Be "In the Know" - Read the Wiley Band Handbook!
Welcome to the Wiley Elementary Band!
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Wiley Elementary School band! I thank you for choosing to be a part of our band, and look forward to making music with you this year.
As a member of the Wiley Band, you have chosen to embark on a rewarding journey with a fine group of people. Our band isn't just something to do before school; it's a team and a family. Students, band is a place where you can have fun, meet new friends, and build musical skills that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. Parents, band will give you the experience of a lifetime, too--the joy of enriching children's lives with music (whether you're musically inclined or not!)
You may find band to be very different from other music classes you've taken in the past. Since band is a team, it functions best when everyone--students, parents, and director--brings forth their best effort. In the Wiley Band, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of behavior, and are committed to doing our very best every time we play.
This handbook is designed as a resource to answer your band-related questions throughout the school year. Please read and keep this handbook, and feel free to contact me if you need any band-related help or advice. Best wishes, and I look forward to sharing a year of wonderful musical experiences with you!
Your Band Director,
I believe that music is a powerful medium that can help students discover their unique capabilities, build positive relationships with their peers, and foster meaningful connections with the larger community. As director, my job isn't just waving the baton--it's conducting myself and our band in a way that brings the benefits of music into the lives of our bandmembers and community neighbors.
As band director, I am committed to:
- Providing a safe place for students to grow musically
- Helping students develop a feeling of musical competency
- Guiding students toward creating their signature musical sound and style
- Fostering students' love of music and an appreciation for fellow musicians
- Helping students begin to establish their place in the global community of musicians
- Giving back to the community through music
- Cultivating meaningful partnerships among students, teachers, families, and community members
What Parents Need to Do
Parents are a vital part of children's music education. A child's success in music often depends on the level of support the parent gives. An encouraging comment about your child's practice, cheerful attendance at band concerts, and a positive attitude about your child's efforts can give your son or daughter the confidence to excel musically. Here are four things I ask of all Wiley band parents:
1. Be informed. Please read this handbook and all band correspondence. You'll not only be "in the know," but you'll also model responsibility and commitment to your child.
2. Teach your child the value of practice. Helping your child learn to practice is the single most powerful thing you can do to support your child's musical development. Treat practice as homework, and make it part of your daily routine by setting up a special place and time for your child to play at home.
3. Realize that greatness takes time. Beginning musicians are not going to sound like the pros you hear on the radio. When listening to your child practice or perform, train yourself to focus on growth and progress. And please, NEVER joke about your child's sound--it hurts more than you'd think.
4. Support your director. Your band director has made it her life's work to help kids through music. She's on your side, and is here to support and nurture your child's musical growth. Please keep this in mind in your interactions with the director, and treat her with respect and kindness. Also, please follow the director's policies and encourage your child to do the same. They are the result of years of successful teaching, and are in place to give you an excellent band experience.
How A Band Kid Should Act
Although our band meets outside school hours, the expectations for behavior are the same as they are during the school day. Our band joins the rest of the Wiley Community in practicing Positive Behavior Support, and band students are expected to live by The Wiley Way at all rehearsals and performances.
Band students are typically some of the finest young people in the school. At all times, you should be able to say these things about yourself:
If I make a mistake on a song, I laugh it off and try again.
I practice daily so I'm prepared for band rehearsal.
I am a good example to those around me.
I don't laugh at or make fun of other people's playing.
I have kind words to say to my fellow band members at all times.
I allow my band teacher to teach without interruptions.
I take good care of my instrument and respect my bandmates' instruments.
I hold my instrument securely so I don't drop it.
I put my instrument together the way Ms. Thompson showed me.
If I am not a percussionist, I don't touch the percussion equipment.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE!
You are an important member of our band, and your actions will affect everyone else in our group. Your behavior will determine how much we learn and how well we play, and will also show the community what the Wiley Band is all about. When you choose your actions in band, always remember that you are choosing your consequences as well. When you do your best, band becomes energized with music-making excitement! However, poor behavior can ruin people’s good impression of our band--and even worse, it can make learning music more difficult and less fun.
