Colonel John Wheeler Middle School
Dear Parents and Students,
Welcome to the Wheeler Band program! This handbook has been written to familiarize you with the many aspects of the program, and to ensure an enjoyable and educationally rewarding musical experience. I realize the amount of reading material you as parents and students are presented with at the beginning of the school year but PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ ALL OF THE HANDBOOK. After you have read this handbook, sign the last page, detach the form, and return it to me. Band students will be held accountable for the information contained in this handbook so please keep the handbook for future reference.
Band is an ELECTIVE and SELECTIVE course. It differs from the general music class, or any other course on the elective wheel, in that we seek to develop greater proficiency over a longer period of time. It involves learning math concepts and applying them (rhythm); learning and applying a new system of notation; developing fine motor skills; developing the ability to listen critically; and becoming sensitive to the sounds we make, to the conductor, to the sounds others make, and to the musical demands of the music. It requires cooperation with a conductor and a large team of musicians working together toward a common goal. It also requires practice at home, occasional after school rehearsals and performances, and investment in and proper maintenance of an instrument.
Band involves responsibility to the group. The sound each student makes changes the sound of the entire group. Most students possess the musical and mental skills necessary to be good student musicians. Success is most likely if the student has the desire to learn to play; the parents and students understand what is required for success; and the parents share responsibility for the music education of their child. It is hoped that this handbook will be a guide that will lead you and your child to a successful experience in band. I sincerely wish your band experience will be a rewarding and exciting one!
Mr. James Hensley
Director of Bands
Colonel John Wheeler Middle School
- CULTURAL: The foster the continued development of music appreciation and understanding through the study and performance of the best in music which otherwise may never be made known to the student outside the school environment.
- EDUCATIONAL: To develop interested and discriminating listeners; to provide a well-rounded musical education, and prepare students for musical activities beyond middle school.
- SERVICE: To lend color, atmosphere and representation to certain school and community affairs while promoting and enhancing the dignity and reputation of Colonel Wheeler Middle School at all appearances.
- CITIZENSHIP: To develop the ability to function as a responsible member of the group, to enhance the student’s ability to interact with the others in a positive manner, and to develop the ability to function as a responsible member of the community.
- RECREATIONAL: To provide all students with an opportunity for worthy use of leisure time, an emotional outlet, good social experiences, and enjoyment as an avocation.
GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
Students who choose to disregard the classroom rules and procedures will be subject to disciplinary consequences such as verbal reprimand, private student/teacher conference, lunch and after-school detentions, contact with parents, referral to guidance counselor, or referral to the main office. In the worst-case scenario, student performance opportunities may be restricted and/or students will be withdrawn from the class with a failure.
- Students should treat each other the way they wish they were treated.
- All students should be prepared for class each day with music, instrument, pencil, and any other necessary item needed for class. Students who forget equipment will receive a grade deduction and/or lunch detention(s).
- Instruments and materials should be treated with care and respect. This includes performing regular maintenance on your instrument (oil, grease, pad changes, etc..) Not having a properly working instrument will affect your child’s class performance. Also, students should never switch instruments.
- Gum, candy, pop, and other food items are not allowed in the band room at Wheeler Middle School at any time.
- Band is a yearlong course. Students are signed up for four nine-week grading periods. Students are not able initiate a band withdrawal until the end of the school year.
- Cell phones are not to be used to during rehearsal time.
- No gum.
Tardy Procedure – What should I do when I’m TARDY?
- Enter the room in silence.
- If you have a pass, place it in the box by the door.
- If you come in late without a pass, sign the logbook.
- Leave others undisrupted.
- Get materials, take your seat, and get ready for work.
- If once in your seat you are confused about what to do, look at those
around you and at the board to figure out page numbers, handouts and
Rationale for Tardy Procedure
The reason for the procedure is to minimize distraction to learning and to maximize student independence.
A person is tardy if they are not entirely in their seat when class begins. Be mindful of the clock in the room.
ALL OTHER SCHOOL RULES APPLY.
