Course Syllabus


Marvin Ridge High School Music Department

Concert Band

8:00AM – 9:40AM, 9:45-11:10, Monday–Friday, Room A109

Keith James, Conductor

Course Description:

The Concert Band is open to wind instrumentalists and percussionists at Marvin Ridge. It is a goal of the Concert Band to enhance and encourage each student’s understanding of instrumental musical concepts and terms with an emphasis on rehearsals and performances. The Concert Band will perform primarily grade IV, V and VI literature. Students participating in Concert Band receive additional individual performance opportunities by auditioning for such honors as the All-County Band, the All-District Band, and the All-State Band. Some opportunities exist for students to participate in honors band situations. Individual/at-home practice outside of normal school hours is imperative and required. A minimal number of sectionals and full band rehearsals will be required afterschool. The Concert Band enjoys varied performance opportunities, which have included the North Carolina Music Educators Music Performance Assessment (band EOC) as well as performance opportunities for the local community and student body.


Open to wind instrumentalists and percussionists, Concert Band seeks to enhance and encourage each student’s understanding of instrumental musical concepts and terms with an emphasis on rehearsals and performances combined with group methods and instruction.


Required Textbooks:

Foundations for A Superior Performance – Richard Williams and Jeff King (Blue Book)

Kjos Music Publishers


Printed music will be distributed in class. Each student will be issued an individual folder slot. All original copies must be returned at the end of the semester. Photocopies must be destroyed. Music should only be marked in PENCIL.


Required Sectionals/Performances:

*Refer to the online band calendar (, Charms, school website under keith .james, or the handout that will go out with your child.  There will be sectional practice during the fall semester due to separate classes before the concerts.  If you cannot make the concert, then you will need to play the concert by yourself for a grade for that 6 week period.


Band Objectives:

The Marvin Ridge High School band has six primary objectives:

  • Cultural: To continue the development of music appreciation and understanding through the study and performance of the best in music. In this way, we hope to develop responsible consumers of music in our community to support the program.
  • Educational: To develop interested and discriminating listeners and provide a well rounded musical background.
  • Service: To lend color and atmosphere to athletic and community events, while promoting and enhancing the dignity and reputation of Marvin Ridge High School.
  • Recreational: To provide all students with the opportunity for worthy use of leisure time and good social experiences.
  • Individual: To help all students grow as musicians and independent thinkers to the point that they gain confidence and a sense of worth as a contributing member of the ensemble.
  • Teamwork: To develop responsibility, teamwork, interaction, and a healthy emotional outlet.








Daily Class Participation/Sectionals 40%

Performances 30%

Playing Evaluations 15%

Written Evaluations 10%

Student Choice 5%


Daily Class Participation45%

The rubric below will be used to determine a student’s general participation grade.

A+: The student’s attention never wavers from the rehearsal. The student exhibits exceptional behavior, providing a model for others. Student turns in all material.

A: The student listens attentively, rarely needs teacher reminders to refrain from talking or interrupting, and follows all procedures for good rehearsal participation. Student turns in all material.

B or C: The student needs occasional teacher reminders to listen attentively and/or refrain from talking, may get out of his/her seat, or does not follow all the procedures for good rehearsal participation. Student turns in most of the required material.

D or F: The student needs frequent teacher reminders to sit still, refrain from talking, listen attentively, or actively participate. The student makes it difficult for other students to listen. The teacher may move the student to another seat or remove the student from rehearsal. Student does not work towards getting better. Student turns in most of the required material.

Other participation grade items:

  • Student has all materials daily. See list of required items
  • Student provides good effort when asked to perform individually.
  • Student has music in order, instrument/reed prepared to play at beginning of rehearsal.


Performances/ Major Tests 30%*

This includes all concerts, graduation ceremonies, and anything on the schedule that is required for a particular school year.


 * Some six weeks sessions may not include this category in grading, in which case grades will be determined by a combination of the other three categories


Playing Evaluations 15%

Band students are required to take playing evaluations during the course of the semester. The director will give the students notice before the evaluations take place, as well as what the required music/scales will be as passed out on the 6 weeks objective sheets.  These evaluations are not meant to judge you!!  They are meant to give me more grading data, as well as help me get to know you and your playing abilities.  Each objective can be performed for credit at any point in the 6 weeks and can be replayed for a higher grade if time permits.  These can be done before or after school, or at the end of class if I have time.  Playing quizzes will be given to determine how well the students have prepared during rehearsal and home practice. These quizzes may or may not be announced. Playing quizzes or objectives will be short most of the time, covering 15-60 seconds of music. The playing evaluations for each 6 weeks will consist of:


  1. Scale Check- There will be a different scales required each 6 weeks
  2. Rhythm Check- There will be a different Time Signature (4/4, 2/4, ¾, 6/8) for each 6 weeks,

       and the required rhythms that go with that time signature

  1. Music Check- There will be a different excerpt of our repertoire assigned for each section,

       each 6 weeks



Each assignment in this category is worth a percentage of a student’s grade for a given 6-week

period, up to a maximum of 20%.