HOW MS. THOMPSON WILL HELP
One of Ms. Thompson's most important jobs is to help band students develop character traits to help them excel both in the band room and beyond. Throughout the year, Ms. Thompson will model productive behavior, establish helpful classroom routines, and provide boundaries and guidance to help students learn to make good behavior choices. Through group reflection and teacher-student meetings, behavior issues in the Wiley Band will be used as opportunities to help students grow.
A Typical Band Rehearsal
Both bands rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-8:45am.
Please drop students off for band rehearsal between 7:45 and 7:55am. This will give them a chance to get water, unpack their instruments, and prepare for a successful rehearsal.
Before class, please use the restroom and get a drink of water. Please finish any food or gum before you enter the band room--remember, food and band instruments do not mix!
When you're ready, sit down quietly and assemble your instrument and music stand.
Don't play until Ms. Thompson gives the cue; use this time to quietly count rhythms or practice fingerings.
If you have a question, do not come up to Ms. Thompson before class; instead, raise your hand and wait for her to call on you.
During class, please raise your hand for permission to leave your seat or to ask a question.
In class, we'll warm up, count rhythms, work on pieces of music together, and learn new things. This is a great time to listen, ask questions, and practice The Wiley Way.
Sometimes, Ms. Thompson may ask you or your section to play alone in class. This isn't to torture you; it's a way to make our music sound better. When I ask you to play solo, it helps other kids understand specific musical techniques--but it makes you a better musician, too! Also, anyone who plays alone in class gets a round of applause for their courage. :)
When class ends, Ms. Thompson will dismiss you. Pack up your instrument carefully, and have a great day!
Financial, Attendance, and Weather Policies
Because the Wiley Band receives no funding from WCPSS, we cover our operating expenses by requesting a suggested donation for each band student. This donation includes Band Camp, performances, sheet music, and twice-weekly rehearsals with a licensed music educator. The suggested donation is $175 per child, per semester.
Donation payment for fall semester is due by April 27, and for spring semester by December 14. Please make your check payable to Wiley PTA.
Each parent is responsible for the cost of purchasing an instrument, cleaning supplies, concert attire, and a band book for their child.
If you must withdraw from band prior to August 1st, you are eligible for a 100% refund of your donation. If you withdraw from band between August 1st and 31st, you will receive a 50% refund of your donation. No refunds will be issued after August 31st.
All 3rd-5th grade Wiley students are welcome to join the band, regardless of ability to pay. For families facing economic hardship, the Wiley Band provides scholarships to defray the costs associated with participating in band. These students may use PTA-owned instruments and supplies free of charge during the school year. For more information, please contact Christina Thompson (Band Director).
Rehearsal attendance is vital to our band's success. Students who are absent for three or more rehearsals in any given month will be issued a warning. If a student receives two attendance warnings during the course of one semester, his/her membership with the band will be terminated without a refund.
Students arriving after rehearsal has begun will not be permitted to rehearse with their instruments. Late students should follow along and write down the homework so they will be prepared for the next rehearsal.
If your child is absent, he/she is expected to obtain the day's homework assignment from the band website.
No portion of your donation will be refunded if your child is tardy or absent from a rehearsal, concert, or Band Camp. If your teacher must miss a rehearsal, she will offer a make-up time before the end of May.
If Wake County Schools are closed for inclement weather on a rehearsal or concert day, our band will not meet. If the schools are operating on a 2-hour delay, we will meet 2 hours late as well. If we must miss a rehearsal or concert due to inclement weather, the director will do her best to arrange a make-up date.
All About Band Camp
The beginning the school year is a very demanding time for young musicians. Beginners require detailed individual-instrument instruction to build a strong musical foundation. To provide this vital support, the Wiley Band requires all Beginning Band students to participate in our Virtual Band Camp program starting on August 13.
Virtual Band Camp consists of two parts: instructional videos and Skill Sheets. In each video, Ms. Thompson teaches a specific band-related skill. Then, the Skill Sheet details several exercises to help your child master that skill, plus a practice chart to help your child keep track of his/her progress. By watching each video several times and working on the Skill Sheet exercises until they become easier, your child will gradually learn the basics of his/her instrument.
