Margarita Middle School

    Band Handbook


     Dear Parents and Students,

    Welcome to the Margarita Band Program! This handbook has been written to familiarize you with the many aspects of the program, and to ensure an enjoyable and educationally rewarding musical experience. I realize the amount of reading material you as parent are presented at the beginning of the school year but PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ ALL OF THE HANDBOOK. After you have read this handbook, sign the page that your student gave you on the first day of school and return it to me. Band students will be held accountable for the information contained in this handbook so this handbook will be on website for easy access.

     Band is an ELECTIVE and SELECTIVE course. It involves learning math concepts and applying them (rhythm); learning and applying a new system of notation; developing fine motor skills; developing the ability to listen critically; and becoming sensitive to the sounds we make, to the conductor, to the sounds others make, and to the musical demands of the music. It requires cooperation with a conductor and a large team of musicians working together toward a common goal. It also requires practice at home, occasional after school rehearsals and performances, and investment in and proper maintenance of an instrument.

     Band involves responsibility to the group. The sound each student makes changes the sound of the entire group. Most students possess the musical and mental skills necessary to be good student musicians. Success is most likely if the student has the desire to learn to play; the parents and students understand what is required for success; and the parents share responsibility for the music education of their child. It is hoped that this handbook will be a guide that will lead you and your child to a successful experience in band. I sincerely wish your band experience will be a rewarding and exciting one.

     Musically yours,

    Janice Petersen



     Our mission is to endure great musical successes while still providing the tools the students need to succeed as mature adults. The Margarita Middle School Band Program will provide an atmosphere that gives students the opportunity to obtain a strong fundamental background in music theory and technique on their instrument, so that they may be a successful musician both individually and in an ensemble setting. It is through the dedication and hard work to get there that students will learn important life skills such as discipline, organizational and time management skills, loyalty, and leadership.


     Beginning Band

    Beginning Band is a one-year class and is open to students in grades 6-8 who have had little or no experience playing a band instrument. Previous musical training and music reading is of course helpful, but not necessary. All students will choose one of the following instruments at the beginning of the first semester: flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone, tuba, or percussion malllets. Beginning Band is a full year class with 3-4 concerts. Private lessons are helpful and encouraged. Two hours of at-home practice (per week) is expected. The practice log can be found on my website. Playing tests will also be given throughout the school year.

     Advanced Band

    Advanced Band is a full year class and is open to students who have completed at least one year of beginning band and/or have demonstrated the ability to perform more challenging music. This ensemble will be performing 6-7 times this school year. As with beginning band, private lessons are helpful and encouraged since the musical literature we will be playing will be quite challenging. A minimum of two and a half hours of at-home practice (per week) is expected. Students will be given monthly scale tests and playing tests throughout the school year.


     Band is co-curricular, meaning a portion of the student's grade comes from after-school activities which includes concerts. Performances are essential to the success of the band program. Even one student being absent can turn a potentially fine performance into a mediocre event. Performances are major exam grades. Absences from performances must be approved by the director in advance. Notification of an absence to the director and administrator does not necessarily mean it is excused. Any absence that is not brought to the director's attention for approval prior to a performance or rehearsal will be considered unexcused. Excuses must be presented at least 3 weeks before a concert. ATTENDANCE AT AFTER SCHOOL PERFORMANCES IS A REQUIREMENT OF BAND MEMBERSHIP. Every effort will be made to accommodate students involved in other activities. These will be handled on a case by case basis.

    All performances are mandatory, and there are very few – if any – excuses for missing a performance. Every student is a vital member of the team effort and absences not affect the person missing but also those around him, causing a drop in performance standards.


     All rehearsals and performances of any kind are mandatory! Most rehearsals will be during class time; any rehearsals, clinics, or performances not during class time will be planned months in advance. Because of this, there is no excuse to miss any of these events. If you need to miss performances, a makeup assignment will be provided.

    1. Be on time! This includes all classes, rehearsals, performances, and clinics. For class, students should be in their seat and ready to play their instrument when the bell rings.
    2. Be prepared. Students should make sure they have everything they need for class. This includes all instruments, reeds, mouthpieces, method books, music and pencils for every rehearsal.
    3. Be respectful to yourself, other students, teachers, and your school. Present yourself in a positive attitude for band. Be courteous and speak to students/teachers in a respectful manner. Take care of the music room and the school. This means leaving everything cleaner than when you arrived.
    4. NO food or drinks permitted in the music room at any time. Consuming food and drinks directly before playing can ruin your instrument and cost quite a bit of money to repair.
    5. Give your best effort! Everything does not come easy. Students will have to approach band with a positive attitude and be patient in the learning process. What matters is that students are trying their best. If so, they will progress and be successful.
    6. All school handbook policies will be followed and enforced in the band room. As a proud organization of Margarita Middle School, we abide by all of the rules set by the school handbook.


     Band students will be graded using an A, B, C, D, or F. Students will receive a grade based upon the following criteria:

    1. Rehearsal Grade 30%
    2. Scale Tests 20%
    3. Performances (Concerts) 20%
    4. Playing Tests 15% (Advanced Band) OR Practice Logs 15% (Beginning Band)
    5. Written tests and assignments 10%
    6. Notebook checks 5%


    School owned instruments will be assigned to students based on availability.

     School provided instruments are generally the larger and more expensive instruments: Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, French Horn, Baritone/Euphonium, Tuba and larger percussion instruments.

    If you have any issues getting an instrument, please let me know and I will see what I can do to help.


     Depending on the instrument that the students choose, students will need things such as reeds, valve oil, and percussion mallets throughout the year. Master Musician has a list of supplies that are needed.

