Welcome to Band!
Please share this information with your parents. We really depend on
students being responsible and helping with communication between
school and home. This page, along with other information, will be
available online very soon!
Something that is special about band is that members of our musical ensemble have a responsibility to one
another that is unique in the school setting. Even the fact that we call the performers “members” shows
how special it is to be part of the Horace Mann M.S. band program! All student musicians are expected to
follow the school and classroom rules, come to rehearsal prepared and on time with their materials, and
treat their teachers and classmates with courtesy and respect.
What do we need for band?
? an instrument in good working condition
? necessary supplies for that instrument (reeds, valve oil, etc)
? an Essential Elements 2000 Book One for 6th grade and the start of 7th grade.
8th graders will soon be using Book Two if you are not already.
? a spiral bound notebook. 7th & 8th graders can continue in their same notebook
? a pencil or two —we don’t use pens to write on music
? (optional) a three-ring binder with clear pages for holding music and worksheets
When do we perform?
Our winter concert is Thursday, December 18 and spring concert is Tuesday, June 2. Both concerts are at
7:00 pm in the evening in the school auditorium. These concerts are a very important part of your musical
growth and are part of your grade, so attendance is mandatory. Please get them on your family calendar
right away! If students have a family emergency and miss the concert, alternate plans for the concert
grade can be made if the parents communicate with me. For concert dress, students are expected to be
dressed nicely (no jeans, printed t-shirts or tennis shoes). Ladies’ dresses and skirts should be below the
knee to help with proper concert posture. For gentle- men, wearing a tie is highly recommended. We have
some ties to share if you do not have one.
When are band lessons?
We meet in small groups every other week for a 20-minute lesson. This does come out of academic team
time, but I work with the teachers to help make sure the missed class is not affected. It is the student’s
responsibility to make up class work when attending a lesson. Missed lessons need to be made up.
Generally, there will be times available after school or during some short weeks when we have different
schedules. If a student takes private lessons from a teacher in the community, the school lessons are not
required. Please have a parent let Mrs. Plautz know (in writing or by e-mail) if you take private lessons on
your band instrument and which teacher you study with.
How are we graded?
Your grades will reflect your growth towards meeting the standards and benchmarks for band. These
include: playing your instrument (practicing & performing), creating music (writing & performing),
listening to and evaluating music, connecting music to history and culture, and learning to work as part of
an ensemble. There will be homework with practicing expectations and classroom projects in addition to
Do I have to practice?
Practicing is the only way to guarantee progress on your instrument. Just as athletes need to practice to
develop skills, so do musicians. Our practice charts are based on quality of practice, not just quantity. It
is very important to have a good practice area so you can concentrate. If you would like to practice in
the band room after school, you may. When practicing, ask other people to listen to you every once in a
while or record and listen to yourself! We have found that it works better to practice the most
challenging music first to get it out of the way and always end with a favorite song! We encourage our
students to practice with a computer program called SmartMusic. Students can use it on the school
computers for free or it can be downloaded onto a home computer for a minimal fee. There is also the
Essential Elements Interactive program that we have been exploring that works with our lesson books.
What if my instrument breaks?
Repairs need to be attended to whenever they arise. Students should first ask me for a quick check of the
problem. Usually, I am able to make repairs that do not cost you anything. If that is not possible, the
instrument must be taken to a music store for repairs (there is also a repair technician that picks-up and
delivers to school). If the student is using a school instrument, the school will pay for “normal wear and
tear” (for example missing woodwind corks or pads). However, any unusual or excessive damage (such as
a dropped mouthpiece) will need to be paid for by the student.
Anything else you need to know?
Please be respectful of other peoples’ instruments and belongings, especially in the storage
room and in the percussion section. Some of this equipment is quite expensive to repair or
Put your name on your case, lesson books and folder. We do not want students to
accidentally take someone else’s instrument home. It’s also easier to find the home of an
instrument if left on a bus. Parents should also keep track of the serial number of any
student-owned or music store rental instruments. I can engrave names on drumsticks so they
do not get mixed up.
The storage room is available for students to leave their instruments during the day. All
students should be taking their instruments home regularly for practice. Students should not
be storing instruments in other teacher’s classrooms. Someone else could pick them up or
they can get in the way of the cleaning crew.
If parents have any questions, concerns or comments, please contact me at school (459-3666) or by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org). I am looking forward to a fantastic school year! Mrs. Plautz