West Genesee Middle School Performing Arts Department Handbook for 2019-2020
- Letter to Parents
- Student Goals
- After School Rehearsals and Sectionals
- Concerts and Athletics Events
- Preparation of Lesson and Ensemble Music
- Grading Policy
- Instrument and Equipment Care
- School-Owned Instruments
- Auditions for 9th Grade Placement in Spring
- All-County Festivals
- Ordering Supplies
- Student Transportation
- Marching Band
- Instrumental Organizations
- Choral Organizations
Director of Fine Arts
Performing Arts Staff
Gregory Borsz, Tracy Cheney, Deanna Fitzpatrick, Martha Grener, Christy Knowlton, Erin McConnell, Michael Stachnik
West Genesee Central Schools Camillus Middle School Music Department
Dear Parents and Students,
Each school year we find the need to publish, in a single document, information regarding the various policies, regulations and activities that are a part of our music program. It is our goal to be consistent in our day to day activities and to make students aware of their responsibilities and what is expected of them as members of our program. We hope these guidelines will help maintain a high level of discipline and musicianship in our performing program.
This handbook is intended as a guide for you and your student throughout the school year and should be retained for reference. The monthly calendar of events for the school district Fine Arts program can be found at our web site, www.westgenesee.org under the “Calendar” link. The website calendar is the definitive calendar for Fine Arts and will be updated daily as needed. Return the signature slip within seven days. Read the section on grading and give us a call if you have any questions. This policy should serve to minimize any grading differences between the music teachers in each middle school.
If at any time during the year you wish to purchase new equipment or begin private lessons for your student, please call your student’s teacher to discuss the many choices that are available. We look forward to a busy and exciting year working together toward our mutual goals of increased student achievement through musical performance.
Greg Borsz, Tracy Cheney, Deanna Fitzpatrick, Martha Grener, Christy Knowlton, Erin McConnell, Michael Stachnik
West Genesee Middle School : 487-4615 Bill Davern, Director of Fine Arts: 487-4612
I have studied the calendar and guidelines and agree to honor the performance obligations of my student. In case of unavoidable conflict, I will notify the ensemble director as soon as possible before the obligation.
The West Genesee Performing Arts Department embraces the cooperative work of parents, teachers, students, and the community. We are invested in a collaborative approach, working in concert with one another to support student development and success in the arts from kindergarten through graduation and beyond.
Our Fine and Performing Arts programs are guided by the four New York State Standards for the Arts: Creating Performing and Participating in the Arts, Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources, Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art, and Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts. Our arts curricula also include the National Core Arts Standards for music, visual art, dance, and theatre: Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting.
- Attendance at all concerts is required as part of our course. Please know that all students are required to participate in all concerts. This includes our three evening concerts as well as our band performance at the Memorial Day Parade and any NYSSMA major ensemble performance.
- Missing scheduled concerts and/or pre-scheduled after school rehearsals will affect your ability to successfully fulfill the requirements of the course.
- Sudden illness or family emergencies are understandably beyond the control of the individual music student. In such instances, a parent should communicate with the teacher about the student missing the concert as soon as possible. This enables the conductor to reassign parts if necessary and gives other students ample time to prepare another part.
- Performances constitute part of the student’s responsibility to the ensemble and should be considered as a test of the selections prepared.
- We strongly encourage students and parents to stay for the entire concert. This minimizes disruptions during the performance and allows everyone to benefit from the performances of the other ensembles.
- Concert dress: Black and white – Boys: Black dress pants, white button down shirt and long tie. Girls: All black dress or formal black skirt (or slacks) and white blouse, shoes. NO JEANS OR SNEAKERS, PLEASE!!
Daily rehearsals are more than “stepping stones” to exciting musical experience. Peak moments are not limited solely to concert performances, but can occur in rehearsals as well. Sensitivity and awareness of one’s musical surroundings are essential for the benefit of all involved.
