Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More band information

Our senior high band would have 54 members if every member of the band in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades last year stayed in band coming into this year. We know that some underclassmen stuck with band through last year simply to go on the Bahamas trip. Others quit band this year because they're Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) students. Others quit over the summer before our new band teacher walked through the door for the first time because they were upset about Mr. Coppicus taking a job closer to home. Through all that, the senior high band has 38 members. I rate that is really good considering all of those above-mentioned factors!!!

Here's what the Morris Area high school band director told me about her approach to pep band. She's taught in Morris since the 1990s (I played with some of her pep bands when I was in college at UMM):
"In my handbook I state that 9-12 grade students are part of the pep band. If they cannot attend an event, I'll need a note in advance explaining why. Being in a sport that night automatically excuses them. To letter in band, being in pep band is a big part of that."

At another area school, where the director is in his 20th year, this is what he explained about his rules on pep band:
"First of all, what works in one school won't necessarily work in another. I've spent my 20 years here developing a culture and expectation that pep band is an extension of the band class. At Benson, band students regard pep band as a positive activity to be a part of. It's just something that "they do." For the most part, parents go along with that.
When I was new to the position, I had some of the same push back to mandatory pep band. Twenty years later, I typically have no trouble with participation. Getting to the point where every student in the band "wants" to be at pep band takes an attitude shift. Pep band is included in my grade book, although I rarely have to lower a student's grade because of a missed event. I try to get my students to understand that pep band is what they should do for the group/school/community and not just for a grade.
"My pep bands play at 20 scheduled events througout the year: four volleyball, four football, four girls' basketball, four boys' basketball, two hockey and two wrestling matches.

Shifting back to B-B-E, here's the scheduled pep band events for the 2014-2015 year: four home football games, three home volleyball matches, 7 boys' basketball and 5 girls' basketball games. That's 19 compared to 20 at the aforementioned school. Could it change year to year? Of course. Is this what the band director put on our schedule for this year? Yes. Is what the band director is asking for something that students should follow through on? Yes!! Is it the end of the world if a student misses one or two pep bands? No. Will a student have his or her grade docked if they miss one or two pep bands without an excused absence? No. Does our new band director want a large, robust pep band to show off to the community? Yes!!! Should we all work to help our band director meet that goal? Yes!!!

The student band handbook lays it all out.

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