Students must demonstrate their participation in Virtual Band Camp by bringing their completed Skill Sheets to our first rehearsal on September 4.
All About Instruments
Choosing an Instrument:
Late in the school year, Ms. Thompson will hold two Instrument Show and Tell sessions for students who are interested in joining band. At Show and Tell, Ms. Thompson will play several band instruments and briefly discuss their characteristics and challenges. Then, students will be able to try each instrument. By the end of the last Show and Tell, each student should have an idea of which instrument he or she wants to play in band. Students must have their instruments by August 15, so they can begin Virtual Band Camp.
A NOTE ON PERCUSSION
Percussion is a very popular instrument family, but often for the wrong reasons. Many children mistakenly think percussion is "easy" or that playing percussion is all about "rocking out" on drums. Many of these children are sorely disappointed when they discover that percussion is challenging, and requires that they learn more instruments than anyone else in the band. I strongly encourage parents of future percussionists to discuss the following with their children:
1. Percussion is more than just drums. You will start on bells, and will have to learn to read music just like everyone else. Drumset comes later, much later.
2. Percussion instruments are as difficult as every other instrument in the band.
3. You have to build a strong foundation to "rock out" successfully.
Three ways to get an instrument:
1. RENT IT.
Many music stores rent instruments for a monthly fee. (See the list of music stores below.) This is a good short-term option, but usually ends up costing more than buying a nice used instrument.
2. BORROW IT.
If you know a friend or family member who has a band instrument they don't use, ask if your child can borrow it to use in the Wiley Band. This can be an easy, low-cost way to obtain an instrument for your child. Make sure, though, to make an agreement with your friend and put all the details in writing; for example, who will pay for repairs, and when the instrument needs to be returned.
3. BUY IT.
If you would like to purchase an instrument, there are several options available. Perhaps the easiest route is to purchase an instrument directly from Ms. Thompson. She has high-quality used instruments for sale at affordable prices, and each instrument includes a 1-year repair warranty.
Another great option for used instruments is Craigslist. You can find amazing deals on Craigslist, and since the sellers are local, you can always see the instrument before you buy it. If you find a good deal on Craigslist, contact Ms. Thompson and she will be happy to visit the seller with you.
If you would like to purchase a new instrument, I recommend visiting one of the stores listed below.
WARNING! - Over the last few years, the internet has been flooded with very cheaply made instruments. In our experience, these instruments break easily and have poor sound quality, causing students enormous amounts of unnecessary frustration. We have had several that didn't even make it through one semester. If you think an instrument's price might be too good to be true, check with Ms. Thompson before you buy.
Switching instruments early in one’s musical career tends to make learning music more difficult and more time-consuming. Every instrument in the band is equally difficult to play, and each has its own set of problems for the player to solve. You will not be able to conquer these problems overnight—just like with a friend, you have to spend many years with your instrument to really know it. So, I ask students to commit to learning only ONE instrument while at Wiley.
Required class materials:
Students are asked to have all their supplies by the first day of Virtual Band Camp.
Where to Get Your Supplies
- Handkerchief (to clean flute)
- Cleaning rod
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for Flute
- Music stand
- FOUR reeds- Vandoren or Rico brand for Bb clarinet, strength 2 or 2.5
- Cork Grease
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for clarinet
- Music stand
- Valve oil
- Mouthpiece brush
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for trumpet
- Music stand
- Slide oil or cream
- Mouthpiece brush
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for trombone
- Music stand
- FOUR Vandoren or Rico brand for Alto Saxophone, strength 2 or 2.5
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for alto saxophone
- Music stand
- 1 8” drum practice pad
- 1 pair of Vic Firth SD-1 snare sticks
- 1 bell set
- 1 pair hard plastic mallets
- Standard of Excellence, Book 1 for Drums & Mallet Percussion
1003 E. Whitaker Mill. Rd, Raleigh (919-833-0046)
Music and Arts Center
426 Crossroads Blvd., Cary (919-854-0024) OR
5950 Poyner Village Pkwy, Suite F101, Raleigh (919-872-1601)
(Music and Arts offers rental instruments.)
Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center
(Not local, but offers free shipping. Ms. T's favorite place to buy new instruments.)
All About Concerts
Wiley Band students will have many chances to perform throughout the year. We will present three evening concerts at school, as well as some exciting "gigs" around town. Our concert dates are listed on the calendar page.
CONCERT ATTENDANCE POLICY
Performances are an integral part of every student’s Wiley Band experience. Performances give students chances to celebrate their hard-earned musical skills and give back to the community with their talents. Therefore, attendance at concerts is mandatory for all members of the Wiley Band. I will let students and parents know in advance of any additions or changes to the concert schedule, and will send reminders as concert dates draw nearer. If you cannot attend a concert for any reason, please notify Ms. Thompson well in advance. (Months and months ahead of time is best!)
WHAT TO WEAR
So that our band can look our best at concerts, all students are required to wear a standard outfit when performing with the Wiley Band. Students who come to the concert without the required attire will not be allowed to perform.
Black dress pants or skirt (below the knee!)
Black dress shoes
White dress shirt
Necktie (except for daytime performances)
Black dress shoes with black socks
Why does Ms. Thompson keep telling me I need to practice?
Daily practice is vital to musical success, and is REQUIRED of all students in the Wiley Band. Just as doing your math homework will make you better at math, practicing your instrument will make you a better musician. At each rehearsal, Ms. Thompson will assign you a song, a scale, or a group of measures to practice at home. It's your job to practice learning your fingerings, counting your rhythms, and making your assignment sound a little bit better every day. Don't worry if you don't sound perfect! If you practice thoughtfully and do your very best, you've done your job.
Sitting in band class will make you an OK musician. But practicing on your own is what makes you EXCELLENT, and is what makes band so fun. Practice for 15 minutes each day--it works!
Can I still play if I get braces?
Yes, many people with braces are able to play in band. If your mouth hurts because the orthodontist just tightened your braces, I will allow you to refrain from playing in class. I will work with you on this as long as I feel you are not taking the situation for granted. Follow your doctor’s instructions and gargle with warm salt water to help ease the pain.
What if I forget my instrument at home?
If you forget your instrument (or necessities required to play your instrument, like reeds), it means you have to work even harder than normal in class that day. You're still responsible for participating and learning the material, even if your horn is at home. Remember, it's not your director's or your parents' responsibility to bring your instrument to class--it's yours. Good musicians come prepared!
What if my instrument breaks?
In many cases, I can fix minor problems myself; just show them to me before or after class, and I'll see what I can do to fix them. If I'm unable to fix your instrument, I'll tell you to take it to one of the music stores listed in this handbook.
If I tell you to take your horn to the shop, please do it as soon as possible! Sometimes neglecting a little problem today can make it into a big problem down the road. Also, if you have known something is wrong with your instrument for a while, DO NOT wait until the day of a performance to tell me, as I will be able to do nothing to help you.
What if I can't make it to a concert?
Please tell me as soon as possible! The more advance notice you can give, the better. We work hard to prepare for our concerts. Band members who don't show up or cancel at the last minute let their band--and themselves--down.
Students, in joining the band, you have taken your first step onto the path that every great musician throughout history has walked. Band is going to be fun, but be aware that there will be some spots on your path that are challenging and hard to pass. When the going gets tough, remember that you have the ability to keep practicing and beat any challenges that come your way. Also remember that your teachers and parents are here to help you become the best musician you can be.
To Parents: Young people need positive direction in their lives, and our community is in constant need of good music and happy news. Let's make the Wiley Band a positive force that provides both! Working together, we can design a band that not only influences students' lives for the better, but also allows our students to influence the world for the better. I invite you, Band Parents, to become active in our program. Communicate with your director, encourage your children in their practice, and volunteer often. This is your band, too.
Many thanks for your support and best wishes for a safe, happy, and successful school year!