Frequently Asked Questions
What band class should I be in?
The Concert Band is made up of high school students and focuses on teaching young musicians the discipline of their instrument. Most incoming 9th grade wind players should be registered for Concert Band. This class is sometimes listed as "intermediate band" on West Hall High School course registration forms.
The Symphonic Band is the most advanced instrumental performance ensemble at West Hall. This group is made up of the more advanced musicians at WHHS. Membership is determined by an audition.
The Jazz Band is an additional elective course that teaches students the history of jazz music and prepares them for jazz performance. To be a member of Spartan Jazz, you must be enrolled in the Jazz Band Class. For band members, Jazz Band should be taken in addition to Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, or Symphonic Band.
The Percussion Ensemble is the class for all percussion students (both marching and concert only). This class is listed as "Intermediate Instrumental Ensemble" on West Hall High School course registration forms. This class focuses on percussion ensemble repertoire, rudimental drumming, as well as concert band repertoire. In 2018, the Percussion Ensemble performed their first concert of strictly percussion ensemble literature.
The Mastery Band is an additional elective class for any serious band student or for those who plan to pursue music at a higher level after high school. This class focuses on advanced musical literature, preparation for the Georgia All-State Band Auditions, preparation for college auditions, scholarship auditions, and summer music opportunities. Students study in depth music theory and have the opportunity to take private lessons during this class period. For band members, Mastery Band should be taken in addition to Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, or Symphonic Band.
Each ensemble is demanding in different ways. All students in the Band Program are encouraged to be in the Band of Silver during the fall unless participating in another fall school activity. Every student needs to be involved and engaged in at least one activity to make the most out of their high school experience. Please CONTACT the band director if you have any questions about the band program.
What if I am not sure if I want to do band in high school?
Remember as a kid when you wouldn’t eat the food you parents made for you? You parents always said, “Try it before you decide you don’t like it.” High School band is the same way. You should sign up for band even if you are unsure. If at some point you decide that music is not for you, drop the class. It is much easier to drop something after trying it, than to join late when you decide you miss it!
Do I need to audition to be in the band?
No. There is no audition to join the band, though previous musical experience is a plus. There are auditions to join the color guard, drumline and the leadership team within the band. These auditions usually take place in the spring of the previous school year.
How is band different in high school?
While the actual act of playing your instrument is similar, the social network and safety net that high school music provides is very different from middle school. From day one, your child will be musically and personally mentored by successful upperclassmen who have a vested interest in their success. They will have dozens of new and like-minded friends before school even begins and have experiences (Friday night football games and trips) that are unlike anything they have experienced in middle school.
What is the Marching Band of Silver?
This is an co-curricular activity (like a club or a sport). The Band of Silver has a week long summer band camp and regular after school practices 2-3 days a week. The band performs at all football games on Friday nights during football season, 2 competitions each fall during the month of October, and the Memorial Day Parade in May. Student musicians that are in the marching band, must be enrolled in a band class. Marching band is a lot of hard work, but also incredibly rewarding and incredibly fun!
Is marching band a class?
No it is not a class. However, the Marching Band is an co-curricular activity that occurs after school and students receive grades for their participation and performances. Members of the Concert and Symphonic Band classes, along with the members of the colorguard make up the membership of the Band of Silver Marching Band. Musicians in the marching band must be registered for a band class.
What is Band Camp?
Band Camp is a week-long event that takes place before school starts in late-July or early-August each year. This is the time when the marching band begins to learn their marching drill and music. Band Camp takes place on campus at West Hall High School from 8:00am until 8:00pm, Monday through Friday. Band Camp is an opportunity for band students to form friendships that last throughout the year. An incoming band student will have advantages over other incoming students at West Hall because of the friendships they have made during band camp. Band Camp is mandatory for all students wishing to participate in the West Hall Band program.
What if I don't own an instrument?
The band and band boosters provide some instruments to rent. These include percussion equipment, tubas, sousaphones, tenor saxophones, baritone saxophones, euphoniums, marching baritones, french horns, marching horns, concert clarinets, bassoons, oboes, & piccolos. There is a rental fee to cover maintenance and repairs.
When is marching band practice?
The Band of Silver rehearses for several weeks prior to the beginning of school including band camp. Once school begins, the marching band rehearsal schedule is typically Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 4:00 until 6:30 during football season. Students should arrange after school appointments and academic conferences for Wednesdays if at all possible. Please communicate unavoidable conflicts with the band director well ahead of time. Failure to attend rehearsals may result in missing performances, and suspensions/dismissal from band. Please check the band calendar regularly for the latest rehearsal schedule.
Will I be able to keep up with homework and other academic responsibilities if I'm in the band?
ABSOLUTELY! The students in the band program are some of the most academically disciplined at West Hall. In fact, the band has one of the highest aggregate grade point averages of any club, team, or organization on campus.There is a wealth of research documenting the correlation between participation in school music programs- particularly instrumental music- and higher test scores and academic achievement. Band students find that they are learning to manage their time more efficiently and are wasting less time. Many band students are on the honor roll, members of Beta Club and/or the National Honor Society and receive academic awards throughout the year. A large percentage of the students in West Hall's thriving AP and IB programs are made up of band and/or auxiliary students. Each year, the top ten of the senior class is populated with band students who are thriving both musically and academically.
How much out of school time is required?
The many ensembles have different requirements for participation. Some ensembles (like the concert band) require very little (less than standard homework) while other ensembles (like marching band) require more substantial commitment. Generally, the greater the level of commitment, the greater the reward and memories. Regardless of the ensemble, a year-long calendar will be provided well in advance to help you plan for these events.
What are the Band Boosters?
The WHHS Band of Silver Booster Club, INC., is made up of band parents, alumni and other members of the West Hall community. West Hall’s Band Booster organization is dedicated to supporting the students, the directors, and the band program in creating, producing, and performing the best possible marching and concert programs. The boosters organize fundraisers and volunteer to help make all band activities and events successful. The boosters typically hold organization meetings twice a semester. Every band parent is automatically considered a part of the booster program. The booster program and parent volunteers are VITAL to the success of the WH Band Program.
What are the costs for band?
The costs associated with music depend on which ensembles your child participates in and what events they participate in. The band fees are divided into three main categories; Concert Only (students who are just in a band class), Marching Band (students who are in marching band) and Colorguard (students who are members of the colorguard). The band boosters and staff work together to provide fundraising opportunities and financial help for each and every child and ensure that no one is excluded due to financial issues.
Can band members also participate in other extracurricular activities?
Yes! Band students can participate in any sports team or club at West Hall! If a student is participating in the Band of Silver (Marching Band), they will not be able to participate in Varsity Football, Softball, Volleyball or Football Cheerleading. Students who want to participate in a fall sport can participate in band as a concert-only student. This means they are a regular band student during the school day and have no after school band practices in the fall. Spring sports and other after school academic and vocational clubs rarely conflict with band obligations. In fact, most band students at West Hall are also involved in other sports, clubs, or organizations on campus.
Can I do music and sports?
YES (see above question). We currently have football players, swim team members, volleyball players, softball players, and JV + Varsity Cheerleaders in the Band. They are all very successful and motivated students.
Have more questions? Need more answers?
Email the Director of Bands at West Hall High School, Mrs. Wilson-Fields at Katy.firstname.lastname@example.org