The goal of a “pass-off” grading system is for students to demonstrate mastery of a

given selection of music. The student is accountable for mastering EVERY aspect of their

musical performance: tone quality, pitch, rhythm, articulation, note length and phrasing.


  • Pass-offs will be performed in the band room during class.
  • Pass-offs will be announced at least 3 days in advance.
  • When a student performs a pass-off, their grade is pass or fail. The student must perform

at an “A” level on every criteria (tone quality, pitch, rhythm, etc.) to pass. Any student

who passes will receive a 95-100 grade for that specific objective.

  • Students will receive feedback about the specific problem they need to address.
  • Any student who fails may retake the assignment, but it might not be during class time. Students may continually retake the pass-off until they are able to demonstrate mastery of the

assignment. Pass-offs selected from concert music must be passed before the concert or they become a grade of zero. Pass-offs selected from training or fundamentals materials (scales, exercises from Foundations for Superior Performance, other assigned exercises) may be retaken

until the end of the grading period, at which time they become a grade of zero.

All objective forms must be turned in by the date posted on the form. Late forms will be deducted 3 points from your final grade. 


Written Evaluations 10%

There will be one written evaluations per semester and is worth 100 pts.  Your child will choose one of the three. It can be turned in at any before December 6, 2015.

Band Portfolio Project

Movie Soundtrack Project

Concert Program 


Band Portfolio Project - You will write a Brief informational paper of four band selections from your folder (class) and fill out the form provided.  The project should be typed or neatly written in black pen.


Compare and Contrast the 3 major Baroque composers- You will write a 3-4 page paper on a Bach, Mozart, and Handel. Talking points would be Composer background, composed for what reason or whom.

Format is typed. 12 font, doubled spaced. SOURCES: A minimum of three different sources, One source must be print, ALL sources must be cited on the Works Cited page


Written examinations- will be given to the students each six weeks. The quizzes will cover notation, terminology, rhythms, listening skills, musical concepts, and critical musical thinking skills discussed throughout the term. A review sheet might be given to students prior to each quiz. 


Student Choice (5%) Extra Credit

Student Choice points should be claimed on a MR Band Activity form/Objective Form and put in "the folder" on the band director’s podium or in his/her hand three days prior to the end of the 6 weeks. The voucher form is available in the band room or on your Objective form that you turn in for credit. The Voucher process is on the honor system, and needs to be signed by a parent/or band director. Examples are:- Individual practice on band instrument (1 pt/hour, no limit), - Practice on a second instrument (1 pt/hour, maximum 5 per 6 weeks) (This is for band instruments only unless you play in the rhythm section of the jazz band), - Performance in non-school activity, i.e. church, piano recital, etc (1pt/per event, maximum 5 per 6 weeks) includes church band or small group, -Attending a concert or clinic. Program must be attached. (1pt/per event, maximum 4 per 6 weeks), - Music office work as assigned by director (1pt/per hour, maximum 5 hrs per 6 weeks) Need to sign up on the office door, - Any activity that is musically related and approved by the directors (1pt/per hour, maximum 5 hrs per 6 weeks)



1 sharpened pencil

Notebook with all music, warm-ups, and fingering chart

Valve oil, maintenance supplies, and at least 2 extra reeds for woodwinds. 

Instrument in working condition

Band calendar in your binder

Copy of Band syllabus in your binder (Downloadable on google website)


Attendance is mandatory for all events

Expectations: It is expected that every musician in the Band at MRHS will do their very best!

      It is highly suggested that every member participate in the All District audition process.

