"Mount Pleasant Area School District Elementary Band Handbook"
Mount Pleasant Area School District Elementary Band Handbook “The Richest Child is Poor Without Music” Mr. Scott Kemerer Elementary Instrumental Music Teacher Mount Pleasant Area School District Donegal, Norvelt, and Ramsay Elementary Schools Phone: (724) 547-4100 Extension 3003 E-mail: email@example.com Mount Pleasant Area School District 271 State Street, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania 15666 (724)547-4100 2|Page Elementary Band---Starting a talent that will carry with you: The Elementary Band Instrumental Music Program of the Mount Pleasant Area School District is an elective course of lesson study within the curriculum, available to students in grade levels Five and Six. The Instrumental Band Curriculum also continues throughout grade levels Seven through Twelve at the Mount Pleasant area Junior/Senior High School, with Mrs. Erin Blystone in the Jr. High, and Mr. Frederick Collins, at the Sr. High. At the elementary level, basic instruments may be admitted to beginner band instrument study: Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, or Percussion Kit. It is important to note that Elementary band is a course of study, rather than a club or an extracurricular/co-curricular activity. As a course, it is graded, and the mastery of the course concepts must be satisfactory in order for a satisfactory grade to be achieved. Band students normally receive one twenty-five minute period of instruction per week. A grade is issued to each student for each lesson’s work. If a student does not make expected progress in instrumental study, the Band Director may recommend to the student’s parents or guardian that the student should discontinue instrumental study at that time. Acquiring an instrument: Although the school district itself does not generally supply instruments for students, there are several reputable musical instrument dealers who offer rent-to-buy instrument programs for band students. The primary dealer of this type which services our school district is Volkwein Bros. Music Company, with sites in both Pittsburgh and Latrobe, PA. Mr. David Auman, a degreed, professional musician, is the Volkwein’s representative for our district’s band program. Mr. Auman also helps with our band tryouts, at which time, the students trying out are given a rental contract from Volkwein’s to take home in the event that they need to rent an instrument. If the parents of the child wishes to rent an instrument from Volkwein’s, they will need to fill out the rental form, enclose a check for the appropriate initial rental amount, and MAIL the form DIRECTLY to Volkwein’s in the envelope provided in the rental packet. DO NOT bring the form back to school, because the school does not do the contract business with the rental company, and must be managed by those two parties. As a courtesy, however, Volkwein’s does deliver the rented instruments to the schools at which the renting students are enrolled. The Band Director will distribute the instruments to the beginner band students on or about the delivery date, which is usually in mid-September of the school year. 3|Page Students may also acquire an instrument elsewhere. A List of local instrument dealers and repair companies can be found in the back of this handbook. Before making such a purchase, it is advisable to contact Mr. Kemerer, the Band Director, to make certain that the instrument is of suitable quality. The lowest price tag does not always signal a bargain. In many cases, a used brand name instrument can be a better investment than a new “off-brand” instrument at the same price. Sometimes, a family may already have an instrument at home, which may be usable for lessons. In this case, the interested student should bring the instrument in to Mr. Kemerer to make sure that it is in good playing condition. Mr. Kemerer will let you know if it is in need of repair and provide information for repair shops around the area. Beginner “Settling-In” Period When a student begins band instruction, they usually need a “settling-in” period of about four months with that instrument to determine whether or not the regimen of instrumental study and the disciplines of practicing will be suitable for the student. For this reason, the initial band instrument rental period of most local instrument companies is four months, by which time it should be determined whether or not the student is making expected progress on the instrument. At the conclusion of the four- month period, the Band director will make a recommendation as to whether or not the student should continue study on that instrument, change instruments, or discontinue study. For students beginning band at the outset of the school year, the end of the four month period would coincide with the end of the first semester of the school year (the end of the second report card period) Practice Student will not experience success with playing their instruments correctly without DAILY PRACTICE. Practice is necessary to develop the fine motor skills, coordination and hand and facial muscle tone required to play an instrument. Students who do not practice a minimum of fifteen minutes or more each day will not easily be able to succeed in mastering an instrument. In the back of each students method book, they will be given exercises and practice songs for their next lesson. The focus of practice is to get these exercises and songs ready for performance in the next lesson. If a student does not show adequate progress and does not practice the minimum amount of time, that student will have to get a parent’s initials each week that verifies their practice times. 