Musicianship - Listening Survey
PARENTS - I know we are all busy. Here is a quick reference guide for you.
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! Let me just start by saying - I am super excited to have each and every one of you as a student!! I know that what we do together is powerful and I am looking forward to instructing you and working together with you!!
It is my hope that you will grow every day during your HS career at Hellgate. You are among an elite group of incredibly talented people that have the priveledge of calling themselves musicians. Take pride and know that what you are doing will expand your mind and spirit for years to come. I am here to introduce you to things that can potentially change your lives for the better. Thank you for being involved, working hard and enjoying the rewards that music can bring into your lives.
Since we are a PERFORMANCE based learning ensemble, please be sure to click on the EVENTS tab and visit the calendar. All band students will begin the year by combining to create our marching band. It is a busy 5 weeks here at the beginning of the school year, but after marching season you will see that we typically do about 1 performance per quarter (except Wind Ensemble and Jazz). It is really important that ALL of our performances are a part of your home master calendar - we are all depending on each other to have 100% attendance at all of our performances! It is also an awesome thing to have the entire Hellgate Band family in attendance at concerts that you aren't performing on (plus we need your help with the CONCERT TECH. CREW). Please come join us and support our student musicians!!
It is also VERY important that all Hellgate Band families are signed up to receive the HELLGATE BAND NEWS emails. This is my main form of communication and it will help us all be in the right place at the right time! You can sign up right now by visiting the Band Grams link on the menu to the left. The link to add your email is at the very top of the page. I will also be sending you an opportunity to receive the band grams and other band reminders via text.
Please take a few minutes and become familiar with each section of the handbook posted below. If you have questions regarding any portion, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by my office with your questions. In order to achieve the highest standards of excellence in the Hellgate High School Band, it is necessary for the new student to become acquainted with the regulations, procedures and past traditions of this incredible organization. I also need to ask that ALL returning Hellgate band students read thru the handbook and be familiar with each of the sections. After reading each of the sections, please fill out the acknowledgment form for YOUR CLASS located at the end/bottom of this page. This is a 50 point assignment and is required of all band members. Responses must be logged by 4:00 PM Friday, September 2, 2016.
Please remember that I am here to help you grow as a musician AND get to know you as a person! I welcome you to stop by and visit anytime!
THANKS and see you soon! - SLATER
Director of Bands
Hellgate High School
Missoula, MT 59801
Student Evaluation - Grading
Bands, Choirs and Orchestras at Missoula County Public Schools are unique among curriculum classes in that they are also performance organizations. Students in these classes must understand at the outset that each performance and rehearsal activity must be considered a necessary part of the class curriculum and will be treated as such. It’s the philosophy of the department that each student is responsible not only to themselves but also to the organization as a whole and to the other students for participation in performances.
Grades in Band are earned within 4 categories. Performances, Evaluation (playing and written), Daily Participation/ Attendance, and Musicianship Development.
1. Band Performances are worth 100 points each. We will have atleast one each quarter. REQUIRED extra rehearsals are worth 50 points each.
2. Written and/or Performance Assessment points will vary from ensemble to ensemble. Playing evaluations range from 10 to 25 points/each and written assignments will range from 25 - 100 points. Semester 1 finals will be given in all music classes.
3. Daily Participation and Attendance - 5 points/day. Active participation in rehearsal is required to earn the full value each day. This includes being aware and implementing standard rehearsal etiquette. A typical quarter will equate 220 - 240 points. All absences can be made up by performing music from class music or exercises.
4. Practice Time Log/Documentation - (NEW as of Quarter 3 2017 due to a lack of ownership in personal effort and growth). This assignment is DUE every Monday of Quarter 3: 30 minutes of practicing each week can be done at any point from Monday to Monday. This documentation will be turned in every Monday and returned to the student on Tuesday. These points will ALSO DOUBLE as points in the Musicianship category (you can thank me later on both accounts:).