Band Class Rules

  1. Be on time and ready to perform at the first downbeat.
  2. Come to class prepared to play your instrument, not to do other class work.
  3. Warm up intelligently. This means softly, in the lower register of your horn, and usually involves long tones. Warm up before the start of the rehearsal.
  4. Tune! Not only at the beginning of the rehearsal, but all through the rehearsal. During the tuning period, only tune; do not practice.
  5. Do not leave your seat after the rehearsal starts unless you get permission first.
  6. When the conductor gets on the podium, please be quiet. When he gets off the podium, you may talk quietly.
  7. When the baton goes up, place your instrument in playing position and give the director your undivided attention.
  8. Always pay attention to what is going on in rehearsal. Always have a pencil to mark parts.
  9. Avoid playing between selections, except when tuning. Do not tune when the director gets back on the podium.
  10. No gum, candy, food, or drinks in the band room. (Water is allowed)
  11. Take care of both personal and school equipment.
  12. Do not leave the room without instructor's permission.
  13. If you are ill and feel that you cannot play, check in with the teacher.
  14. Do not clean your instrument or do other maintenance during band class. This is to be done outside class time.
  15. Play only your assigned instrument.
  16. Play only your assigned part or part assigned by the instructor. Know your part!!
  17. Please give your full attention to whoever is conducting, whether it is your director, a student conductor, or substitute conductor.
  18. After rehearsal, put your instrument into its case correctly, then into the proper storage space. Also, put your music away in the proper slot.
  19. Do not throw anything in the band room.
  20. Stay out of other member’s instruments and music. Respect each other and each other’s equipment.
  21. If you have a question, please ask.
  22. Cell phones/other electronics are to be turned off and stored away from the band setup during all performances, rehearsals, and class periods. Do not leave cell phones on your music stand!
  23. Take great pride in what you do.





General Conduct Statement:

It is expected and requested that each student act like a lady or gentleman at all times. Polite and courteous behavior is a credit to the organization and the school. Loud and boisterous behavior does not convey to the public an image that we would like to represent, and thus is discouraged. Band members are encouraged to cultivate an attitude of exceptional discipline and attention during rehearsal. Each rehearsal should be a musical learning experience for each student. Each performance can only be as good as its best rehearsal. Constant disturbances by any band member shows a lack of interest and respect to the band, and therefore it may be necessary for

them to find another place or activity that might hold their attention and respect.


For disruptions/rule violations, the following steps will apply… For more extreme discipline problems, the teacher may skip steps at his discretion.


  1. Teacher/Student meeting (warning)
  2. Detention
  3. Parent contact
  4. Office referral



Remembering these criteria will better help you to make our rehearsals more productive and allow you to improve as individual musicians. The student will be expected to:


  1. Play correct notes and rhythms.
  2. Perform in phrases by breathing at musically proper phrase endings.
  3. Perform all written articulations.
  4. Perform all written dynamics.
  5. Play in tune with oneself and others in the performing group.
  6. Play at proper, steady tempos as they are marked in the music and given by the director.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to balance musically with the ensemble in which they are performing.
  8. Improve his/her tone quality throughout the school term.
  9. Improve his/her range on their respective instrument throughout the school term.
  10. Strive for musically expressive playing.

Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental music theory.


For performances, ALL BAND MEMBERS must wear the following items:

Black leather dress shoes

Black socks/stockings

Band Concert Dress for girls. Please order before Sept. 25.

Tux for Men

Plain White or black blouse for ladies (must cover shoulders) (no writing or sparkly stuff)

[Full length Black dresses are an acceptable alternative for ladies]


If meeting the dress code presents a hardship, please contact the director immediately. Parents, who wish to donate outgrown or no-longer-needed items from the above list, should contact the band director.


 Classroom Procedures: A structured classroom environment is crucial to the success and efficiency of a band rehearsal.


  1. Be in place with instrument, book/music, and pencil BEFORE rehearsal begins.
  2. Take care of individual needs such as reeds, sticks, or valve oil BEFORE class.
  3. Do not touch anyone else’s instrument for any reason.
  4. Be attentive and focused during rehearsal.
  5. Give your best effort at all times.
  6. Make sure all music and equipment is put in its proper place at the end of a rehearsal or performance.



Instruments left at home:

If a student forgets to bring their instrument to class they will lose participation points. It is

important to remember that Band is a performance and participation class and when a student is

unable to play because they left their instrument at home they are not fully participating in class.

Instruments in need of repair:

Instruments need to be kept in good working condition. A student will NOT be penalized if

their instrument needs repair. When a student comes to class without an instrument because it is

being repaired they will be given an alternative assignment. Please remember that the only way for us to distinguish the difference between an instrument left at home and one in the repair shop is if we receive a note or phone call from a parent. This policy prevents a student that left their

instrument at home from saying “It’s in the repair shop.”

Often the problem with an instrument is minor. You might want to see one of us before you

bring the instrument to a repair shop. If the instrument needs to go to the repair shop, it is generally a good idea to ask the band directors where a good repair shop is. Always ask for a loaner. This will ensure the student does not fall behind. Some music stores service our school on a weekly basis, arrangements can be made for one of them to pick the instrument up at school and return it the following week. They usually have loaners available but you will need to ask before they come out.

Course Summary:

Date Details