Band is a co-curricular activity, which include class work and after-school activities. Musical achievement is the primary element in grading and performances allow us the opportunity to demonstrate the result of a disciplined course of study and evaluate our progress. Academic grades are earned each nine weeks through daily classroom performance, completion of classroom activities, testing of instrumental materials, and participation in performances.
The grading scale is a percentage based on the total number of points available each nine-weeks. The total number of points during a grading period will depend on the number of tests, after-school rehearsals, performances, and practice passport counted for that nine-weeks.
Concerts / After School Rehearsals = 20%
Daily Class Performance = 50%
Smart Music / Assignments = 30%
Practicing is an important part of the achievement process. Students are encouraged to practice from home for a minimum of 90 min each week. ( 15 min a day )
* HELPFUL PRACTICING HINTS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED IN MUSIC *
Set aside time each day for practicing:
Decide with your child on an appropriate time for practicing every day. It is recommended that students practice 15-30 minutes each day. The recommended time can be split up throughout the day or done all at once.
Set up a proper practice area:
Your child should practice in a quiet area that has a music stand and a hard seated chair to use. Standing is also acceptable for most instruments. Any distractions should be kept to a minimum for complete concentration.
Show interest in your child’s progress:
Take time to listen to your child practice their instrument. Ask questions and show support by offering praise when something sounds good. One of the most motivating things to a child can simply be the encouragement and acceptance of a parent.
Stay involved and informed:
Make sure to be aware of performances, concerts, or recitals going on at school. Ask to hear the music from these events to reinforce your child’s confidence. Help your child fill out practice journals and make sure they are turned in each week.
Never use practicing as punishment:
Practicing is in fact homework and not intended to become a negative experience. Students will be more motivated to practice if the experience is handled in a positive manner.
Contact the music teacher about concerns:
By working together, you and the teacher can help your child to succeed. Email Mr. Hensley at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Convey to your child the above expectations about practicing:
It is important that your child understands that you place as much importance on practicing as you do on other school homework and activities.
REMEMBER: You do not have to be a musician to help your child practice correctly. Follow the guidelines above to create a positive and successful band experience. Your home guidance is a key factor in your child’s success in middle school band!
Performances are the highlight of our program and are required for each individual in the ensemble. If a conflict occurs, the director must be informed IN WRITING as soon as possible. A calendar of musical events is attached so that you can add these important dates to your own calendar.
The director will schedule after school rehearsals as needed and expects attendance from each member of the ensemble. In the event of an unavoidable conflict, a written note is required to be considered as an excused absence
IF A PERFORMANCE OR AFTER-SCHOOL REHEARSAL IS MISSED WITHOUT NOTIFICATION TO THE DIRECTOR, THE STUDENT WILL LOSE THE DESIGNATED POINTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OR REHEARSAL. Emergencies will be considered on an individual basis.
Concert uniform consists of black dress pants or skirt, black dress shoes and socks, and a Red Polo. The Polo will be available for Purchase in September. This uniform is worn at all concerts throughout the year. Financial assistance has always been made available to students with special circumstances.
ANY STUDENT REFUSING TO WEAR THE CORRECT UNIFORM WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PERFORM AND THEREFORE LOSE THE DESIGNATED POINTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE.
All students are expected to be responsible in their use of school owned equipment or instruments issued to them. Students will be expected to pay for any damage caused by carelessness or indifference.
PERCUSSION STUDENTS: STICKS and MALLETS
All percussion students are required to purchase their own stick bag and mallets. Required items include: stick bag, snare drum sticks, general timpani mallets, gray rubber mallets, red yarn mallets, and a pitch pipe for tuning timpani. All items are available through Quinlan and Fabish Music. See Mr. Hensley for a price list breakdown of individual mallets. Percussion students will be required to add additional mallets as needs arise. Financial assistance has always been made available to students with special circumstances.
Private lessons are necessary for the maximum success of EVERY band student. Our school band classes can teach the student to play an instrument, but the finesse and individual attention afforded by a private instructor will aid the student in achieving higher goals and keep them on track with the development of the entire band.