- Be on time. Delays detract from the effectiveness of the rehearsal for everyone. Passes will be required from students arriving after the late bell.
- Take your seat/position quickly and quietly.
- Arrange your music in rehearsal order as listed on the board, looking over rough spots or new material.
- Use the time before rehearsal to mentally prepare yourself for maximum concentration. We will warm up together. Careless or improper warm up can create serious problems to the young singer and to the wind players’ embouchure.
- From the moment the director asks for attention, there should be no talking or other disruptions. When the director is working with other sections, you should be studying your music quietly.
- Music is expected to be learned within a reasonable amount of time. Spot checks on music preparation will be held periodically during rehearsals – some announced, some unannounced.
- Folders are to be brought to each rehearsal. If you are absent, please send in your music. If you do not, you are depriving your partner of rehearsal participation.
- Have a pencil in folders at all times. No ink is to be used in marking music. You will be expected to pay for any missing or damaged school-owned music.
- Gum chewing will not be tolerated. Vocally, it prohibits good diction. It is also harmful to reeds and clarinet bores and contributes to sticky valves and slides on brass instruments.
- Orchestra and Band folders are used from year to year. They are expensive and should be well cared for. Folders damaged through neglect or folders that are lost will have to be replaced by the student.
- Keep all school owned music in the ensemble folder. Don’t put loose music or folders in your case.
Certain musical groups or sections of groups will need to rehearse after school. Conflicts with these rehearsals must be discussed with the appropriate director before the rehearsal. After school rehearsals will be posted at least one week in advance. There may be additional sectional rehearsals planned to get ready for NYSSMA. Symphonic Band students need to plan to attend the sectional rehearsal unless they have a school sports activity. A rotational sectional rehearsal schedule will be given to each student in December. Evening rehearsals may be scheduled to bring guests to clinic the band, as well as to rehearse and perform in a location that is more like NYSSMA.
CONCERTS AND ATHLETICS CONTESTS
Since there are unavoidable conflicts between sporting events and concerts during the school year, some guidelines have been created to diffuse parent/student/teacher/coaching conflicts and grading issues.
- Curricular Concerts will take precedent over league games. Students will attend a concert without negative repercussion in future game participation.
- One time, non-repeatable sporting events will take precedent over concert attendance (sectional & state tournaments, senior nights). There will be no negative grade impact in the student’s curricular musical/dance ensemble.
- Students will need to communicate these conflicts with their respective teachers/coaches at least one week in advance to minimize negative consequence to the team/ensemble for the missed event.
Music Lessons are arranged according to a rotating schedule, so that no pupil misses the same class each week. Band, Orchestra, and Chorus students receive one lesson per week. If a student is a member of both chorus and band or orchestra, they attend their instrumental lesson. These “doublers” do not receive a rotating vocal lesson. Weekly lessons are required of all instrumental and choral major ensemble members and are weighted as 50% of that student’s quarterly grade. Each pupil will be given a copy of their schedule and/or it will be posted in their respective music area. Schedules will be distributed to all classroom teachers at the beginning of each week, quarter, and/or semester. The student should notify the teacher whose class they miss for the lesson in advance, preferably during homeroom the day of the lesson.
- Students are responsible for all class work and homework missed as a result of the lesson.
- Where a unit test has been scheduled, the student can reschedule the lesson in advance of the test.
- The lesson teacher must be notified by the student before the lesson is missed.
Instruments should be taken home daily for practice. There is no substitute for quality preparation of the lesson and ensemble music on a regular basis at home. We make the following recommendations regarding student practice:
- Students practice 30 minutes per day, six days per week.
- Missed practice sessions can be made up, but to be effective, practice must be spread over the week.
- Practice should be confined to diligent effort toward preparation of next week’s lesson music as well as the band, orchestra or chorus music.
- Cover all required music thoroughly.
- Mark difficult sections with pencil.