4|Page Playing an instrument is hard work, but is also fun. In addition, educational research supports the conclusion that studying an instrument as a child also creates neural pathways in the human brain which facilitate mathematical skills! Fifteen minutes or more of practice each day can yield very nice results in musical and even mathematical achievement. Discontinuance of Band Study Sometimes, reasons arise which necessitate that a student discontinues band study. (quits) Such reasons are numerous, and may include such diverse variables as changes in student interest regarding an instrument, a parental request for a child to discontinue band study, band director recommendation for student discontinuance at a particular time, or the lack of necessary student progress toward instrument mastery. Since band is a graded course and parent may be renting the instrument on which the child was studying, the following steps MUST be taken for the student to discontinue band study, in order to address all considerations of closure: 1. Please NOTIFY MR. KEMERER directly and immediately of the intent to discontinue band study. This is so that the grade book entries for that student may be correctly closed. DO NOT simply stop coming to lessons, and do not ask another student to tell Mr. Kemerer that you are quitting. Mr. Kemerer must be told of the discontinuance of study by the student who is quitting, or that student’s parent/guardian. 2. If you are renting an instrument, please call your instrument rental company, in order to adjust and close your rental account. Follow the company’s instructions as to how to return the instrument to the company. 3. Please return any books and music that were currently issued for this band course to Mr. Kemerer as soon as possible. Scheduling of Band Students The Elementary Band schedule is a rotating “Pull-Out” type of schedule, in which the students are excused for twenty-five minutes, from a class to attend band lessons at a different time each week on the assigned band lesson day. The day of the week for band lessons is always the same for the students, but the times rotate, to prevent students from being consistently removed from the same class each week. 5|Page Band Textbooks Currently, the Mount Pleasant Area School district Band Program, from Grade five through grade twelve, uses as its primary textbook series from band instruction the series entitled, “Accent on Achievement” by John O’Riley and Mark Williams, published in 1998 by Alfred Publishing Company, Inc. of Van Nuys, California. This series meets and exceeds the nine standards established in the U.S. National Standards For Music Education, which are: 1. Singing a varied repertoire of music. 2. Performing a varied repertoire of music. 3. Improvisation. 4. Composing and arranging. 5. Reading and notating music. 6. Listening, analyzing, and describing music. 7. Evaluating music performances. 8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts. 9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture. Band method books in the elementary band program are used from year to year until they are completed, at which point the next book in the series will be supplied to the student. In addition to the band method books, other supplemental materials, such as concert music, exercises, and technical drills are also used as needed. Attendance and Grading Students are required to be present on time at their weekly scheduled lessons, along with their instruments and music. Unexcused absence from a band lesson, when not absent from school will result in an unsatisfactory grade of zero for that lesson. When a student is late for a lesson, every reasonable effort is made to locate the student so that an absence does not occur. Even if a student forgets to bring his/her instrument or band music, they must still report to the band lesson. Excused absences will incur no grade penalty. Absences may be excused by a Physician, Parent or Guardian, the Principle, School Nurse, or Band Director. 6|Page Lessons are based on a 20 point system per week. Grading for each lesson is based upon the following factors: 1. Preparation: Student must demonstrate the practice that they have done throughout the week in order to complete the assignment 2. Attendance: Student must come to lesson on time and prepared, with instrument and book. 3. Tone Quality and Timbre: Student must demonstrate the ability to make a proper tone on their instrument with correct embouchure and knowledge of fingerings. 4. Execution: Student must demonstrate playing proficiency from week to week, and mastery of the exercises and music assigned for that week. 5. Performance: Student must demonstrate competency in areas of correct pitch, rhythm, intonation, tone quality, articulations, and dynamics which allow evidence of sufficient and proper practice. Band Rules and Procedures 1. At the beginning of the school year, you will be given a band folder, a band lesson group schedule, and a band method book. You will need to always bring these things to all of your band lessons, along with your instrument and a pencil. Band is a class, and you will receive a grade for every lesson, and also a band grade on your report card, so it is important that you come to your band lesson prepared. Keep everything in your band folder, including handouts and extra music that Mr. Kemerer gives you. 2. On lesson day: Instrument, Folder, book, and pencil. You can place these things in the band room at the beginning of the school day. You must report for your lesson even if you forgot your music or your instrument. At the end of the band lesson day, be sure to take your instrument and your other band materials home, for practice. 3. When you are home, you MUST practice every day for at least 15 minutes! If you do not, you will not be able to play your instrument properly, and that will lower your band class grade. 4. Near the end of the school year, we will have a band concert combining the band students of Donegal, Norvelt, and Ramsay Elementary Schools at our High School. Parents or Guardians will receive handout on what the dress is for the concert, dates, and times. 5. ENJOY MAKING MUSIC!!! 7|Page Mr. Kemerer’s Current Teaching Schedule Monday—Norvelt Tuesday—Norvelt Wednesday—Donegal Thursday—Ramsay Friday—Ramsay Some Local Musical Instrument Rental Companies Volkwein’s Music 813 Ligonier Street Latrobe, PA. 15650 Phone: (Toll free) 1.800.248.1185 E-mail: www.volkweins.com Progressive Music Company, Inc. 316 Fifth Avenue McKeesport, PA 15601 Phone: 412.672.9623 Vittone’s Music Center Route 30, Gabriel Brothers’ Plaza Greensburg, PA 15601 Phone: 724.8370877 E-mail: www.vittones.com Instrument Repair Companies Volkwein’s Music Stemple Music 813 Ligonier Street 1618 Harrison Ave. Latrobe, PA. 15650 Jeannette, PA 15644 Phone: (Toll free) 1.800.248.1185 Phone: 724.527.5235 E-mail: www.volkweins.com Repair Technician: Tim Stemple Repair Technician: Sam Rizzi