor Bands. This is the highest honor for middle school musicians from across the upper East Tennessee region to come together. The clinic takes place over a weekend where all chosen musicians will prepare for a concert performance over the course of 2-3 days with a special guest conductor.
Final Grading Procedure Notes
SmartMusic is a web-based music program that is offered to all JSMS band wind players, accessed on any computer. This program allows students to play their music to the computer microphone. It will record and assess their playing, tell which notes and rhythms were missed, and send their score to the band director. Students have the ability to do an unlimited amount of “takes” before choosing which one to submit. The program also has options to hear full band accompaniments so that students can hear the other parts and not feel alone while practicing. Several of the Band Objectives can be passed off using SmartMusic with a score of 98 or above. Percussion will utilize the “Flipgrid” program instead to submit their “takes” for grading.
VIII. Attendance Expectations
As a member of the Sevier Band, you are required to attend all band functions unless your conflict is an emergency or pre-approved with the band director. It is your responsibility to be on time and at “performance-level” prior to every band function. Performance-level means that you are physically and mentally in attendance, that you have all the necessary items, and are ready to perform your very best. Band functions include all performances and rehearsals. As a band, we function as a TEAM. Each student performer plays a vital role on our team and any absence is at the expense of everyone else in the ensemble. Performances are unique opportunities to showcase all of our hard work. Don’t miss them!
*An up-to-date Calendar of all band functions will be available on our website – www.sevierband.org and on every student’s My Music Office (MMO) Account.
In order to obtain an approved excused absence from a band function, a parent/guardian must submit an official request in writing as soon as possible to Mr. White (email preferred). Excused absences will be handled on an individual basis at the discretion of the director.
Student illness, death in the family or emergencies (per director discretion) are considered excused absences. In the case of sudden illness or emergency please contact a band director by email as soon as feasible. This is so we do not worry about you and know that you are accounted for.
Conflicts should be communicated with the band director as soon as possible for planning purposes. Non-emergency schedule conflicts must be submitted to the band director at least 2 weeksbefore a scheduled band event.
Please note that scheduling avoidable non-emergency conflicts such as doctor or dentist appointments, non-communicated transportation issues, homework, or “forgetting” are not generally considered excused. Lack of advanced communication about a non-emergency absence is inherently unexcused. Failure to attend a required band function will result in a parent-administration conference, significant grade deduction, and/or could result in removal from the band program. Please plan ahead and communicate!
Academic & Extra-Curricular Conflicts
We fully support our students who are involved in areas outside of band. We will do our best to work with each student on an individual basis to allow the student to participate in his/her other activity as well as band. Please contact the band director to work out all conflicts ahead of time. *Please do not let any other activity be a reason for not participating in the band!
IX. Beginning Band Objectives
“Band Karate” – 6th Grade
“Band Karate” is a fun way to help Beginning Band students set goals and track their musical progress and growth. Students are given clear objectives to “pass-off” before they are promoted to the next “belt”. Students will receive a sticker for their collection sheet.
Directions: Notify Mr. White when you are ready to demonstrate the skills required to earn your next belt. The best time to perform is during “Open Band Room” from 7:05-7:40am, immediately after-school by appointment, during select band classes, or during the school day by appointment. Later belts may allow students to pass-off objectives in SmartMusic.
