Crossett Brook Middle School


Band Handbook

Crossett Brook Middle School Handbook


Program offerings:

5th grade band - 5th grade band is beginning band is for students who are just starting to learn their instrument. This is open to students in the 5th and 6th grade. We will explore how we play our instruments, what playing music together is like, playing as an ensemble and the start to learn beginning band literature. The beginning band will rehearse on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:15-11:00 AM.

6th grade band 6th grade band is open to students who have been studying their instrument for one full year, and are starting their second year. This is open to 6th graders and some 7th graders. We will continue learning about our instruments, playing as an ensemble, intonation, playing expressively, exploring more difficult and complex music and advancing our music theory knowledge. The 6th grade rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:15-11:00 AM.

7/8th grade band  7/8th grade band is a combined group of 7th and 8th graders who are starting their 3rd + year of playing. Other students may be invited to play with this group if the placement is matching their ability. We will work on performing as an ensemble, developing our musicianship to our best ability, we will expand our knowledge of music theory, and will perform more challenging music. The 7/8 band will meet every day at 8 AM.

6th grade jazz band -The jazz band is open to any students in 6th grade, or their first year playing jazz band music. Basic concepts of playing swing, latin, rock and funk, along with learning how to improvise.  This will meet from 2:30-3 on Mondays.

7/8th grade jazz band -  This group is open to students in 7/8th grade, and selected 6th graders. We will play jazz band music while learning about jazz theory, playing in a jazz style, what a jazz band is, how to improvise and much more. The jazz band will meet after school from 2:30-3:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The jazz band will play at the fall, winter and spring concerts, the WWSU band night and on Church Street in Burlington for the Discover Jazz Festival and at the VTAJE middle school festival.

Drum Line - Drumline is required for all drummers. We’ll work on playing as an ensemble and memorizing cadances, while working on percussion techniques. This will meet from 2:30-3 on Wednesdays, with the exception during ski season when the Stowe program is in place.

Parades  We will be putting together a marching band that will feature all 6-8 band students! We will march in the Vermont All State Music Festival parade, taking place on Wednesday May 8th, in Montpelier!


Smartmusic is a revolutionary software that provides students in multiple types of instant feedback on their playing. CBMS has purchased a subscription for each 5-8th grade band students. Students will need access to the Internet and computer, either at home, or they may use chromebooks at school to complete assignments.  Students will need to complete assignments throughout the year in smartmusic, including several check points that all HUUSD band students will move through together.


Please visit for excellent videos and information about the power and potential of smartmusic as a learning tool. Smartmusic is used in many band programs around the state and the country.


Students will have access to a web based software suite allowing for music composition, sight reading and many other musical opportunities. A selection of assignments will be assigned using this software this school year, including a 4 month long composition project. Access codes will be distributed early this school year.


Students will be assessed in many different ways, so informal, and some formal. Often weekly playing tests are given in the small group lesson, and often there will be a smartmusic playing assessment assigned. Students will have formal major scale assessments twice a year, and level assessments when students reach a specific part of their lesson book.

All 6th grade band students at WWSU make a recording of “Scarborough Fair” for their district assessment in the spring of 6th grade year.

Assessments are an essential tool for determining what a student needs to be successful in their future band study!

Private lessons

We are fortunate to have a private lesson program for students who wish to go “above and beyond.” Private lessons occur with professional performers and educators from around our area. Lessons offered include flute, clarinet, saxophones, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, drum set, percussion, piano, guitar and bass guitar. Lessons are paid for by families ($25 per 30 min lesson each week) and occur on a weekly rotating basis. ½ year commitment is expected for private lessons. Please contact Mr. Liptak ASAP if you’re interested in signing your child up for this additional opportunity.  


Attendance and punctuality at all rehearsals, lessons and performances is expected. Concert attendance is mandatory and is part of the student grade. Students are required to participate in concerts, with the exception of emergencies or special circumstances.


Students are expected to participate for the entire school year. Musicians in band and chorus work together as a team, and a well rounded ensemble creates a better learning environment for all students. While students are in band class, other students are involved in other classes built around the music schedule. The cut off for dropping band for the year, is Friday August 31st. This cut off date allows the rest of the school to plan for students not involved in our music department.

