Handbook

All band members and parents need to read and understand their responsibilities for the smooth operation of the Fairbanks Band program.  Please click the links and read the material.   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at bkeller@fairbankspanthers.org .  My band policies have been consistent for nearly two decades and I believe they are very productive and fair to all members.  Students are responsible for these rules and policies for the entire school year.  It is not necessary to return a handbook form this year.



Introduction
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.

The Seven Purposes of the Fairbanks Band Program:
The Fairbanks Band program has several important purposes and goals:

1. To provide a quality education in the musical arts;

2. To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;

3. To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere  conducive to music and learning;

4. To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens through responsibility, teamwork, and a quest for personal excellence;

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. To provide a pleasant and helpful social experience for all involved in the Fairbanks band program and;

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.

Membership
Students in the Fairbanks Band:

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.

Conduct

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 Local Schools and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.
Any unbecoming behavior can result in dismissal from the group, temporarily or permanently.

Attendance
As a member of the Fairbanks Concert 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:
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.  If a student is unexcused on a day when there is an after school rehearsal, that counts as TWO unexcused rehearsals!
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.
To be excused from an after school rehearsal, a note from a parent must be submitted at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance.  Even if students are excused from an after school rehearsal, they may still be required to make up the rehearsal time with the director on an individual basis.
Acceptable excuses for missing an after school rehearsal include personal illness, or a death in the family.  Other reasons, such as no ride, have to babysit, have a dentist/doctor appointment, detention, forgot, etc. are not excused, and will negatively affect a student’s grade.

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.


Again, The following reasons are the only ones considered excusable for a performance:
*  Sickness or emergency.
*  Funeral or wedding in the immediate family
*  Military Duty
*  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.  All students are to attend band camp unless excused by the director.

“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 (may be playing or written tests.)
Total: 100 points

* - Grading policy is subject to change. New usage of PowerSchool may force Mr. Keller to adapt this to a new paradigm.

Tolles/PSEO/Home School Students
Band members who are students at Tolles, PSEO, or home schooling, and are not taking band for credit or a grade, are responsible for all policies listed in this handbook, including attendance, conduct, and tests.  Failure to comply will result in possible "benching" for performances, penalty service projects, suspension from the group and possible expulsion from the group.  

Tests
Each student in 6th/JH/FMB/FHSCB 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.

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

Performance
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 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 20-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 20-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 20-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. 

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:
98A+
93A
90A-
87B+
83B
80B-
77C+
73C
70C-
67D+
63D
60D-
Below60F
Grades will not be rounded up.  No exceptions.
Extra credit may be granted at the judgement of the director

Rehearsal
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 gum is permitted in the band room during rehearsals.
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.
Cell phones are to be AWAY and all alerts (including vibration) set to OFF from the time rehearsal begins until the the time rehearsal ends.  Phones will be confiscated and held until the end of the day and disciplinary steps will be taken.  
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.

Sectional Rehearsals
During high school concert band season, after-school sectional rehearsals may be scheduled if necessary.  The reason for these rehearsals is to work more in-depth on the music in a setting where there is a more favorable student-to-teacher ratio.  They are an important part of putting the music together and attendance will be required.  If there is a conflict, such as basketball practice or the like, the absence may be excused if it is made up at an alternate time.  If a person misses a one hour sectional, they can make it up at a time more convenient with them.  This time will be one half hour of individual practice with the director.  If the sectional rehearsal is not made up in this manner, the absence will be considered unexcused and will be reflected as such in the student’s grade.

Tests, Chair Order, and Challenges
At the beginning of concert band season, 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:

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

2.  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.

3.  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.

FHSCB - Graduation
Even though graduation is after the end of the school year, it is a graded and required performance.  Your grade will be affected if you are absent and unexcused from this most important performance.  Please mark your calendars: Graduation is on Saturday, May 27 at 10 A.M.

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.

Basketball Band
All members of the Fairbanks Concert Band and JH Concert 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.  Details will be made available in November about participation in this popular and energetic group. 

Marching Band
Marching Band is a wonderful learning and social experience for all musicians.  The group performs at all football games, several contests, festivals, and parades from August through November.  ALL concert band members are 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 begins on the last Sunday of July each summer.  If you are interested, contact Mr. Keller as soon as possible.

Student Responsibilities

Preparation
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.

Facilities
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.

Concert Attire
The purpose of a concert dress code is to allow everyone to focus on the music and not on what you or other band members are wearing. Please follow these rules when dressing for a public performance:
HS: Ladies are to dress in concert black.  Skirts are to be knee length or longer, but you may also wear pants.  Keep jewelry neutral and small.  Please, no white accents, red stripes, or colors at all.  Keep it simple.  Gentlemen are to wear all black as well. Black dress slacks, shoes, socks, and a black long-sleeved collared dress shirt.
MS: Students are to look nice for concerts. No jeans. No tennis shoes. Gentlemen are to wear a tie. Ladies are asked show some modesty in relation to skirt length and necklines. There are no color specifications for middle school groups.

Transportation
It is the responsibility of each member to arrange his or her transportation to and from the school before and after events.  Itineraries are published no later than Tuesday of each week and are historically accurate within 15 minutes.  Do not wait to arrive at the school to arrange your ride home.  Band Staff will stay 30 minutes after the bus returns, and are not responsible for members who did not arrange for their own transportation.

Fundraising
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.
Mr. Keller will no longer sell  reeds and valve oil.  Students must purchase directly from Music Arts, Buckeye Brass and Winds, or another reputable music dealer. There are many places to order supplies online as well including amazon.com.  


Band Student Leadership Opportunities
Section Leaders
Section leaders are selected by the director to assist in rehearsing music in sectionals, organization, and operation of the concert band program.  Selection is based not only on musicianship and test scores, but leadership and scholarship as well. 

Band Aides
Band aides are veteran members of the band that come to the band room during study hall or lunch to assist the director.  Jobs may include photocopying, stapling, sorting music, folding programs, or keeping the band room organized.  Like office aides, band aides are expected to keep up on their grades, or be sent back to study hall. 

Bus Conduct
When you leave Fairbanks 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.
Band members are requested not to ask permission to drive to away events.
Band members may not be excused from a bus ride unless a parent makes direct arrangements with the Director.
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 at the discretion of the director.

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. 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 dirty 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 $30 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 plastic bag.  If you break a plume, you are responsible for replacing it.
*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.
*Our uniforms are machine washable.  Students and parents are NOT to wash the coat on their own at any time, however, members are encouraged to wash their own pants.  Please wash in cold water and hang dry.  Do NOT tumble dry.
*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 will be inspected by the band staff.  If your uniform is not satisfactory, you will be served with a conduct offense.
*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.


Marching Band Student Leadership Opportunities

Field Commander
Each spring, auditions will be held for marching band field commander.  Persons auditioning for this position must be at least  a  one year veteran of both the marching and concert program.  The field commander is responsible for all field conducting, fundamental rehearsal, leading parades, and assisting the director.  This person may also serve as an assistant conductor for Basketball Band and Concert Band if approved by the director.

Squad Leaders
Squad leaders are selected by the director to assist in marching fundamentals, rehearsing music in sectionals, organization, and operation of both the marching and concert programs.  Selection is based not only on musicianship, but leadership and scholarship as well.

Managers
Managers are individuals that assist the director in managerial tasks during the marching season.  Their jobs include coordinating trips, taking attendance, filing and distributing music, and assisting with uniforms. These members receive full class credit.

Finally,
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 at bkeller@fairbankspanthers.org






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