JHCB 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 Music Department has several important purposes and goals:
To provide a quality education in the musical arts;
To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;
To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere conducive to music and learning;
To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens by fostering responsibility, personal excellence, and teamwork;
To encourage artistic expression and to provide a forum for students to perform music to parents, students, teachers, and members of the community;
To provide a pleasant and helpful social experience for all involved in the Fairbanks band program and;
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.

*  All school rules are in effect at all times, whether the group is on campus or any other location.   
*  The members of the Fairbanks Jr. High Band are representatives of Fairbanks Jr. 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 Band Program, 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:

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.
(FMB ONLY)The student must submit a note from a parent to the director no later than 48 hours in advance of the planned absence.  This note must state the reason for the absence.  Late notes will not be accepted…the absence will be unexcused.
(FMB ONLY)Marching band members who are also participating in fall sports will need to follow the schedule agreed upon by Mr. Keller and the coach of the sport.  This will be agreed upon in advance and it is the student’s responsibility to be in the correct place at the correct time.  No note is required for these absences, as they are pre-arranged.
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.

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 ALSO 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:
In the case of family vacation, these should be planned around rehearsal times when given the schedule in advance.  Vacations will NOT be an excused absence from a performance during the regular 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 - Conduct, effort, and attitude.
30 points - Attendance at performances.
30 points - Attendance at rehearsals
10 points - Tests (may be playing or written tests.)
Test Grades
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.

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(5) 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 ten(10) 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.  Fifteen(15) points will be deducted 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. 

Attendance Grade
Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is essential to reach group goals.  Not only will negative attendance affect the quality of the group, but the individual student’s grade as well.  The attendancecaption contains fifty points.  If a student incurs any unexcused absences, the following scale applies:

The rehearsal attendance caption contains 30 points.  Each FMB member is allowed one unexcused absence with no penalty, as long as a note is submitted at least 48 hours in advance.  All other students do not get this luxury.  Each unexcused rehearsal following 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 the forfeiture of all 30 points.
Unexcused absences at vital rehearsals and at performances may also include being "benched" for future performances, if the director sees it necessary.

Marching Band Members
Junior High members participating in marching band are responsible for marching band attendance, conduct, and playing tests and this will be reflected in their grade.  These members enjoy the benefits of being in marching band, but are also accountable for their efforts.
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:

  1. 98A+
  2. 94A
  3. 92A-
  4. 89B+
  5. 86B
  6. 83B-
  7. 80C+
  8. 77C
  9. 74C-
  10. 71D+
  11. 68D
  12. 65D-
  13. Below 65F

Grades will not be rounded up.  No exceptions.


*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.
*No food, beverages, or gum are permitted in the band room at any time.
*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.
*Do not read or pass notes in class.  Notes 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.

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 in proper attire with 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 when asked to do so.  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 collect or made with a calling 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 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, or purchasing new music.  It is expected that all students participate in these activities to insure the future of the group.  If parents would rather give a donation, please contact Mr. Keller to find out what the student’s fair share is.

Reed, 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.

Private Lessons
Students are welcome and encouraged to take private instruction from qualified instructors.  A list of private teachers is available from the director upon request.  Lessons are usually given weekly and can cost between ten and thirty dollars per session, but are well worth the investment, parents, if your child wishes to become a better musician. 

Tests, Chair Order, and Challenges
At the beginning of the first semester, a playing test will be held to determine playing ability.  Seating will be assigned, not necessarily by ability.  A balanced band is not always seated strongest to weakest.  Students will be informed of their scores, but seating order is at the discretion of the director.  At specified times, any student may challenge any student playing the same instrument for his or her seating position.  The process is as follows:

One week before the challenge date, the challenger must declare a challenge.  The challenger must write who they are challenging on the challenge sheet and notify the person they are challenging.

On that same day, the instructor will inform both persons what music the challenge will cover.  It may cover one piece or all pieces that the group is currently playing.

On the challenge date, both will play for the director, the higher chair playing first.  The challenging player must play significantly better than the first player to change seating.  If this is the case, the players will switch seats.  This will remain in effect until another challenge negates the change.  All decisions of the director are final.

Please keep in mind that we all strive for a common goal.  Challenges are a means of friendly competition and a way to improve each player.  Do not take the results personally.

Home Practice
Individual practice is essential to developing playing skills.  It is asked that each member practice at least one half hour per day at home.  The director reserves the right to use practice records to monitor home practice if sufficient effort is not being presented.

Basketball Band
All members of the Junior High Band are eligible to participate in the Fairbanks Basketball Band.  This is an extracurricular group that rehearses before and performs at most home boys’ basketball games and some home girls’ games.  Details will be made available in November about participation in this popular and energetic group.

Marching Band
Eighth grade members are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Fairbanks Marching Band each fall.  Students should decide if they are going to participate by April of the preceding year, so members have opportunities to raise money for marching band camp, which is held the week after the Union County fair each year.  If you are interested, contact Mr. Keller as soon as possible.

