DMS Band Handbook


August 2016

Dear Band Students and Parents,

Welcome to the Liberty Band Program!  We hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful summer vacation and are ready to begin or continue the exciting journey of playing in the Liberty Bands! As your directors, we are dedicated to helping you succeed in our band program.  We look forward to our year together and encourage you to contact us if you have any concerns and/or questions.  There will be one or two sections of Beginning Band meeting daily, two sections of Cadet Band meeting daily, and one section of Concert Band meeting daily.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide all parents and students with a general outline of expectations and requirements for the year.  We use this handbook as a guide in creating an ideal learning environment for all involved.  We encourage you to read it thoroughly so there will be no question as to expectations or class rules.  One very important aspect of being in the band program is the personal responsibility expected from all of the students.  The ability to self-discipline is learned early in the band program and is expected throughout high school.  The benefits of instrumental music include many life skills, most notably; communication, discipline, responsibility, teamwork, aesthetic awareness, and enhancing self-esteem.  The policies and procedures found in this handbook are proven to be quite effective at ensuring our middle school band students can reap these rewards.  We trust you will support these methods for continued success.  Please read this handbook with your child and email me letting me know that you read it (and made a note of the required dates) as soon as possible.  Please include your child's full name in your email.

It is our strong assertion that success on a musical instrument can be achieved more quickly with additional private lessons.  The best teacher/student ratio is one-on-one!  A list of quality private teachers is attached and we encourage you to consider this option.

Please read the following band policies, procedures, and expectations for the 2016-2017 school year.  Also included is a band calendar of events for our building.  It is our hope that students will view themselves as a part of an ongoing band program which will take them through their senior year.  Instruction and curriculum is centered on this goal.

Liberty has held a long tradition of excellence in instrumental music and the Liberty School District has grown to earn a reputation across the state as well as the nation, as a leader among public and private school music programs. We trust you will be dedicated to continuing the tradition for the Liberty School District bands through high standards and hard work.


The easiest way to reach me is by email.  My email address is

I have created a distribution list of parents for each band.  For 7th and 8th graders, I am using the email address I had from last year.  For 6th graders, I am using the parent email address that is in PowerSchool.  If you are the parent of a 6th grader, please check and make sure your email address in PowerSchool is correct.  (Also, if there is more than one email address listed in PowerSchool, I used the first one.)  If you want me to use a different email address and/or add one, please email me and let me know.

Middle School Band Policies


As the success of our ensemble is dependent upon each member, it is essential that each one possess and display a positive and cooperative attitude at all times.  This is evident when the following occur: excellent posture, attentiveness, active participation, following the directions of the instructor, and cooperation.  Each of us has the ability to significantly affect the success of the ensemble, positively or negatively, and therefore we each have a responsibility to each other and ourselves.


Rehearsals are the time that is spent in perfecting the performance of music not just for an audience, but also for ourselves.  Because rehearsals represent a group effort, they cannot be made up.  Therefore, an excessive number of excused or unexcused rehearsals will lower the grade.

Performances (see attached concert/performances dates)

Performances are required.  Because each concert represents the material we have been rehearsing in class for the prior weeks, you must attend and participate in each concert.  The middle level bands will tentatively perform two concerts each.  The Concert Band will attend a band festival while selected students from all three grades 6.7.8 will participate in a solo/ensemble festival. Students who are new to band will purchase a band polo shirt at the beginning of the year that they will wear for all performances. The dress code for performances will be the DMS band polo shirt, black pants, black socks, and black dress shoes.   

Classroom Policies

·  Raise your hand before speaking.

·  Play instruments only while being conducted and while warming up—never anywhere else on school property (including on school buses) unless authorized.

·  Never leave instruments unattended.

·  Do not touch other students or their belongings.

·  Bring a pencil to each class meeting.


Grades will be determined on a point system and based on the following criteria:

Academic Performance Assessment- Formative and Summative

Weekly Rehearsal Assessment 30%

Playing Tests 20%

Practice Records 25%

Academic Material 5%

Performances 25%

Band Performance Policy

All performances of the band are important and attendance is absolutely necessary.  The only exceptions are sickness, emergencies, and critical conflicts as defined below.  The director must excuse all absences from a performance prior to the performance.  An absence from a performance will be excused under the following circumstances.  Per school policy, you are required to attend a full school day on the day of the performance in order to participate.

1.  The student is sick in bed.  If a student becomes ill at the last moment, he/she shall e-mail the director at school.

