Des Moines Public Schools Band Guidelines

The band program has always had a rich tradition.  The success of the band program centers on pride, commitment to task, and the willingness to work hard to achieve our common goals.  We expect all of our band members to establish both short and long range goals for improvement on their instruments.  We expect mature and responsible attitudes and actions – and lots of hard work from everyone.  It is our hope that you will develop a love of music and band so that you will want to continue your membership into your high school band program in the ninth grade and continue through graduation.  This handbook is designed to help you understand the concepts and guidelines of our organization.

There are four criteria for success in band in the Des Moines Public Schools.  They are listed below in order of importance.

1. Attendance

There is no more important criterion for success than ATTENDANCE.  Any absence, for whatever reason, results in the student missing the learning that takes place.  Therefore, there is no “excused” or “unexcused” absence, as such.  Absences are to be communicated in advance as a function of courtesy to fellow band members and teachers.  In the classroom environment, band is unlike other classes because the learning that takes place cannot be made up with extra work and the instruction given in class cannot be duplicated.  Except in the case of an emergency, all absences are to be communicated via phone or email PRIOR to the absence.  When considering opportunities for leadership, advancement, and any other privilege or honor at your school, the first consideration is ATTENDANCE.

2. Attitude

Students who are positive and enthusiastic learn more and get more out of the experience.  Remember, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.  If you look for heat, sweat, thirst, fatigue, frustration, and even pain, you’ll find them!  Those things are found at the surface of any experience that combines the athleticism and artistry found in band.  If you look for teamwork, commitment, passion, excellence, thrills, excitement, class, character and community, you’ll find those, too.  It’s all in what you look for.  However, the best ATTITUDE is of no good to the group without good ATTENDANCE.

3. Intellectual Development

This is not how “smart” someone is.  Intellectual development comes from being an intentional learner.  An intentional learner makes changes when corrected and looks for more than just what is offered.  An intentional learner pays close attention to how their teachers get their students to achieve so they can apply those same strategies to their own individual practice.  Simply put, intellectual development comes from thinking about what you do.  Of course, intellectual development is only possible with good ATTENDANCE and a positive ATTITUDE.

4. Physical Development

Physical ability is simply how well someone marches or plays their instrument.  We start by figuring out how good we are and then by imagining how good we want to be.  Getting better is what makes it fun, but you can’t get better without effort.  You have to invest the time and physical energy to achieve on a high level.  PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT results from good ATTENDANCE, a positive ATTITUDE, and INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT.  In short, if you show up with a great attitude and think about what you do, you’ll develop your skills.  This is at the heart of a FUN and REWARDING experience.

These four criteria are not specific to band.  However, band is where we learn to use them.  When applied to any endeavor, they create SUCCESS in math, science, english, sports, jobs, and anything else that involves the development of skills.

When you practice BAND, you practice LIFE.