5. Musicianship Development points can be accrued during the course of the entire quarter. Each quarter all band members are responsible for earning 100 points in this category. Points can be earned by:
1. Documented Practice – 8 points per hour or 2 point for every 15 minutes (forms for each quarter filled out completely).
2. Performance of any approved method book material - 5 points per exercise (at Lunch/after school OR Smart Music anytime)
3. Documented Private Lessons – 5 points each
4. Listening ONLINE - YOUTUBE channels NPR Music, Concertband Land OR Spotify – 3 points/form (available at the top of this document)
5. Attendance as a listener to approved concerts – 5 points per concert (programs required as documentation)
6. Concert Tech. Crew - 10 points per concert
7. Leadership Council tasks - coordinator or crew member
8. Hellgate Chamber Musicians member
9. Extra rehearsals required by the director (Drumline, Pep Band, Colorguard, Small Ensemble, etc...)
10. Others as set up by the director (fair band, extra performances, etc...)
Working in pairs or small groups on ensemble music, duets, small ensembles or composition ALL count as INDIVIDUAL practice time and can be used for FYI points.
Individual practice is not to be confused with group rehearsals. Band rehearsals, MYS rehearsals or Pep Band rehearsals do not count as practice time. Practice is time spent on your instrument practicing band music, method books, small ensembles OR working on composition.
Concerts are given a high priority of value. A student/family wishing to apply for an excused absence from a performance must do so at least 3 weeks prior to the date of the performance. If a student misses a concert for an excused reason, they are responsible for making up the points. Last minute notification or unexcused absences will result in a ZERO for that performance grade.
Grades will be updated on Q on a bi-weekly basis, however points from the Musicianship category will be tallied at the end of the quarter. As a result, most grades will appear to be high during the quarter. It is the students' responsibility to track and assess the need for points to take care of the Musicianship category.
Performance Attendance and Grades
It is understood that all Band Members realize that Band is a performance-oriented class and that performances scheduled by the Band are to be attended without exception! Exceptions will be granted for the following conditions:
1. Death in the family
2. Severe illness on the part of the Band Member
3. Acts of God. (Severe weather conditions, earthquakes, etc)
4. Parental planned absence - at least 3 weeks in ADVANCE.
5. School Activities notified IN ADVANCE.
All School Activities ADVANCED notification needs to be done at the beginning of the school year. Advanced notification should be done as early as possible as this will allow us to insure that the bands performance is not negatively impacted. Any student absences that fall outside of these guidelines will be considered unexcused and the student will receive a zero for that performance.
All performances will be made known to the band at least two weeks in advance.
Band Behavior/Rehearsal Rules
The Hellgate Band is one of the most visible and active organizations on campus. It represents Hellgate High School every time it appears in public. Our behavior both individually and collectively is a direct reflection on the standards of the community, the school and our band. We have developed great pride and would prefer to be able to perform effectively and professionally without the stringent rules and regulations that tend to stifle spontaneity and spirit. Because of this we expect that you exercise good judgment regarding proper behavior and that you become familiar with the following guidelines.
Ultimately, I am NOT here to FORCE you to do anything. You have a choice - stay positive, do your best and do what is best for everyone involved OR detract from what we are attempting to build together and be a drain on the collective. Indifference and negativity are destructive. Make a choice for the positive (the other option is not a choice...it just happens)!!
1. Be kind. Trust that everyone around you is doing their absolute best (I will assume the same of you). Smile and remain encouraging to everyone around you. Honestly, you never know what they might be struggling with...be kind.
2. Be respectfull. Respect others opinions, ideas and treat others the way you want to be treated.
3. Be REAL. Take responsibility for your own actions. Come prepared for class, work hard and always do your best. Doing your best will mean different things every day -
4. Follow directions the first time they’re given. This simple, straightforward rule allows us to function efficiently. This includes being intimately familiar with standard rehearsal etiquette*.
5. Music and instruments must be returned to their cabinets at the end of rehearsal. At the end of each rehearsal, straighten your stand and chair, carefully dismantle your instrument, place your music back in the folder cabinet and wait inside the door for the bell to ring. If the bell rings during rehearsal, the director will dismiss you.