E-Mail Director:

2.     An emergency within the family.  If an emergency develops, the student or parent   should   contact the director as soon as possible and ask to be excused.  The director   will excuse or not excuse the absence based on the seriousness of the emergency. If the   emergency develops at the last minute and the director cannot be contacted, the student   should leave a message for the director at the school. The director will then excuse or not excuse the absence at a later time when all the facts   are available to him/her.

3.     A critical conflict.  A critical conflict is considered to be another school activity   scheduled on the same date in which it is impossible or totally impractical for a student   to participate in both activities. The student should report   the conflict as soon as he/she discovers it so that the director and sponsor   of the other   activity can resolve the conflict.  Should the conflict not be resolved, the school principal will be asked to aid in the resolution of the conflict.  Since band concerts are established   well in advance of the performance date, students must gain prior approval for any other   activity obligation. Non-school activities (such as non-school sports, dance, etc.) will not be considered critical conflicts.

Unexcused absences could result in the lowering of the students’ grade in band.  If a student has a critical conflict: DO NOT WAIT until a day or two before the performance to contact the director.  The earlier a conflict is known, the better the chances of an absence being excused if a performance is missed.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the director(s) as to the reason they were not present. 

In the case of excused absences, the student will be given an alternate assignment to provide for the assessment of performance skills.


Practicing is vital to every student’s progress and improvement in band. This is the major portion of band “homework”. Those students who do not practice will not be successful. It is better to practice a little every day than to wait and “cram” at the last minute. It is understood that everybody will have a bad practice week once in a while.

While we require practice records from beginning band students only, all band students are expected to practice their instruments.  Practicing should be considered homework for band.

First Day With Instruments

Students must demonstrate responsibility by always being prepared with the proper equipment for class.  Not having these items will result in a lowered rehearsal skills grade.  Extreme cases of forgetfulness will result in parental contact.

Friday, August 19, 2016:  First day of band instruments for Cadet Band and Concert Band

Materials needed:

  Cadet Band—Essential Elements Interactive Book 1 (from last year)

                          Essential Elements Interactive Book 2

  Concert Band—Essential Elements Book 2 (from last year)

                          Essential Technique

Tuesday, August 23, 2016:

Submit handbook acknowledgement form (from online handbook).

Monday, October 3, 2016:  First day with band instruments for Beginning Band .

All students enrolled in band must have an instrument & band method book- “Essential Elements Interactive” Book One.


Cadet Band and Concert Band

  Instrument and accessories (mouthpiece, sticks, stick bag, neck strap, reeds, oils. swabs, etc.)

  Pencil – a MUST!


  Book 2 “Essential Elements Interactive” & Book 3 “Essential Techniques” (provided by student)

  Wire music stand for home

  Metronome and stick bag for percussion is required.


Beginning Band

  Recorder (first eight weeks)

  Instrument and accessories (mouthpiece, sticks, neck strap, reeds, oils. swabs, etc.)

  Pencil – a MUST!

  Three-ring binder (1-inch)


  Book 1 – “Essential Elements Interactive” band method

  (provided by student)

  Wire music stand for home

  Metronome and stick bag for percussion is required.

Discovery Middle School has an online school store through Meyer Music.  Click below if you would like to shop for your band supplies this way.

How Parents Can Help

At Home
♪  Show an interest in the music study of your child.

♪  Arrange a regular time for him/her to practice.

♪  Find a quiet place where he/she can practice without interruption.

♪  Help your child with practice as much as possible by counting, studying music text, etc.

♪  Help your student keep a daily record of practice.

♪  Give him/her a safe place in which to keep his/her practice materials.

♪  Keep the instrument in good repair and make sure your child has the necessary supplies (reeds, oils, etc.,) throughout the year.

♪  Make faithful attendance at all activities important.

♪  Encourage him/her to play for others when opportunity arises – in the home, at school, at church, and in the community.

♪  If possible, seek private lessons for your student so he/she will receive the maximum musical experience.

At School

♪  Keep a record of the student’s various musical activities.

♪  Notify the teacher if he/she is to be late or absent to concerts and explain why.

♪  See that he/she takes their instrument and music to and from school every day.

♪  Teach him/her to be punctual at lessons, rehearsals, etc.

♪  See that he/she keeps up with classroom studies and makes up work he/she has missed.

♪  Attend concerts and show your support for what he/she is doing.

Five keys that will open the door to music

♪  Help your child with his/her practicing.

♪  Be generous with your interest and praise.

♪  Credit each achievement with some form of recognition.

♪  Help him/her develop a habit of daily practice.

♪  Encourage note reading instead of playing by ear.

Dates to Remember

Please acknowledge that you read this information

Send an email to Mrs. Whelan at  Include your child's full name, and state that you read and understood the handbook and got the list of dates to put on your calendar.

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