- Practice slowly at first, making sure proper fingerings and bowings are used and that rhythm is correct.
- Write down the beat – counting in pencil for problem spots.
- Go over problem spots many times, as many as needed, until you can play them accurately and evenly. Gradually increase tempo up to performance level. Use a metronome if possible.
- The instructor will require that a record of the week’s practice time be kept and signed by the parent.
The grade on the report card for the band, orchestra, and chorus only (non-doubler) students are heavily weighted on student performance in the weekly lesson. This is to emphasize the necessity for steady and continual growth through prepared lesson assignments.
A student missing a scheduled lesson will receive one of three marks:
- A – The student was absent from school.
- X – The student was excused prior to the lesson and no make-up could be scheduled.
- 0 – The student missed the lesson without discussing it with the teacher. This is averaged as a lesson grade.
It should be noted that forgetting the lesson and/or materials will not be a valid excuse.
The grade on the report card for the band, orchestra, and chorus only (non-doubler) students is computed as follows:
- 50% weekly lesson/40% Daily Participation/10% Concert attendance
- Each lesson is given one grade. These grades are averaged for the quarter.
- Students have one week to make up a missed lesson.
- Concerts are viewed as “Outcome Based Assessments” of the assigned/prepared curricular materials and are graded similar to a quarterly unit test. Written documentation from a parent following a student’s concert absence (sudden illness, family emergency) is required. This documentation is necessary prior to an alternate assessment being administered for the “concert” portion of the grade. Unexcused absences receive a zero for the concert portion of the grade. See “Daily Attendance” in the CMS Student Handbook for further information. If a student cannot fulfill the concert or lesson portion of the class, they should drop the course immediately. Performance based ensembles/classes are not offered during homebound instruction.
The grades for Chorus doublers (band/chorus, orchestra/chorus) are based on the following:
- written quizzes on music theory taught in rehearsals
- spot checks in rehearsal for knowledge of music and sight-reading
- attitude and participation in rehearsals and concerts
- Concerts are viewed as “Outcome Based Assessments” of the assigned/prepared curricular materials and are graded similar to a quarterly unit test. Written documentation from a parent following a student’s concert absence (sudden illness, family emergency) is required. This documentation is necessary prior to an alternate assessment being administered for the “concert” portion of the grade. Unexcused absences receive a zero for the concert portion of the grade. See “Daily Attendance” in the CMS Student Handbook for further information. If a student cannot fulfill the concert portion of the class, they should drop the course immediately. Performance based ensembles/classes are not offered during homebound instruction.
- An instrument is a delicate mechanism which should be kept cleaned and handled with care at all times. Do not play someone else’s instrument or allow others to play yours.
- Reed players should have at least 4 good reeds or more to be alternated regularly. Store reeds in reed guard, not on the mouthpiece, and a swab or pad saver to clean main body of instrument.
- Flute players should have tuning rod and handkerchief for cleaning.
- Brass players should have valve oil, slide grease, and assigned mutes. Clean your instrument completely every month.
- Violins should have an extra A and E string in the case at all times.
- All string players are responsible for their own rosin.
- Percussion students are expected to purchase the necessary sticks and mallets as specified by the teacher and have them at all rehearsals.
- All percussion students are responsible for storing equipment at the end of rehearsals and concerts. Report any missing or damaged equipment at once.
- Some of the more expensive instruments used in the band and orchestra are provided by the school district. These include: piccolo, oboe, bassoon, alto and bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophone, French horn, baritone, tuba, viola, cello, & double bass.
- Students who are physically and musically suited for these instruments will be encouraged to switch from their original instrument to one of these. Often this change results in a surprising increase in a student’s musical achievement.
- Students playing school-owned instruments are responsible for the maintenance and care of these instruments. While using the instrument, it should be treated as if it was your own. Everyday maintenance is the responsibility of the student, and it is expected that the student will treat the instrument in a responsible manner. Repair or damage beyond normal wear is the responsibility of the student’s family.
