6th Band Handbook

This handbook is published to eliminate the possibility of student and parent misunderstanding by providing a source for band policy.  It is hoped that all band members and parents take the time to read and understand their responsibilities for the smooth operation of the Fairbanks Band program.  Please keep this handbook for future reference.

Statement of Purpose
The Fairbanks Band program has several important purposes and goals:
  1. 1.To provide a quality education in the musical arts;
  2. 2.To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;
  3. 3.To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere  conducive to music and learning;
  4. 4.To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens by fostering responsibility, personal excellence, and teamwork;
  5. 5.To encourage artistic expression and to provide a forum for students to perform music to parents, students, teachers, and members of the community;
  6. 6.To provide a pleasant and helpful social experience for all involved in the Fairbanks band program and;
  7. 7.To instill in students an awareness of music’s important role in the enrichment of the human spirit.

A Few Words About Responsibility
The band program in the Fairbanks Local Schools forms a vital and highly visible part of the total school and community life.  This group represents a large, highly-trained, hard-working, and well-disciplined segment of the student body.  The responsibility associated with membership in this organization is broken down as follows:

Responsibility to Ourselves
We owe ourselves the responsibility of always demanding the best that each of us has inside of us.  As individuals and members of the group, we must set personal and group goals and perceive each as a challenge to be achieved to the best of our potential.

Responsibility to Each Other
We owe each other the patience and understanding to respect the rights of each other and form relationships of mutual respect and caring.  Anti-social actions will simply hurt each individual and subvert the goals of the group.  The phrase about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link is especially applicable within the context of a band program, and we owe to each other the sense of responsibility to do our individual best so as not to limit the band to shallow individual limitations.

Responsibility to Our School and Community
We owe our classmates, parents, and fellow citizens a fair return on the investment of time, money, and interest which they give to us.  We must at all times strive for the best possible performances and the highest standards of conduct at all times, as our action reflect not just on ourselves individually, but on the Fairbanks Schools, and the community of Union County.

Students in the Fairbanks Band must meet the following criteria:

Must have successfully completed the 5th grade music program.
Must be officially registered for band as an academic class
Must have permission of a parent or guardian to participate.
Have the approval and consent of the director.
Exceptions may be approved at the director’s discretion.


*  All school rules are in effect at all times, whether the group is on campus or any other location (i.e. concerts, contests, social events.).  
*  The members of the Fairbanks Band are representatives of Fairbanks High School and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.
*  Any unbecoming behavior can result in dismissal from the group, temporarily or permanently.

As a member of the Fairbanks Sixth Grade Band, you have an obligation not only to yourself, but to the organization to attend all rehearsals and performances.  These are all mandatory events.  There are very few excused absences and these must be cleared in advance with the director. Each member must follow this procedure to receive an excused absence from an event:

To be excused from a rehearsal:
The excuse must meet the school’s guidelines for excused absences.  Reasons such as work, babysitting, no ride, or events not approved in advance by the director are unexcused absences.
If a student is absent to school, the excused absence for school covers that day's rehearsal.  No additional note needs to be given to Mr. Keller.  The also means, however, that an unexcused absence to school also counts as an unexcused rehearsal.
To be excused from a performance:
Attendance at performances is of the utmost importance, as they affect the quality of the group.  The only excused reasons for missing a performance are personal illness, death or marriage in the immediate family, military duty, and school sponsored events cleared in advance with the director.  Reasons such as work, dates, vacations, college visits, or any other reason will be considered unexcused and will negatively affect the student’s attendance grade.
The director must be contacted by a parent about the absence in question at least two weeks (14 days) in advance.  The earlier I am contacted, the better the chances of the absence being excused
In order to be excused, a parent must contact Mr. Keller via phone or in person as to the nature of the absence.  If it is an approved excused absence, then the parent must then submit a note to the director to document the absence.
If a student is absent to school, the excused absence for school covers that day's rehearsal.  No additional note needs to be given to Mr. Keller.  The also means, however, that an unexcused absence to school also counts as an unexcused performance.
Mr. Keller reserves the right to enforce or ignore this policy for extenuating circumstances.

Again, The following reasons are the only ones considered excusable for a performance:
*  Sickness or emergency.
*  Death or marriage in the immediate family
*  Other school-sponsored events (to be cleared in advance)

A Word on Vacations:
Vacations, family or otherwise, should be planned around rehearsal and performance times when given the schedule in advance.  Vacations will NOT be an excused absence from a performance during the school year.

“It is the obligation of the Fairbanks music department to provide notice as far ahead of time as possible, and in return, it is the obligation of each student to arrange for his or her schedule to meet these commitments.”

Grading Policy
The breakdown of a student’s grade is as follows:
    30 points - Attendance at performances.
30 points - Attendance at rehearsals
    30 points - Conduct, effort, and attitude.
    10 points - Tests and written assignments
Total: 100 points

Attendance Grade
The rehearsal attendance caption contains 30 points.  Each unexcused rehearsal will incur a 5-point deduction from the 30 points.

The performance attendance caption contains 30 points.  As performances are the most important responsibility of a band member, any unexcused performance will result in theforfeiture of all 30 of these points.