In participting in band, students and families agree to participate in all concerts and events:

Mandatory band only dates are:

November concert - Thur. 15th (6-8 band)

February concert - Thur. 19th, snow date 21st (6-8 band)

Vermont All State Parade - Wed. May 8th (6-8 band)

May concert - Thur. 23rd. (5-8 band) **5th grades first concert**

Full calendar on the last page! Please print it out and put dates on your calendar now!

Lesson and rehearsal expectations

Students are expected to arrive on time for their lessons and rehearsals, with their instrument, pencil, music, reeds and any other equipment they need. Participation and effort will be part of the student class grade.


All grading will be proficiency based. Students and Mr. Liptak will be developing the scoring rubrics and students will have the opportunity to self assess weekly.


All students participating in band will receive one 30 minute lesson a week with Mr. Liptak. The lessons are scheduled during the day, and will rotate on the trimester, to have the least impact on student learning in their core classes. Lessons are offered in small groups, most with the same instrument. A few one on one lessons will be given to students on a case by case basis.

It is the students responsibility to keep track of their schedule and come to their lesson on time. Missed lessons will be reflected in the student grade.

Missed lessons may be made up on a case by case basis.  


Learning music is a three way partnership comprised of the student, the parents and the teacher. Each member of the partnership has an equal responsibility to help the student be successful. Here are a few pointers:

Lesson books

Students are required to provide their own lesson books. Please order these books through Advance or Ellis music. We will be using the Sound Innovations book. Grades 5-6 will use book one, grades 7-8 will use Sound Innovations book two.


Both Advance Music and Ellis Music make weekly visits to our school to supply us with lesson books, cleaning supplies, at least 10 reeds, valve oil, mutes and other accessories. Parents needing supplies are asked to order directly with Ellis or Advance. Reed are available in the band room for purchase of $1.00 per reed. Valve oil is avaliable for purchase in the band room for $5.

The purchase of method books and supplies are the responsibility of the students and families. (802) 234-6400 (800) 660-8652

Practice rooms

Students may use practice rooms during the school day with permission from Mr. Liptak or Mrs. Dubois for practicing instruments.

Winooski Valley Music Festivals        

Students showing great effort and responsibility are eligible for nomination in two district wide music festivals, and a state wide festival. The Winooski Valley Music festival and the Winooski Valley Jazz Festival are open for students in 7th and 8th grade by nomination from their music teacher.

Dates for these festivals are as follows:

Winooski Valley Jazz Festival – Feburary 7-8 at U32 High School

Middle School Music Festival – April 3rd location TBA 

CBMS Music Calendar 2018-2019

Please LIKE the CBMS Music Facebook page!

(All events at 7 PM, unless noted)

Nov. 15                        Fall Concert: 6-8 band, Jazz band, 5-8 chorus concert

Dec. 1                        River of Light Parade

Dec. 14-15                Musical - Elf, Jr. (show times TBD)

Feb. 7-8                Winooski Valley Jazz Festival (selected 7/8th grade only) @ U32

Feb. 19                        WWSU band night (6-8 and 7/8 Jazz only) @ HUHS  (Snow date 2/21)


Mar. 12                WWSU chorus night  @ HUHS  (Snow date 3/13)

Mar. TBD                VMEA Elem. Choral Festival (select 5th grade singers)

Apr. 3                        Winooski Valley Music Festival (7/8 chorus/band, by nomination) @                                    TBD

Apr. TBD                VTAJE Middle School festival @ Mill River Union High School (7/8 jazz only)

May 2                        OPUS 5 composition concert (select 7/8 musicians)

May 3-4                ACDA Children’s Honor Choir (select 6-8th grade singers)

May 8                         Vermont All State Music Festival Parade - Montpelier 6 PM

(ALL 6-8 band)

May 16                        Spring Chorus concert (grades 5-8)

May 23                        Spring Band concert (grades 5-8)


Concert dress unless indicated otherwise:

Any combination of black and white