6. No gum, pop, food or candy is to be in the rehearsal room. We all need to do our best to keep the band area neat and tidy at all times. Thanks for taking care of our amazing facility.
Standard Rehearsal Etiquette*
Performing instrumental music ensembles generally adhere to established standards of behavior for public performances and for rehearsal efficiency. Many of these standards date back to the 1400's, and are accepted world-wide as a MUSICIAN UNIVERSAL. Following is an abbreviated compilation of ensemble etiquette. These five items pertain to rehearsal and performance etiquette for any instrumental music ensemble.
1. Be ready to rehearse/perform at the scheduled starting time. The common saying among musicians is: "5 minutes early is 10 minutes late".
2. The order of music is listed prior to rehearsal. Have your music ready as quickly as possible. During your warm-up time, review the music that will be covered during the rehearsal.
3. Absolutely no talking when the conductor or your section leader is giving directions. Stop quickly when directed. Be attentive and open to verbal directions of the person conducting the ensemble. Being aware of non-verbal instruction through the conducting is part of your musical training. Be a musician.
4. Mark your music in PENCIL Only. ALWAYS have a pencil on your stand so that you can mark everything that is discussed during rehearsal. Remembering the details from rehearsal to rehearsal will save a TON of rehearsal time. If you miss it - mark it! Make your marking concise and meaningful. Avoid simply circling notes or problems areas. We always use pencil because it allows for different interpretations in future music uses without destroying it.
5. Come to rehearsal with your part prepared. Rehearsal is intended to be a time where we learn how things fit together and how everyone else's part interconnects with our own. Remember that others are depending on you - EVERY part is important, whether 1st, 4th or crash cymbals!
School Instrument Rental
Hellgate instruments will be issued to students with a MCPS Rental Form. Students are responsible for turning in the form to the director with a check for the appropriate fee. ALL Percussionists will be using district maintained school instruments and will need to pay the appropriate fee for their use*. Please understand that if you rent a school instrument or other piece of equipment you are fully responsible for its care. It is very wise to see if your parents’ homeowners insurance will cover the cost of any equipment if it were to be damaged, lost or stolen. If your school instrument has a problem, please contact the Director.
MCPS percussionists are required to pay a $30 use fee each year (checks made payable to Hellgate Bands). Hellgate High School provides over $80,000 worth of percussion instruments for our band program to use. Maintenance on these instruments runs into the thousands of dollars annually. This small fee makes a contribution toward the maintenance of these instruments.
Percussionists at the high school level are also required to purchase and use the correct mallets for each of the instruments they use. All specialty mallets are provided, however each and every percussionist is required to have the following: (or equivalant)
Fees, mallets and stick bags are due to Mr. Slater by Friday, September 4, 2015. All percussionists are required to bring their mallets and stick bag to class every day.
Hellgate High School provides all band students with a performance uniform. There is a $30.00 white fee associated with our uniform (we purchase all of our own marching band/jazz band shirts and performance dresses with these $$). All band members will need to pay this white fee within the first 2 weeks of the new school year.
When you are given a uniform all identification numbers are written down under your name and assigned to you. DO NOT TRADE UNIFORM PARTS. You must return all uniform items that are checked out to you. If something doesn’t fit or you are having a problem, please see a uniform manager or the Director.
When uniforms are checked out all pants will be hemmed to fit as needed. Your pants must not drag on the ground. Failure to have pants hemmed properly has resulted in the loss of pants for future use and reduces the number of students who can participate. YES - these uniforms are old, but they are also very expensive to replace! Our District simply cannot afford to replace these uniforms!
Determine to take great care of your uniform. It is your responsibility to know how to properly care for your band uniform. Jackets, pants and overlays must be hung properly on the hanger provided. All uniform parts, shoes and beret are to be inside the uniform bag. Upon check out, your uniform should be taken home and hung up. If you are unable to take your uniform home immediately please contact the Director. Your uniform should not be left in the rehearsal room.