The description of each belt includes a goal completion date. Students are highly encouraged to work ahead as much as possible. Students who have trouble meeting these completion goals should seek out help from the Mr. White, another band staff, and/or private lesson teachers. Info available at www.sevierband.org
X. Advanced Band Objectives
“Jedi Academy” - 7th & 8th Grade Band Students
Students in the 7th & 8th grade “Advanced Band” will progress through a similar objective-based system. This multi-year curriculum is similar to “Band Karate” but contains more levels and objectives that span over the next 2 years of band. This system is also designed for students to progress through the levels at their own pace as students are highly encouraged to advance as quickly as they can. For nearly all objectives, students can pass-off objectives with Flipgrid, or in-person with Mr. White or band staff. For this year: both 7th and 8th graders are expected to reach Rank 4 “Jedi” by the end of the year. High-achieving students are encouraged to complete the requirements to earn Rank 9 “Grand Master” and Rank 10 “Legend”. Special recognition awaits students who achieve these great accomplishments. Info available at tinyurl.com/JSMSband
XI. JSMS Pep Band
Advanced Band - 7th & 8th Grade Band students
All members of the Advanced Band (7th & 8th grade band members) are automatically a part of the JSMS Pep Band. We will attend all home varsity football games (weather-permitting) and may play at various other school events, including pep rallies. The goal of the Pep Band is to have FUN, play songs that the students and crowd enjoy, and support the JSMS football team and school as a whole.
2021 JSMS Football Home Game Schedule
Sample Game Day schedule (unofficial*)
3:15 Students meet in the JSMS Band Room
4:00 Full Band Run-Through
4:30 Load Buses & Depart
5:10 Pizza Dinner (optional $5 or parents can drop-off meals)
5:40 Band Seated in the stands
6:00 Game Begins – Go Warriors!
7:30 Game Ends – Students are picked-up at DBHS
*Exact times may vary – please stay in touch with your students and follow the JSMS Band Twitter for live updates - @JSMSband. *Times and events are subject to change
All football games are held at TBA. Please be ready to pick-up your student from either Dobyns-Bennett High School at the end of the game (approx. 7:30pm). Students who are not picked up within 20 minutes of the end of the game may not be permitted to travel with the Pep Band to future events. Any weather, delays, or cancellations will be communicated via email and social media.
General Pep Band Rules & Conflicts
XII. Performance Attire
All members of the band are required to dress in the appropriate attire for all performances. Members who do not follow the performance attire may be deemed ineligible to perform with the band and will count as an unexcused absence. Please see the band director or the Sevier Family Liaison.
Pep Band Performances
Concert Performances – 6th Grade Beginning Band
Concert Performances – 7th & 8th Grade Advanced Band
XIII. Disciplinary Procedures
Band students are held to a high disciplinary standard and are expected to act in a professional manner at all times. Students who do not correct their misbehavior when asked will be subject to the following disciplinary procedures:
Classroom Disciplinary procedures
Students who do not follow the “Ten Essentials” laid out previously, will be given a warning and reminded to correct their misbehavior. If the action does not improve, the student may be re-located in the rehearsal or temporarily removed from the ensemble. Students who misbehave on trips or away events may lose the privilege of travelling with the band. A parent call or email will be made and school disciplinary measures will be followed if any disciplinary actions is warranted beyond the initial warning. Consistent misbehavior will lead to probationary status as detailed below.
Students who display chronic discipline problems, are consistently unprepared with class materials, consistently fall behind in their musical objective attempts, or miss a performance (unexcused), will be placed on temporary probationary status. Parents will be sent a letter that must be signed and returned outlining the terms and length of the probationary status. Violation of any of the terms will result in a band director/admin conference that could lead to removal from the band program.
XIV. “Quitting Band”
It is the sincere hope of the band director and band staff that no student will ever want to no longer participate in the band program. Often, students may say they want to quit band out of frustration with a musical issue, peer pressure, or feeling overwhelmed. Learning an instrument takes a lot of patience, especially at the beginning. There are many life-lessons gained from sticking with it! Parents should contact the band director to schedule a conference if their child is expressing an interest in quitting.
XV. Promotion to join Advanced Band
6th grade Beginning Band is open to all students but continued participation in the program is a privilege reserved for those who have demonstrated a strong work ethic and have fulfilled their obligations to the band program. Some of the criteria used to determine re-admittance to the program include:
XVI. Open Band Room
The JSMS Band room is open from 7:05-7:40am and 2:45-4:00pm each school day for students who want to come in and practice or get individual help. The band director or band staff will sign practice records for students who practice during these times. Students who do not use this time to practice will be asked to leave and may not be allowed to participate for a period of time.
