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Handbook, p. 4

Performance Attire

Students are required to wear a standard outfit when performing with the Salem Middle School Bands. Students who come to the concert without the required attire will not be allowed to perform. This requirement may change within a few days of the opening of Salem Middle School as we establish ourselves. However, typical formal concert attire is indicated below.


White dress shirt, neck tie, black trousers, black dress shoes with black socks.


White blouse and black dress pants or black skirt. All skirts must be below the knee when sitting. Black dress shoes are also required.

Absolutely no jeans or sneakers of any color will be allowed.


Grading Policy

The grading policy for Salem Middle School Bands have been designed to ensure that the grade clearly and accurately reflects the performance quality of each individual and further ensures that the band experience is fair and equitable to all who participate. Below is an explanation of the grading formula used for each quarter.

Each student's quarter average is based on the following categories:

Tests (25%): Students will be given both playing and written tests periodically on assigned music exercises and concepts. Music being rehearsed in class may be tested at any time. Practice charts will be checked periodically and must be completed and signed by a parent for a grade. It is important to know that no credit will be given for practice records that are not signed at the end of each week.

Participation (25%) : Students begin each quarter with a grade of 100 in this category. Deductions will be made for failure to comply with classroom rules and/or failure to participate in class.

Practice Charts (50%): Practice charts will be checked periodically and must be completed and signed by a parent for a grade. It is important to know that no credit will be given for practice records that are not signed at the end of each week.



Curriculum Guide

Parents and students will find below a list of learning goals for students in Salem Middle School Bands. After three years in Salem Middle School Bands, the student should be able to:

Individual Goals

  • Hold the instrument, sticks, or mallets correctly with correct hand position.
  • Demonstrate the correct posture to be used when playing the instrument.
  • Form a correct embouchure or stick grip for the instrument.
  • Produce a characteristic, controlled sound on the instrument.
  • Perform clean articulations on the instrument to include; tongue and slur combinations, accents, staccato, legato and forte-piano.
  • Perform solo works with minimal assistance from the director.
  • Demonstrate the ability to care for, maintain, store, and transport the instrument.

Ensemble (Group) Goals

  • Explain and demonstrate, with the band, the pyramid balance concept.
  • Demonstrate the ability to tune the instrument and play in tune with the band.
  • Explain and demonstrate, with the band, staggered breathing.
  • Explain and demonstrate, with the band, dove-tailing of phrases.
  • Perform the appropriate level of concert music with artistry and musical taste.
  • Successfully sight-read an appropriate level of concert music.
  • Perform and receive a rating at the NC Band Festival.
  • Perform music for the public with the band.

Music Theory Goals

  • Identify pitches in both treble and bass clef.
  • Count, play, and identify by ear, common rhythmic figures including eighth-note/eighth-rest combinations, sixteenth-note/sixteenth-rest combinations, syncopated rhythms, rhythms involving ties, dotted rhythms, triplet figures, and cut-time figures.
  • Define basic Italian, French, German and Latin terms and symbols found in music.
  • Name the keys on the piano.
  • Construct half-steps and whole-steps above or below any given pitch.
  • Write and play all major scales. Write and identify all major key signatures.
  • Identify any given pitch in any given key using numerals, solfege, or proper degree names.
  • Identify (aurally and written) major, minor, and perfect intervals.

Advanced Individual Goals

  • Play chromatic scales on the instrument.
  • Play basic swing rhythms on the instrument.
  • Play blues scales on the instrument.
  • Play pure, harmonic and melodic minor scales on the instrument.
  • Transpose and perform basic tunes up or down a whole step at sight.

Music Appreciation Goals

  • Experience the performance of fine music by ensembles and soloists by attending live concerts and listening to recordings.

Citizenship Goals

  • Exhibit personal pride, integrity, responsibility, commitment, dependability, a strong work ethic, and esprit de corps.
  • Respect the abilities and efforts of others.

Additional Percussion Goals
Percussion students will also demonstrate additional proficiency in the following areas:

  • Perform basic drum rudiments to include rolls, flams, paradiddles, drags, ruffs, and ratamacues.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of suspended and crash cymbal technique.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of chime technique.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of auxiliary instrument technique (triangle, tambourine, sleigh bells. woodblock, etc.).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of concert bass drum technique.
  • Demonstrate the ability to tune and play basic timpani parts.


How to Practice

Daily practice time is essential for student success in band. All band students should spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day in individual practice. Daily practice time is homework for band. The guidelines below will help to organize your practice time. Remember, practice time is to be spent practicing, not watching the clock.

  • Practice in the same place each day. Be sure there are no distractions.
  • Begin with long tones. Concentrate on producing a pleasing sound. Think about your breathing. Produce a steady and controlled air stream. You should love your sound. It is yours and no one else's. No two musicians have the same tone. Always make sure that your tone is clear and beautiful.
  • Spend time on scales. Play them slowly at first and then work for speed. Work from your method book each day. Try to stay several lines ahead of the class. Work for accuracy and be sure to play everything on the page.
  • Practice in front of a mirror to check your embouchure, hand position, and posture.
  • Practice your music. Work on the parts that you cannot play. Practice them slowly at first and then increase the speed. Work one measure at a time for difficult parts. Once you are able to play a measure five times without mistakes then you can increase the tempo. The same goes for the entire exercise.
  • Pay careful attention to details such as: correct notes and fingerings, rhythms, key signatures and accidentals, signs and symbols, dynamics and articulations.
  • End by playing something just for fun.
  • Swab woodwinds thoroughly, empty water from brasses and return instrument safely to case.


Jazz Band

The Jazz Band is open by audition only and meets after school, two days per week for approximately one hour. Instrumentation will be based on standard big band instrumentation: trumpet, trombone, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, and a rhythm section consisting of drum set, piano, bass, and guitar. Audition material is largely based on the same material used for All-District Band auditions.


How Parents Can Help

Regardless of musical background, a parent's support and encouragement will have a tremendous impact on a child's progress in band. To assist in the musical growth of your child, you can:

  • Support the goals, policies, and procedures of the director. Your child succeeds when the band director succeeds.
  • Require regular practice at home. Provide a daily time and place where your child can practice without distractions or interruptions.
  • Ask your child to play for you and encourage performance.
  • Teach your child to be punctual by helping him or her to be on time to performances and rehearsals.
  • Enthusiastically attend all band functions to show your support. Get involved! Join the Salem PTA!
  • Help keep your child's instrument in good repair.
  • Give strong consideration to providing private lessons for your child.


In Closing

Young people need positive direction. I see band as an opportunity to shape young lives and to positively influence young people.

Students must understand that their actions will have a tremendous impact on their lives and the lives of others. The nature of that impact (positive or negative) is up to the individual.

Remind your child when the challenge becomes tough that teachers, just like parents, set high standards, because we care. Thank you for your support and best wishes for a safe, happy, successful school year.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. My office number is 363-2698. My email address is bhinson@wcpss.net.

Robert L. Hinson, Jr. Band Director






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