We are pleased to be able to provide some of the finest teachers in the area. Most of these teachers perform with professional ensembles and all of them hold a college degree in music. Private lessons are offered on a weekly basis at approximately $20 – $30 per half hour. In some cases, we may be able to coordinate lesson times with band class times. Please fill out the lesson form and return to Mr. Hensley or you may contact the lesson teacher directly to set up a lesson time. It is indeed our pleasure to be able to offer your child further enrichment on their instrument and help them achieve the musical success they deserve. Limited financial assistance is possible through our Music Booster Organization.
MUSIC BOOSTER ORGANIZATION
This support organization exists to promote further interest in the music programs of the Crown Point Community School Corporation; aid in funding for equipment and expenses not met by the Board of Education; and to assist the directors in the maintenance of the music program of the Crown Point Schools.
All parents of middle school music students are urged to become involved in the Booster activities by attending monthly meetings, volunteering for committees and chaperoning duties, cooperating with fund-raising activities, and supporting your child’s involvement in music by providing an enthusiastic audience at concerts. We urge you to become a Music Booster Patron!
Music Booster meetings are at 7:00 p.m. in the CPHS music area. Meeting dates are usually the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Specific dates will be listed in the Music Booster Newsletter.
*Specifically for the Wheeler Bands, we need a parent volunteer at each school to be our Middle School Booster Representative for Band. This person’s job would primarily be to assist and help Mr. Hensley as needed with organizing MS Band events. Duties could include organizing parent help for concerts and performances, helping to arrange band social activities, helping with fundraisers, being available to come in during the school day/ during band class to help with specific projects. No music background is necessary for this position.
Music Rehearsal Procedure in the Classroom
- All students must be in the band rehearsal room on time. Roll will be taken after the class begins. At this time, students must be seated with everything they need for rehearsal. Any student not in his/her seat at this time will be marked tardy.
- There are no books, notebooks, computers, phones, etc. allowed at the student’s seat during rehearsal. The only items that should be at the student’s seat are:music, instrument, case, mutes, and a pencil. All your belongings should be put in your band locker prior to the start of class.
- There will be no playing on the instruments before class.The director will begin the class warm-up with the group. Students should use this time to organize materials for rehearsal.
- Check the whiteboard for the order of music and announcements!
- When the Director steps up to the podium, all students should stop talking. There should be no talking, even if it deals with the music, because extra noise distracts the group. Raise your hand to ask a question or say something.
- Don’t leave your chair without asking permission to do so. This includes water, restroom, rinsing out mouthpiece, etc. Raise your hand and ask permission. This includes repair items, valve oil, etc. as well.
- Proper posture is necessary for rehearsals. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Posture is the basic fundamental for good playing.
- To receive credit for daily class work, all students must have their instruments in their hands daily. If an instrument is in the repair shop, a note stating this fact is required by the Director. If the student does not have a note, they cannot receive credit for the rehearsal. Students with instruments in the shop for extended periods should have a loaned instrument from the shop until their horn returns.
- Be sure that you know and can demonstrate rest, ready, and play positions.
Wheeler Jazz Ensemble
The Wheeler Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group of musicians from 7th & 8th grade. Students will learn basic Jazz techniques and perform at various concerts throughout the year. This ensemble will also attend the ISSMA Jazz Festival in March. This ensemble will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-4 pm. Parents need to find transportation home for students as there will be no bus transportation.
Wheeler BCO Website
We have a website for the Music Department at www.wheelerbco.com. This is a great resource for information regarding upcoming practices and performances. There is also information regarding private lesson teachers as well as a copy of this handbook. Please bookmark this site to be up to date on what is going on in the department.
Wheeler BCO Reward Trip
The Wheeler BCO take a Reward trip at the end of the year to Six Flags Great America. All 8th grade students are welcome to go on the trip. Current 7th grade students who are returning to the program for their 8th grade year are also invited on the trip. However, Students who do not exhibit proper behavior will be excluded from this trip. If a student receives numerous minor offences or major offences, they may not be allowed on the Reward Trip.
- Multiple In-School Suspensions
- Drugs / Tobacco / Vape / Jul / Alcohol
- Weapons on Campus
- Excessive absences to Performances
- Referrals for Classroom Behavior
- Playing other people’s Instruments
- Disrespect towards Director
- Disrespect towards other students