XVII. Instrument & Equipment Information
Having a quality and working instrument is vitally important for the success of every band student. Please note the following guidelines when it comes to the acquisition, care and maintenance of instruments and equipment. Please consult the band director, band staff or private lesson instructor for all instrument-specific details; including: mouthpiece upgrades, reed brands, instrument upgrades, etc.
All instruments should be in the highest visual and working quality at all times Color & Polish – All brass instruments must be either silver or brass (gold) lacquer plated finish. *No Walmart brand or off-color instruments permitted.
1) All keys, valves, slides lubricated on a regular basis and in good working order
2) All instruments must be properly stored and transported individually in a protective case.
King 601 - Student
Yamaha YTR 2335 - Student
Bach Stradivarius - Pro
Yamaha Xeno - Pro
Bach 5C or 3C
Holton 179 – Intermediate
Yamaha Geyer Wrap – Pro
Conn 6D or 8D - Pro
Bach 7, Holton MDC, or Schilke 27/29
Trombone with F Attachment*
Eastman ETB430/432 - Student
Yamaha YSL448G - Student
Bach 42BO – Pro
Jupiter XO - Pro
Edwards - Pro
Shires - Pro
Bach 6½ AL or Schilke 51
Yamaha YEP 321-Intermediate
Wilson - Pro
Bach 6½ AL or 5G
Yamaha – Intermediate
St. Petersburg N202 – Intermediate
Miraphone 191 - Pro
Bach 18, Bach 25, or Conn Helleberg 7B/120-S
All instruments should be in the highest visual and working quality at all times Color & Polish – Piccolos: silver or black finish; Clarinets: black finish; Saxophones: Brass or Silver Lacquer finish. *No Walmart brands or off-color instruments. All reed instruments are encouraged to play on Vandoren or Legere synthetic reeds. .
1) All keys, corks, and joints lubricated on a regular basis
2) All instruments must be properly stored/transported in a protective case;
3) All reed instrument players must have at least 2 alternating reeds at all times.
Recommended Mouthpieces/ Reeds
Jupiter CEF551 – student
Armstrong 104 - student
Pearl 665 or higher - Pro
Yamaha 481H - Pro
Yamaha 581H - Pro
Yamaha 684H - Pro
Fox 333 – Student
Yamaha 211 – Student
Fox 400 – Pro
Loree - Pro
Fox 41 - - Student
Fox 222 - Pro
Fox 220 - Pro
Fox CVX bocal
Yamaha YCL220 – Student
Selmer CL300 - Student
Buffet E11 – Student
Buffet R-13 - Pro
Behn Overture, Van Doren B45 or M13 mouthpieces
Vandoren 2.5-3.5 reeds or Legere Synthetic
Yamaha YAS-23 - Student
Buffet BC8101 – Student
Yamaha YAS62II - Pro
Selmer C* mouthpiece
Vandoren 2-2.5 reeds or Legere Synthetic
Yamaha YTS23 - Student
Yamaha YTS62II - Pro
Yamaha YTS875EX - Pro
Selmer C* Mouthpiece
Van Doren 2.5-3.5 reeds or Legere Synthetic
All instruments should be in the highest visual and working quality at all times. Beginning Band Percussion Supply Kit will already include many of these items.
1) All lugs lubricated on a regular basis and in good working order
2) All instruments, heads free of major dents or cracks that could either prohibit maximum performance capabilities and/or present severe cosmetic distractions
3) All instruments must be properly stored and transported individually in a protective case when applicable
4) All percussionists should approved sticks and mallets (from kit or chart below)
5) No decorating the percussion instruments in any way without approval
6) All instruments must be cleaned and/or polished before every performance.
Individuals will be held financially responsible for any damages which occur.
