Dear Band Families,
We hope that everyone’s staying safe and well as we get ready to return to school. While it’s very disappointing to have the year begin this way, we wanted to reach out and provide some details about how band will proceed through the first several months of the school year.
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our longtime percussion instructor Isiah Rowser as he moves on to new opportunities. We know that we join all of you in thanking him for years of service to our program and wishing him all the best in the future.
As we say goodbye to Mr. Rowser, we welcome Brandon Smith to our band family. Brandon is a former member of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps as well as a member of the University of Memphis Mighty Sound of the South. He has been an instructor for many of the high school programs in the area, and we are lucky to have him.
We will have band. We will meet in a hybrid Virtual/In-Person format as the High School plan has announced. We will use the Schoology platform to deliver instruction and communicate due dates for assignments, while meeting in the classroom twice a week to provide one on one feedback and checks for understanding. This will be in keeping with the district guidance about a “flipped classroom.” In addition to the twice a week, in person meetings, students will have the ability to submit questions at designated times during the week.
We will hold after school rehearsals for individual sections to practice marching techniques, pep band music, holiday music, as well as other events. The specific schedule for which groups will be required at each rehearsal will be released in the first full week of the school year. We have also planned recording projects throughout the year. Students will learn the techniques used by professional studio musicians to create recordings of various music. We will bring in a professional recording engineer to work with our band students.
Please do not contact the HHS Administration to request a change to your assigned cohort. They have worked tirelessly to meet the standards of safety required and will not be able to accommodate schedule changes.
Below are individual details for our different groups that make up the band program.
For Wind Students:
The district has purchased Smart Music subscriptions for every band and orchestra student in the district. Smart Music is a web-based application with assignments and tools aimed at helping students improve as individual and ensemble musicians. We will integrate this program with the Schoology platform to provide band curriculum for our middle and high school members. In addition to Smart Music, our jazz band students will have the opportunity to learn about crafting and improvising solos. If circumstance and interest allow, we are open to the possibility of having an indoor marching winds group that will perform and compete at WGI events in the second semester. We are also hopeful that things will change enough to allow for All-West, All-State, Concert Festival, and Solo and Ensemble during the Spring Semester
For Color Guard:
Brittany Roberts will continue to instruct our color guard members on skills and techniques during each class period. The smaller class sizes will allow her to provide more one on one instruction during each session. We will proceed in the hopes that the Winter Guard season will be able to proceed as normal. Each member will be able to check out the equipment needed to participate in class activities.
For Percussion Students:
Our percussion instructors Brandon Smith and Colby Snider will continue to provide instruction for the percussion students in our program. In addition to having the same performance and recording assignments as our wind players, our goal is to create small percussion ensembles that can record content regularly. We hope that the situation has changed enough to allow for an indoor percussion group in the spring. We are also hopeful that things will change enough to allow for All-West, All-State, Concert Festival, and Solo and Ensemble during the Spring Semester.
The following is a list of items required for band members to ensure the safety of our students and their families. These items will be necessary for students to participate in class.
All students will need to provide their own music stand. Folding stands are encouraged.
All students will need their concert band instrument unless informed otherwise by the directors.
We ask all students to wear masks. Most instruments can cut a slit in the mask to allow for their mouthpiece to fit (with the exception of flutes). This is in keeping with the guidelines released by the University of Colorado Aerosol Study for music students.
Brass players should bring disposable pads (e.g., house training pads for pets) to empty their water keys onto while in class. These can be thrown away after each use.
Brass players will also require bell covers for their instrument for indoor practice. These can be purchased, or made at home using pantyhose. Horns may cut a slit in the fabric for their hand to fit inside.
Percussion students will be required to provide their own stick bag with snare sticks and mallets for keyboard instruments. We will not be providing sticks or mallets to students this year.
We know that this year will be different for everyone, but we have worked hard to ensure that we will have a band experience that will be beneficial for all of our students. We miss you all and are excited about the possibilities this year will provide. Please stay safe and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.