Should students be playing their instruments during class?
YES!!! With the exception of Monday, students are expected to play their instruments during their period 1, period 2, period 3, or period 4 class sessions. Classes will usually warm-up together and then will either split into sectionals, or students will be given time to practice independently. During independent practice, students will usually have playing assignments to complete on flipgrid by the end of the class period. While we do understand that there may be reasons/situations that arise from time to time that do not allow a student to play during a class, participation and performance are a key part of the curriculum and experience in band and we do expect to see and hear students on their instruments regularly. If you have any questions on how to make instruments or playing an instrument at home quieter, please ask. There are lots of different ways to accomplish this goal 🙂
Is it important for students to have cameras on for class zoom sessions in band?
Yes, very much so! We highly encourage students to turn on their cameras for band because it helps replicate the classroom experience and allows us to provide students with immediate feedback as well as the opportunity to fix some visible technique issues on the spot. Visual communication through video can also dramatically improve the pacing of the activities, allowing the class to move much faster and potentially spend LESS time in live online sessions. Lastly, band is a social creative outlet, and having the cameras on allows students to interact with other students and the teacher, making the class much more engaging and meaningful.
What’s the deal with Mentors?
Every 9th grade student has been paired with a student peer who will serve as their music mentor for the entire school year. Student mentors are excellent, experienced students in our program who volunteer their time to work with and help your 9th grader have a successful year. Ideally, your 9th grade student should be meeting with their Mentor at least once a week and will be completing class assignments (duets) with their Mentor. These assignments are graded, part of the curriculum, and allow your student the opportunity to practice, play, and create music with other students in the program on a regular basis.
With the new 4X4 schedule, how does class credit work?
Most classes will now receive 10 credits for each term, which equates to 1 full year of credits. This is true of all 80 min. classes (jazz band, guard, percussion, period 1-4 bands, digital music & AP Music Theory). 7th period marching band, however, does not fall into this category since it is only a 60 min. class. For 7th period marching band, students will receive 5 P.E. credits first term, and 5 fine-arts/elective credits 2nd term.
Is 7th Period Marching Band a year long course?
Yes and no. 7th period has always been a full year course with the 2nd term (semester) being OPTIONAL for students. Traditionally, the only students enrolled in the 2nd term 7th period class are those in color guard, percussion ensembles, Axiom, or the Conservatory for Leadership & the Arts. All other students are dropped from the class 2nd semester. Even with the change to the 4X4 schedule, this model will continue to be the norm in years to come. That being said, this year is a SPECIAL year! With distance learning and the complete loss of the regular, outdoor marching band season, we have altered our normal plans for 2nd semester (for this year only) to try and provide the opportunity for ALL students to march and experience the fun of marching band. The current plan calls for a second semester marching band that will have students marching, playing, and learning and performing a show! While we’re excited about this option, it is not a 100% for-sure plan. There are still a number of things that must happen, from being back on campus to securing facilities (fields) for practice, in order for us to make this a reality. Regardless of the outcome of what we’re able to do 2nd term, however, it will still be an OPTIONAL class for students and any student may choose to drop the course if they wish.
What is the class schedule for 7th Period Marching Band?
1st term 7th period marching band meets online (zoom) on Wednesday and Friday from 3:50pm-4:50pm. This is during the scheduled 7th period meeting time. Students may have homework to complete between online sessions, but there are NO class meetings on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday.
What is the class schedule for 0 Period Jazz Band?
In order to try and facilitate and be flexible with times when students are able to play their instruments at home, we have scheduled Jazz Band sessions before school (7:30am-8:20am) and after school (3:50pm-4:50pm) on Tuesday and Thursday. Students are required to attend either the morning OR the afternoon sessions and can pick whichever works the best for them.
Why are we fundraising?
Regardless of the schedule changes, distance learning, or not having a regular marching band season, we are committed to providing your student the absolute best and richest experiences in the San Marcos Bands program. We have always been proud to offer some of the best experiences and opportunities for our students at a fraction of the cost of other high school programs around the county. That being said, those experiences and opportunities do not come without cost. While some of our expenditures have been scaled back this year due to distance learning, there are other opportunities that we hope we can continue to provide. These include music coaching with our professional artists, masterclasses from the best musicians and educators across the nation, clinics with Composers, and purchasing additional music for our ensembles as needs change. While the district/school does provide some money to the program, almost all of it goes directly towards instrument purchases and repair and these funds are usually depleted within the first month of school. Donations and Booster fundraising pays for everything else and we can only provide these benefits if we have the means to pay for them.
What happens when we return to on-campus learning?
When we return to on-campus learning, we will be taking additional steps, well above and beyond the district plan to make sure we are providing the safest environment possible for our students. We will use the most up to date research and recommendations that are coming from studies being conducted that specifically address the production of aerosols and safe practices when playing instruments. Depending on when we return, possible mitigation strategies include social distancing, additional air filtration in music rooms, playing outdoors, the use of masks on students and instruments, rotation of music stands/chairs, and timing restrictions on playing instruments to allow for air change/filtration in spaces. Currently, we are looking at the evidence based guidance and recommendations coming from a scientific study on aerosols in music making being conducted at the Aerosol Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder. You can find more information on this study at: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/unprecedented-international-coalition-led-by-performing-arts-organizations-to-commission-covid-19-study/
The music/color guard program is paid for if full by the school district as part of public education.
Not true. The school district provides only for limited, in-school music education. Additional music, equipment, instruments, coaches, masterclasses, and off-campus and supplemental activities (tournaments, festivals, clinics, and transportation) are NOT funded by SMHS or SMUSD at all.
Music and Color Guard coaches are paid for by SMHS or SMUSD funds.
Not true. Music and Color Guard coaches’ wages/taxes are entirely billed to SMHS Music Boosters. Without family and community donations and fundraising, there would be no music or color guard coaches for the students.
Music/CG off-campus opportunities and supplemental instruction can’t cost that much, right?
Not true. It costs about $600/student beyond what the school district provides for funding the full range of SMHS music and color guard opportunities made possible only by donations and fundraising each year. This year, however, we’ve dramatically scaled back our budget due to distance learning. Even with these cuts, however, it will cost about $300/student to provide students with continued music and guard coaching and supplemental opportunities through the year. For some perspective, if you were to hire a private music teacher for your student, the average rate is somewhere around $1-$2 a minute. So a 30 minute lesson can cost anywhere between $30-$60. To get a composer or professional musician from a major orchestra to come in and teach a masterclass, it might cost up to $300/hour. And new music? Depending on the size of the ensemble and the difficulty of the music, single pieces can range anywhere from $60-$400, and each ensemble (class) will usually play between 6-8 pieces a year. Between jazz band, 4 concert ensembles, and numerous percussion ensembles, we’re talking a minimum of 35 pieces… and that’s just for this year! In a normal year with 3 jazz bands, 4 wind ensembles, percussion ensembles, and WW/Brass choir, that number can easily push to 50+ pieces of music. For color guard, the boosters also 100% fund the purchase of floors, silks, flag poles, rifles, and sabers for the students.
If family/community donations & fundraising come up short, the school district will fill in the funding gap.
Not true. Unfortunately, the school district is not required or able to fund additional/supplemental opportunities for the students in the San Marcos Bands Program. If donations are deficient, coaching, music, masterclasses, and clinics must get scaled back accordingly, and students will unfortunately lose those opportunities! Expenses cannot exceed income, making donation requests and fundraising a year-round reality.