Conduct Grade
Good behavior, substantial effort, and a positive attitude are par for the course in this group.  It is assumed that there will be no problems in this caption.  However, if incidents do occur of unacceptable behavior, or lack of effort is shown, the following scale will be applied:

First Offense - a verbal warning will be given.
Second Offense - the offense will be documented and five points will be deducted from the 30-point caption.  Detention may be assigned.
Third Offense - the offense will be documented, a copy will be sent home to the parents and five points will be deducted from the 30-point caption.  Detention will be assigned.
Fourth Offense - the offense will be documented, and a conference with the student’s parents will be scheduled.  Each successive offense will deduct five more points from the 30-point caption.  Again, detentions of greater lengths will also be assigned with each offense.
Serious Offenses or Disruptions may call for expulsion from the group. 
Tests & Playing Assignments
Each student will complete at least one playing test per term.  The material will consist of music the group is currently playing and students will be notified at least one week in advance of any such tests.  Students will be graded on a 10-point scale.  If more than one test is given, the final score will be the average of all playing scores.
Grade Summary
The total number of points at the end of a term will be tallied and the following scale will determine a letter grade:

Grades will not be rounded up.  No exceptions.
Extra credit may be granted at the judgement of the director

*Please show respect for your fellow band members by remaining quiet.  To effectively make music together, we need clear communication.  Talking and horseplay detract from our level of concentration and performance.
*Rehearsal will begin promptly three minutes after the bell has rung during the school day.  Students are expected to be in their seat, ready to play when rehearsal is to start.  Unexcused tardiness will not be tolerated.
*Students are only to touch and play their own instrument.  Only percussionists may handle percussion equipment.
*Food, Beverages, or gum is permitted in the band room during rehearsals.
*Cell phones are to be off and away during the school day and during rehearsals.  Phones will be confiscated if seen or heard.
*Listen intently to all comments the director has to make during rehearsal.  Each comment may apply to you, also.  Be attentive.
*Learn your part in each composition thoroughly.  Home practice will be a requirement during you band career.
*ADAPT TO CHANGE!  Changes often need to be made to improve our performance.  Don’t get frustrated.  Change is a necessary part of your life in this group.
*Students are not to read in class.  Novels, notes and the like will be confiscated on sight.  Please concentrate on the task at hand.
*Never say “I can’t...”
*How you practice a performance is generally how it will be given on the final day.

Home Practice
Individual practice is essential to developing and maintaining playing skills.  It is asked that each member practice a sufficient amount to be able perform the required music at an acceptable level.  The director reserves the right to use practice records to monitor home practice if sufficient effort is not being presented.

Student Responsibilities
Students are expected to come prepared to all rehearsals and performances.  Music, instruments, and a pencil are a must for every class meeting.  Each student should come prepared for performances with all parts of their uniform, instrument, and music.  In chronic cases of forgotten instruments or music, situations will be handled as behavior problems and will be treated as such in the grading policy.

It is the responsibility of all students to keep the band room, stage area, and storage areas tidy and clean.  Instruments should be put on shelves when not in use during the day.  Practice rooms are to be left cleaner than you found them.  Stack chairs and stands neatly after each rehearsal.  Students are not permitted in the band office unless the director is present or has given permission for entry.  Students are allowed to use the band office phone if permission is granted, however, long distance calls must be made collect or with a credit card.
Music and Folders
Music and folders are property of the Fairbanks Band.  They are to be taken well care of.  Music is to be turned in after the performance of the piece in the same condition in which it was issued.  Students will be held financially responsible for lost or damaged parts.

School Instruments
Instruments that are property of the Fairbanks Band and are issued to you, and are to be treated even better than your own.  Repairs and replacements are costly and are not affordable in this day and age.  Students must sign a check-out form and students will be held financially responsible for any damage done to the instrument while is in their possession.

It is frequently necessary for students to participate in fund-raising activities for the music program for reason such as funding band camp, buying supplies or new instruments, to finance travel, or purchasing new music.  It is expected that all students participate in these activities to insure the future of the group.  If, for some reason, a student is not to participate, the director must discuss this reason with a parent or guardian.

Reeds, valve oil, etc.
Colonial Music is our school’s music dealer.  Order forms are available on the information rack and need to be filled out and payment attached.  Make checks payable to Colonial Music.  Give this form and payment to Mr. Keller and your supplies will be delivered within the week.  You may also buy supplies from Colonial Music or J&L Music in in Marysville, as well as any other reputable music dealer.  Mr. Keller does not sell these supplies, so do not ask him to sell you reeds or valve oil.  Please utilize the order forms and be prepared for class.

The director reserves the right to amend this handbook at any time.  Questions or comments about this manual should be addressed directly to Mr. Ben Keller, care of Fairbanks High School, 11158 St. Rt. 38, Milford Center, OH 43045, (937) 349-3721 ext. 306 or to bkeller@fairbanks.k12.oh.us.  Mr. Keller and his family respectfully ask that you not call our home unless it is an EMERGENCY.

Web Page/Blog – fairbanksband.org AND fhsbando.blogspot.com
You can always find up-to-date information, pictures, and calendar of events on the Fairbanks Band web page.  Visit us at fairbanksband.org and bookmark us!

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