Uniforms (other than Pep Band shirts) should always be dry-cleaned. Your Band gives you a clean uniform at the beginning of the school year. If you need to clean your uniform before returning it at the end of the year and you have a question regarding correct cleaning procedures, please ask.
Uniform parts that are found improperly hung or laying about will be identified and returned to the owner along with a fine. Uniforms left in the band room will be assessed a $2 fee/day. First offense for leaving behind parts of your uniform will result in a warning. Second offense will be full fine. Fines will be assessed and reported to the office at the end of each semester. Uniforms should be stored at home except for Marching Band game days.
Fund-raising/Band Travel Opportunities
The Hellgate Bands are an active organization. We love to get out and see what other bands are doing and learn about the world by traveling! We have recently done band festivals in Honolulu, HI, Chicago, IL and Savannah, GA. It is our plan to travel every other year with our wind bands and every year with our jazz band. With that in mind, we provide several fund-raising opportunities during the course of the year. We encourage ALL Hellgate Band members to get involved and start saving for the future!
Individual Student Accounts
All fundraised money will be tracked by the Director and band parents. Parents, students and teachers should remember that while individual records are being kept of student fund raising in order to insure that fund raising efforts are equitable among students, the individual music student account is not a checking account for the student to spend as they please. Approved trips are the only approved music department expenditures. Student funds are the property of the school and not the student, and as such, are under the administration of school officials. This is MCPS policy that we are required to adhere to re. money fund-raised under any school name.
Definitions: Individual Student Account: Money generated by or for an individual student to be used for approved music department expenditures.
The Mozart Award
This award is given to the Outstanding Senior Musician of the Hellgate Music Department and is selected by the Directors of the Band, Choir and Orchestra.
John Philip Sousa Award
This award is given to the Outstanding Band Member. It’s available to any member of the Wind Ensemble and is voted upon by the Wind Ensemble members. It’s the Hellgate Band’s highest award.
Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
This award is given to the Outstanding Jazz Band Member. It’s available to any Jazz Band member and is voted upon by the members of the jazz program.
Outstanding Senior Soloist
This award is given to a senior who has received a Superior rating on a solo at District Music Festival. This individual is chosen by the Director and may be featured with the band on the final concert of the year.
Hellgate Band Service Award
This award is given to that individual who has, in the opinion of the band members and the Director, been most active in performing services for the betterment of the band.
Outstanding Symphonic, Concert and Freshman Band Members
This award is given to the exceptional member of each of these ensembles.
Theresa Rhoads Memorial Scholarship
This award is given in memory of Theresa Rhoads, a freshman girl who was killed in a snowmobile-automobile accident of January 2, 1985. The scholarship is to be presented to two senior girls in the band who have at least a 3.00 GPA. The Activities Director and the Director of Bands select the award winners.
How to Letter
Band Letters are awarded to students that work at being involved above and beyond the requirements of the classroom. This effort is recognized and documented by accumulating points within specific musical activities.
Freshmen must attain 300 points. Sophomores need 275. Juniors need 250 points and Seniors need 200. All points are eliminated at the end of each school year. Points are accumulated by participation in the following ways:
HELLGATE BAND HISTORY - A Tradition of Excellence
The Hellgate Bands have a long history of excellence in band performance. From the 1960's under the direction of Mr. Chuck Johnson to the time of Mr. John Combs (1980 - 2009) the Hellgate Bands have achieved unparalleled success for decades! The Hellgate Bands have commissioned works from both David Maslanka (UFO Dreams and Hells Gate) and John O'Reilly (Montana Visions). The Hellgate Marching Knights have marched the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1978, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 2005; performed in the Cotton Bowl Parade in 1981 and the Fiesta Bowl Parade in 1992, 1995 and 1999; and also performed in the Holiday Bowl Parade of 2001 where they were selected at the Holiday Bowl Festival Sweepstakes winner taking 1st Place in Concert Band and Jazz Band performances. The Hellgate Bands participated in the 2011 Honolulu Festival (an International Cultural Arts Festival). They received superior ratings in the Wind Band festival and placed 2nd in the Festival Parade (which took place in downtown Honolulu). The Hellgate Wind Ensemble performed on the Chicago Symphony Hall stage and won the "Gold Award" in the 2013 Chicago International Music Festival. In March 2015 the Hellgate Wind Ensemble received the "Gold Award" at the 2015 New York Wind Band Festival for their performance in Carnegie Hall!