    Percussion students will be provided with a list of recommended mallets and sticks to be purchased. Percussionists will also need a metronome (may use an app).


    3 Ring Binder – 1 inch

    Plastic Sleeves - minimum of 10.

    Locker lock

    Instrument Lockers

    Each student will be assigned an instrument locker to keep their band materials in during the school day. Please keep lockers locked and clean. No instrument should be left in the band hall overnight or on weekends/holidays. This is a security measure for the safety of the instrument as well as the home practice requirement. Students should not tamper with other students' locks.

    Music and Folder

    Please take care of your music and band folder. Put your name on your folder and all your music. All markings on your music should be done in pencil. NO PENS.

    You need to have a 3 ring binder specifically for Band. Beginning band students will need a minimum of 10 clear sheet covers. Advanced Band students will need a minimum of 20 clear sheet covers. Music folders will be checked and graded.


    The chairs are for sitting only. Please keep all legs on the floor. The music room chairs will be set up for the largest class. Please do not remove chairs from the rows. Music stands are for holding music only. The are expensive to replace and can be broken easily by leaning or doing homework on them. Please help keep these for a long time by taking care of them now.


     Although the director will work with all students on an individual basis, the value of private lessons cannot be overstated. Private lessons are NOT required to be a part of the band. However, to be a French horn or double-reed player, private lessons ARE a necessity and requirement. Band class is essentially ensemble practice, but with private study, students can progress individually at a faster rate. If you are interested in your child taking private lessons, see me for the “Approved private teacher list.”

     The following guidelines should be applied when seeking out a private teacher. The best private teachers:

     Specialize in ONE OR TWO instruments ONLY

    • Set high standards of performance for their students
    • Insist students learn their scales
    • Refuse to teach students that do not practice or come to lessons unprepared


    E-mail is the most convenient form of communication and THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF CONTACTING ME to ask questions, get information, or to voice concerns. E-mails can be answered at times that a phone call would not be prudent. I will also update the my website with information and performance dates.

    I utilize the Remind to contact students and parents.

    Beginning Band: click here

    Advanced Band: click here

    Jazz Band: click here


    The following dates have been carefully chosen as concert and performance dates. There will be more performances scheduled throughout the school year and I will give notice as soon as possible.

    Tuesday, November 12 - Night of the Champions @ TVHS (Advanced Band Only)

    Thursday, December 12, 2019 – Winter Concert (Beginning Band, Advanced Band, Jazz Band)

    Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - Cluster Concert @ TVHS (Advanced Band Only)

    Thursday, March 5, 2020 - TBA (Beginning Band, Jazz Band)

    March 18 OR 19 (TBA) - SCSBOA Festival (Advanced Band Only)

    April 11 (TBA) - Disneyland or California Adventure Trip (Advanced Band Only)

    Thursday, May 21, 2020 – Spring Concert (Beginning Band, Advanced Band, Jazz Band)


    A student's participation in a band field trip or performance is contingent upon that student meeting criteria established by the director. Students will be given reasonable chance to fulfill these requirements in the time preceding each event. Some criteria to be met may include:

    • Minimum 2.0 GPA requirements
    • Demonstration of acceptable behavior
    • Passed concert or class participation
    • Class assignments completed

     Students who choose not to abide by the “Code of Conduct” at a concert or other band event off campus may be asked not to participate, receive a discipline referral, and lose a portion of their grade for the given event.


     All concerts are mandatory! Students will have a call time for each concert. They need to be there ready to perform by call time. Students should also make sure they are prepared with all materials they need for the concert. Failure to arrive on time or to bring all of their materials will result in points deducted from their overall concert grade. During the concert, students must make sure they are respectful to others performing. No talking should be done while one stage. All ensembles will be expected to stay for the entire concert to show respect and support to all of the ensembles in the music program.


    Beginning Band Students: MMS Band Polo and Jeans

    Advanced Band are expected to wear a long sleeved, button up, black dress shirt, black dress pants (or skirt-for ladies), black socks and black dress shoes in order to perform. All dresses need to be below the knee in length (we will be playing on a raised stage). Please see my website for examples of acceptable and unacceptable options.

    School dress code will be enforced.


     Parent involvement is a very important aspect which will aid the students in their success in band. Constant support is necessary. I have uploaded two documents on my website with tips on how to help make sure your students are successful in band.

    We have recently started a band booster club which meets once a month Please consider supporting your student by joining this club. Here are the dates for the booster meetings this school year:


    Required Materials: 


    1in. 3 ring binder 

    Plastic Sleeves (beg-10, adv-15, jazz-15) 

    Locker Lock

    MMS Band Polo


    Optional Materials:

    Music Stand

    Tuner/Metronome (Korg TM60)



    Handkerchief Swab, Polishing Cloth, Pad Cleaning Paper, Cleaning Rod



    Cork Grease, Polishing Cloth, Cleaning Swab, Handkerchief Swab, Thumbrest Cushion, Mouthpiece Brush



    Cleaning Swab, Cork Grease, Neck Cleaner, Mouthpiece Brush, Mouthpiece Cushion



    Valve Oil, Polishing Cloth, Trumpet Snake, Mouthpiece Brush, Tuning Slide Grease, Valve Brush



    Slide Cream, Polishing Cloth, Trombone Snake, Mouthpiece Brush, Tuning Slide Grease



    Valve Oil, Polishing Cloth, Brass Snake, Tuning Slide Grease, Valve Brush



    2.5 Octave Bell Kit, Practice Pad, Drumsticks- Vic Firth SD1 or equivalent, Mallets- Malletech BB34 or equivalent