Bus Conduct
When you leave Fairbanks Junior High School with the band, you are a representative of the school and should conduct yourselves as such.  It is asked that you follow these policies when traveling on the bus.
*  No smoking, drugs, or alcohol is permitted, period.
*  Profanity will not be tolerated.
*  Maintain silence at all railroad crossings.
*  Use moderation in singing and talking.  Screaming and laughing loudly bothers some people.
*  Keep hands and arms inside the bus at all times.
*  Stay in your seats while the bus is in motion.
*  Reserve front seats for the directors.
*  Stay on the bus until you are asked to unload.
*  Do not ask to change buses.
*  Be on time for departure.  You could get left behind.
*  Do not yell out bus windows.
*  Leave the bus as you found it:  clean and with the windows up.
*  In the absence of the director, chaperones are to be treated with an equal amount of respect and what they say, goes!
*  All other school rules are in effect on the bus, also.

For Marching Band Members Only:
Marching Band Rules
*Students should come prepared for each rehearsal with instrument, music, and  drill charts.
*When in uniform, hair is to be off the collar, tucked into the hat.  No visible jewelry is to be worn (watches are permitted), and no extensive makeup is permitted.
*Also, whenever a member is in uniform, they are to be in complete uniform, that is pants and coat. (gloves and hat may be removed)  In extreme temperatures, exceptions may be made, but only by the director.
*Shoes must be kept polished and in good condition.  Gloves are to be white and in good condition.  Frequent washings will keep them like new.
*Plumes are not to be exposed to rain.  If it begins to rain, place it in the bag promptly.
*Gauntlets are property of the school and should be returned with the uniform.  If they are lost or damaged, the student is financially responsible for replacing them.
*No sunglasses are to be worn while in uniform unless instructed by the director.
*If any member is not in proper uniform, he or she may be prevented from performing and will  be written up with a conduct offense.  
*Misconduct of any kind in marching band may be disciplined with laps, pushups or sit-ups at the discretion of the director.
Marching Band Uniforms
Uniforms are a large investment for any band and, with proper care, will last a very long time.  Uniforms are to be treated with the utmost respect and care.  Coats and trousers are to be hung on a hanger when not in use.  Students will be held financially responsible for any damage to or loss of any uniform part.  Current replacement costs are:  Coat-$150, Pants-$75, Hat-$50.  A $20 cleaning fee will be collected at the beginning of the school year to assist in keeping the uniforms in prime condition.  Marching shoes will be sold at the beginning of each season for approximately $25.  Gloves are also to be purchased to complete the uniform and will cost around $2.00.  Any member not in full uniform at time of performance may not be permitted to march.  Any student found mistreating or neglecting a uniform will be dealt with accordingly.  It will be treated as a conduct offense and points will be taken off the student’s grade.  A uniform contract is included at the end of this document and must be signed and returned before students will be permitted to wear their uniform.

Uniform Rules
*Always hang your uniform neatly.  Fold pants from the bottom, line up the creases, and slip into the hanger.  Put the zipper of the coat in the back.
*Never sit on an unprotected seat.  As a general rule, look before you sit.  If it’s not clean enough to eat off of, don’t sit on it.
*Always put your gauntlets in your uniform bag.  You are responsible for returning them at the end of the season.  Extra gauntlets are $10.00 a pair.
*Keep your gloves clean by washing them regularly.  A little bleach will keep them their whitest.  The first pair is free, each subsequent pair is $2.00.  There are no IOU’s.  Pay for them when you get them.
*Plumes are fragile and expensive ($25).  Handle them only by the metal cap when putting them in or taking them out.  If it rains, put plumes in the box.  If you break a plume, you are responsible for replacing it.
*Leather shoes should be polished regularly.  If they are dingy, you will not be allowed to march.  If they are vinyl, a little windex will get them clean.  Do not put your shoes inside your uniform bag, they will only get it dirty.
*A $25 cleaning fee will be assessed at the beginning of the school year.  It will cover three cleanings and any maintenance.  If you get your uniform dirty in between these cleanings, it is your responsibility to notify your section leader of the damage.  The Flag Corps uniforms will be laundered together.  If you have iron in your water, do not wash at home.  
*Always wear your band shirt under your uniform, so that we may take off coats when it is hot.  If someone does not have their band shirt on, the coats stay on!
*After each performance, your uniform must be inspected by your section leader before turning it in to the uniform rack.  Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
*Uniform abuse is to be treated as a conduct offense and my affect your grade.  Treat the uniform with the respect it deserves.  Do not leave it lying on the ground.  Do not put extra ketchup on your hot dog.  Do not wipe your nose on the sleeve.  (Just Kidding)  If you are careful, your uniform will take good care of you.

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.  Mr. Keller and his family respectfully request that you not call us at home unless it is an EMERGENCY.  Voice mail is checked twice daily and once at night.

School Phone - (937) 349-3721 ext. 1306

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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