The Hellgate Bands have consistently received Superior ratings at District Music Festivals. The Marching Band has performed half-time shows at football games for the University of Montana and Montana State University. The band has performed in Disneyland and San Diego’s Sea World. The Jazz Band program consistently receives Superior ratings at the State Music Festival and was selected to perform at the MENC All-Northwest Convention in 2001 in Spokane, Washington and 2013 in Portland, Oregon. An overwhelming majority of the Hellgate band students take part in the District II Music Festival as soloists and members of small ensembles.
Leon Slater is enjoying his 8th year as the Director of Bands for Hellgate High School. Mr. Slater earned his Bachelors in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While at Northwestern he performed in the Brass Choir under the direction of Rex Martin, the Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Paynter and the Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Victor Yampolsky. In 1993 Mr.Slater moved to Missoula to study music education at the University of Montana where he received his Masters in Music and his teaching certification. In the Fall of 1996 he student taught at Hellgate High School and learned how to rehearse effectively and passionately from Mr. John Combs. In 1997 he took a job as Director of Bands at Florence Carlton Schools in Florence, MT. In five years the HS band grew from 13 to 118 members. In 2002 Mr. Slater took the helm of the Big Sky Band program and within a few short years had auditioned their groups into All-Northwest, the New York Wind Band Festival and the Australian Music Festival. When Steve Bolstad left the University of Montana Mr. Slater was asked to step in and become an interim Assistant Director of Bands and trumpet teacher at the University of Montana. At UM Slater taught methods and materials for music education majors, brass methods, trumpet studio, jazz combos, supervised student teachers and directed the University Concert Band. In 2008 Mr. Slater was accepted into the Center for Jazz Composition program at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. He studied jazz composition with Chuck Owen, assisted with the trumpet studio and directed the "Jazz II" Big Band. He is currently an active trumpet performer with Salsa Loca, the Big Sky Mudflaps and the Soul City Brass Band. He lives in Missoula with his wife Liz, their two children Ethan (age 15) and Emi (age 13) and their two dogs "Bebop" and "Rock-Steady".
Helpful Hints for Proper and Meaningful Practice
Being a musician is a lot like being an athlete. Fine motor skills and muscle development is an important part of sounding good and having endurance on your instrument. I like to think of it as being a "SONIC ATHLETE". If I don't "work-out" for a few days, I have already lost the muscle training I had gained previously. If I don't work-out for a week or more, it is like starting over when I return to that activity. Wind and Percussion instruments are exactly the same way - they are PHYSICAL instruments. Each and every instrument requires a daily engagement to exercise the fine muscle groups that create good sound on the instrument.
Learning music is also a lot like learning a foreign or new language. New vocabulary and sentence structure are introduced on a daily basis. Daily repetition of your new language will create a deeper connection and result in an easier time using the language. It will also result in greater enjoyment (yours and your listener). If you think about it this way, you will surely understand WHY practicing is an important part of being a musician. Are you flabby and illiterate or TONED and multi-lingually articulate?;-)
I know we are all busy with tons of activity, but we need to do our best to make time to PRACTICE EVERYDAY.
Commitment - Set a goal that pushes you and find a way to make it work. If you set a goal to practice daily, your improvement will be steady and noticeable. Here are a few helpful hints that will make your practicing become a habit and worthwhile.
Practice the same time every day - within a few weeks it becomes a daily activity that helps define my day.
Let your goals determine the length of your session.