Vic Firth Symphonic Collection SCS1 Persimmon
Vic Firth Rober Van Sice M113 Marimba Mallets, Orchestral Series M132 Xylophone Mallets
Vic Firth Standard Stick Bag
Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Slimpad, Evans Reelfeel
It is the responsibility of each individual student to keep up with their own music. Students are given an official “Band Binder” at the start of the year that includes sheet protectors, pencil pouch, mechanical pencil, and many pieces of music/handouts. A replacement binder will cost approximately $5.
Pep band music should be kept in their own flip folder. Every student should have their own music so that they can mark their music based on their individual needs. Losing music can also hurt a student’s grade for being unprepared. Requests for music copies should not be made at the beginning of class because it delays starting the class on time. Students should request music after class or email ahead of time to avoid wasting valuable class time.
XIX. JSMS Band Booster Club
The John Sevier Middle School Band Booster Club is a 501©3 non-profit organization to assist the band director in providing a high quality musical experience for all students enrolled in the John Sevier band. The primary goals of the Boosters are to aid in providing needed funds to support the budget of the band program and provide volunteer assistance as set forth by the band director. Additionally, the Boosters provide needed funds for band equipment, instructional needs, and overall assistance as requested by the band director for the general operation of the Sevier Band. The club has a constitution and by-laws (available online).
All JSMS band families are welcome in our booster club! One of the major reasons that the JSMS Band has been successful in the past is due to the efforts and contributions of parent volunteers. If you have the desire to help the band in any way, we have a place for you! Please reach out to our Booster Officers or check the band website for updates on ways to help. There are many things parents can do:
The JSMS Band Booster Club will sponsor several different fundraising events throughout the year to support the band program. Please make every effort to help participate in these events. Special consideration is put into each event with a focus on limiting the number of “selling fundraisers” to a minimal amount. Fundraisers are TBA for the 2021-2022 school year.
While there is no official “membership” fee to join the band program, a $40 “Middle School Band fee” is in place as a service to help band families get all band materials for the school year and set students up for success. Payments are made to the booster club and materials are delivered directly to students in the band room.
Other incidental costs may include:
*FINANCIAL DISCLAIMER: No student will ever be turned away or denied an opportunity to participate in band at JSMS due to financial difficulty. If you would like more information on alternative solutions, please contact the band director or a booster club officer.
The JSMS band offers multiple forms of communication to ensure that students and parents stay informed about important band news, updates, and events. Below is a list of communication methods that we will use:
One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being a band member is going on trips. To ensure that all students stay safe and that we travel in an orderly and efficient manner, we ask that the following guidelines be followed:
XX. Private Lessons
The very best way for a child to be set-up for success in their musical journey is to take private lessons with a professional musician. There is simply no substitute for the benefits from one-on-one attention of a private teacher whose only goal is to help your child improve. Parents are recommended to use the teachers below that have been officially endorsed by the band program.
CLARINET & SAXOPHONE
David Lester - Saxophone
OBOE & BASSOON
TRUMPET & FRENCH HORN
TROMBONE, BARITONE, &
*Lesson teachers serve as independent contractors. The Sevier Band program is not financially tied to any teacher. Private lesson teachers set their own lesson prices (which may vary from teacher to teacher). All financial agreements are made privately between student families and lesson teachers.
XXI. Awards & Recognitions
Students will be recognized during class on a weekly basis for advancing in the band curriculum (band karate or passing musical objectives). Outstanding band members may also be recognized during the annual Band Banquet and/or Spring Concert for the following (other awards may be added):
Beginning Band Awards
Advanced Band Awards
XXII. Jazz Band
The JSMS Jazz Band is composed of our top musicians who play a jazz band instrument (trumpet, trombone, saxophone, percussion, guitar). Students who do not play a “jazz instrument” can talk with Mr. White about “doubling”. This is where a student learns a “jazz instrument” to participate. This is an extra-curricular ensemble. Membership is gained through audition and retained through weekly preparation. After-school rehearsal time and additional performances are required of jazz band members. Parents of students who audition for jazz band must sign a contract stating they understand and agree to the commitment required to participate. Students who earn a spot in the jazz band are committed through the entire school year and agree to attend all rehearsals and performances.