8th grade students in Band and Orchestra will have an audition with the staff from West Genesee High School for placement in a Music Ensemble at WGHS. These auditions take place in May. Please ask your child about the date for their freshman school year audition.
The district is a full member of the Onondaga County Music Educators Association (OCMEA) which provides the opportunity for our students to participate in these events. The district also provides transportation for these events, in support of our belief that students can benefit from these unique experiences.
We strongly encourage participation in county festivals, however, students are selected by their teacher to audition for these events and groups. All County members are selected through a competitive audition process at events hosted by OCMEA. Acceptance into a festival is a significant musical achievement and one of which both student and teacher can be proud.
However, it is only the first step. Next must come the responsibility of thorough preparation of all parts. Students should seek help from their teacher. Students should participate with the proper attitude; they should be in a frame of mind that permits them to learn and grow as a musician, not worrying about their status or individual recognition.
Finally, if a student is unable to attend all or part of the festival due to illness, emergency, etc., they must contact a West Genesee teacher at once. As a general rule the department does not allow a student to participate who must miss any rehearsal time. The festival dates must be cleared from job, family or personal commitments before a student auditions.
The following are a few places to order music books, accessories and supplies for instrumental music students:
MUSIC & ARTS CENTER STORES (lesson books, supplies, instruments) www.musicarts.com
4106 Route 31 Suite 901
Clay, NY 13041
HOSMER VIOLINS (string supplies)
7101 East Genesee St. Fayetteville, NY 13066
(315) 637-1900 • (877) 773-1402
MCBLANE STRINGED INSTRUMENTS (string lesson books, supplies)
6784 Corl Drive
Preble, NY 13141-0182
EMPIRE WINDS. (woodwind and brass lesson books, supplies & solos) www.empirewinds.com
912 Church Street
North Syracuse, NY 13212
Other places to purchase music and supplies that we have found success with are as follows:
www.hickeys.com…… solos and sheet music.
www.fluteworld.com…… flute books, solos and supplies.
www.jwpepper.com….. Solos and lesson books.
www.wwbw.com…… instrument accessories such as clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces, ligatures and band instruments.
www.nielsen-woodwinds.com…… oboe and bassoon reeds and accessories.
www.hickeys.com…… solos and sheet music.
www.sharmusic.com…… music, string instruments and string supplies
Music students participating in “away” music activities (i.e. concerts, NYSSMA Solo or Ensemble festivals, Marching Band activities, etc.) are expected to observe the following regulations:
- Students are required to use school transportation, both to and from the events.
- Students wishing to depart or return home with parent(s) or legal guardian must present a written permission slip to the teacher responsible. To the extent possible, this should be handled before the activity begins. A phone call may be made to verify this type of request.
- All Band and Colorguard members are expected to participate in the Memorial Day Parade. This event is one of the community’s most important civic activities and we have always supported it through our participation.
- Rehearsals will be held during school. There is also one Saturday morning practice, to be held just prior to the Monday parade.
- Uniforms for the parade will consist of a T-shirt, shorts, socks and sneakers. T-shirts will be ordered and cost will be about $10.00 each. Students will be responsible for the cost of the T-shirt and they will also provide their own shorts, socks and sneakers.
- Symphonic Band (7th and 8th grade band students, every other day, meet separately by grade level)
- Concert Band (6th grade band students, every other day)
- 7th + 8th Grade Orchestra (7th and 8th grade string students every other day)
- 6th Grade Orchestra (6th grade string students every other day)
- Fiddle Groups (select strings, one day per week)
- Jazz Band (to be announced)
- Mixed chorus (6th grade, every other day)
- Concert Choir (7th and 8th grade, every other day)
- Small ensembles (to be announced)
- Musical (schedule announced)
If you have any trouble accessing the PDF documents on this page, please contact the Publications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 487-2179.