· Instead of just practicing for a set time ("I have to do 30 minutes") have a list of goals to accomplish during the practice session and see how long it takes you. When you set your goals of things to accomplish, practice in such a way that leads to being able to play the exercise without a "miss" or mistake (see Practice Intelligently below).
Have a set warm-up.
· I call my warm-up "ROUTINE" and I do it EVERYDAY. Doing the same exercises at the beginning of your time on the instrument develops consistency in your playing. Long Tones and slow scales are a good place to start. As you warm-up, the use of crescendo/diminuendo on the long tones will assist greatly in tone and pitch development.
· If a part is difficult, go super SLOW and ACCURATE the first few times through the exercise and then gradually increase the tempo as you get the notes under your fingers and the sound in your ear. ACCURACY is the basis for building the part into your muscle and ear memory.
· One of my old teachers used to say something like: "Mediocre players practice until they get it right. Incredible musicians practice it until they can't get it wrong".
· Once you get a part down - practice until you can play it FIVE TIMES without making any mistakes.
· Try and hold yourself to the highest standard of perfection during practice. Practice like it is a performance.
Physical Training - everything counts
· Sit forward and on the edge of your chair when playing to provide for maximum lung usage and proper breathing. An arch in the small of the back and aligned posture helps focus wind and mind. Proper posture during practice will truly help you during performances.
· SOUND, SOUND, SOUND - spend a few minutes each day working on sound. Close your eyes and truly listen to your sound. Explore ways to make your sound more open and beautiful to your ears. Your sound says something about YOU.
A Few Helpful Hints
Parents are an integral component of any great band’s success. The successful student (in any endeavor) is almost always backed up by an enlightened, informed and excited parent. Music is a three way partnership composed of teacher, student and parent. Each member of the partnership has a responsibility to the others to support, encourage and help.
The Hellgate Band Parents Inc. is an extremely important group for us. This group of band parents works with you and for you to make your music experience here at Hellgate the best. Our Bi-Annual trips would not be possible without their support and help.
It is essential that you keep your parents informed regarding what is happening in our organization. Be sure they’re getting the Hellgate Band Gram and take the time to read it.
Hellgate Band Leadership Council
Without the help of dedicated band members the success your band has achieved would have been impossible. Band members fulfill very important positions of responsibility and leadership in the organization.
Librarians : Make appropriate copies, prepare selected music for hand-out to ensemble. Check music handed in (erase, note missing parts), file in main library. Large projects for this year will include: filing all small ensemble music, establishing a check-out system for small ensemble/solo literature, etc…
Library Coordinator: Coordinate staff for large projects. Stamp and catalog new music into system. Organize personnel to take care of “extra-curricular” music needs: Pep Band & Marching Band.
All of these student leaders are volunteers who earn various points towards their grade and letter. If you’re interested in helping your band in this way, applications will be available the second week of school.
A Final Word
I absolutely love music and the positive connection I feel to the creative side of being a musician. Please know that as I attempt to bring all of us to a high level of musicality and learning, that I am only a small part of this organization. YOU and your dedication is what truly makes the music come alive and become meaningful for your audience, fellow band members and you. Everything I do will be done with the driving force of doing the music justice AND helping you grow in your knowledge of music and ability to be creative with sound. Each of us should hold as a goal to improve and deepen the connection we each have with music.
The band program at Hellgate exists primarily to nurture each student’s sensitivity to the expressive qualities inherent in themselves through the avenue of music. Our collective work together helps us practice those areas of our awareness that help us be better people. Listening, awareness of others, being open to aligning and adjusting to others are just a few of the skills we practice on a daily basis. It also provides an opportunity for you to develop interest in and respect for music as a form of lasting expression and enjoyment. I encourage you to have high expectations for yourself and your band and to do the personal work necessary to grow and contribute to our collective effort. I urge you to help those around you, be open to help from others and promote your fellow band members with encouragement and loving care. I am looking forward to getting to know you and work with you!
All for now - SLATER