Student Handbook

Table of Contents

I.  Philosophy and Objectives 

II.  Qualifications for Membership 

III.  Organizations

IV.  Staff and Duties

V.   Colorguard

VI.  Checkout Procedures

VII.      Grading System

VIII.     Chair Tryouts and Challenges

IX.       Awards and Letters

X.        Rules and Regulations

XI.       Care of Equipment

XII.      Fundraising

XIV    Director/Student Leaders


Philosophy and Objectives

          Music is a universal language, a pure and unique method of communication.  Through music a person can achieve an understanding of beauty, expression, and the appreciation of the finer things in life through the actual participation in them. 

          In addition to the cultural values, there are many nonmusical values taught in band including personal, physiological and avocational reasons.

          Music is an important and continuing factor in fulfilling the philosophy and general education.

          There are many objectives of the instrumental program.  All of these objectives lead to a broadening of musical experiences.  Each student is expected to increase appreciation of all types of music, improve musical skills, and develop an understanding of music.  The group should offer recreational opportunities, respect, and pride through musical performances.  Providing high standard musical performances is to be expected in route to becoming a better citizen and making the community a better place to live.



          In order to become a member of the George Washington High School Band, each student should have some experience on his/her instrument.  Each student will audition to determine what group the student should enter.  Recommendation of the student’s director may be accepted instead of auditions.  Each student is expected to know a chromatic scale and a minimum of seven major scales by memory.


          Additional requirements will be added from year to year in order to retain membership status.




          Wind Ensemble - The top performing group involving advanced instrumental students.  This class is for the most advanced and interested students.  Students in grades ten through twelve receive advanced credit for their participation in the ensemble, and are required to complete extra projects, attend musical events, or perform solo literature.  Extra rehearsal, individual practice, and numerous performances are required of all members.  Membership is by audition only and balanced instrumentation is a factor in membership selection.  All Wind Ensemble members are required to participate in Marching Band unless they are involved in a fall sports activity sponsored by George Washington High School, or are physically unable to do so.


          Symphonic Band - A performing group involving some extra practices and performances.  Emphasis is on training the individual students for advanced performance techniques.  Individual practice and numerous performances are required.  Members are given the same opportunities as Wind Ensemble members including the opportunity to audition for district bands and honor ensembles, and marching band participation. 


          Band Auxiliary – All Color guard Members not enrolled in music classes at G.W. are expected to enroll in this class.  Emphasis is on learning and perfecting marching band routines and indoor guard work.  This is a ½ credit fine arts class.


          Pep Band – A smaller ensemble designed to support and provide music and entertainment for basketball games and pep rallies.  The pep band is comprised of any student who plays an instrument who wants to participate on a voluntary basis.  Five to six selected performances are required each year.


          Jazz Band - A small ensemble designed to learn and perform jazz and popular music.  Many public performances should be expected.  Emphasis is on jazz style and improvisation.  Membership is restricted to certain instruments needed for this type of music and selection is made by audition.  This is a non-credit activity.


          Marching Band - A non-credit performing group active primarily in the fall of the year.  Most practices are outside the school day.  The G.W. Marching Eagles participate in many contests, festivals, and parades in the fall and select events in the spring in addition to supporting many school functions.  Most awards are based on membership in this group.  All extra practices are required for membership in the group.



 Staff, Officers, and Duties


          Two very important groups in the band are the band staff and officers.  These groups are directly responsible for the welfare of the band including administration, policies, and activities.


          The band staff, officers, and their duties are:


Director - administers all functions of the band.


Assistant Directors - administers all functions of the band.


Drum Major(s) – is/are in charge of the Marching Band.



1.       Will attend every function of the marching band.

2.       Will set a positive example at all times and motivate others to work hard.

3.       Have full responsibility when the director is not present.

4.       Assist the director in teaching drills.

5.       Inspect section leaders.

6.       Act as field leaders of the marching band.

7.       Assist in monitoring discipline of the marching band.

8.       Assist with inspections before marching performances.

9.       Works with all section leaders in teaching music and marching fundamentals.

10.     Conducts the band at all performances of the marching band.

11.     The drum major must have been a playing member of the marching band and a concert band a minimum of one year and must remain enrolled in a concert band class upon selection.

12.     The drum major(s) will be selected by the director or his appointed                          representative at an audition held at a time and place designated by the director.


Band Captain/Lieutenants – Qualified band members in good standing who assist the director in all aspects and coordinates the student staff.



1.       Student representatives of the band at all functions including the Band Booster meetings.

2.       Upholds the highest traditions and spirit of the band.

3.       Coordinates all student leaders of the band.

4.       Reports to the director any problems or suggestions that may improve the band program.

5.       Promotes band activities (i.e. social, educational, etc.).

6.       Maintains discipline in the band room each day before and after rehearsals.

7.       Will hold periodic meetings to discuss the welfare of the band, plan activities, troubleshoot possible solutions to problems, and evaluate student morale, conduct, and performance.

8.       The officers, who are selected by the director, must be members in good standing of both the marching band and band class.


Color guard Captains - Are in charge of the colorguard including the duties of drum majors mentioned previously.


Section Leaders - Are selected based on leadership qualities and musicianship.  Duties include inspection of ranks for proper uniforms, music preparedness, cleanliness of instruments, proper marching techniques, communication with section members, and loading crew.  Leaders are expected to remain at rehearsal until all sectional duties are complete.  Section leaders must be members of both Marching Band and a Concert Band Class.


Bus Captain - Is responsible for taking attendance on all bus trips and maintaining order and respect among the students and adults during our bus trips.


Loading Crew - Is responsible for loading all equipment, hats, uniforms, instruments, and luggage on the busses properly.  The person in charge of the loading crew will designate members of the loading crew.


Uniform Captain - Is responsible for the distribution of all uniforms.  It is also important that the uniform captain maintains order and cleanliness in the storage area and report dirty uniforms to the director so that they can be cleaned.  The person appointed as uniform captain will oversee all other designated uniform captain assistants.


Band Secretary – The person designated as the band secretary will keep a detailed record of attendance of all Marching Band rehearsals and performances.  Absences, tardies, and early dismissals will be recorded along with infractions to the band rules and regulations for future documentation.


The band staff shall help set a good example at all times and is responsible for knowing and enforcing all rules and regulations of the band and seeing that there is complete silence whenever the director or any officer is speaking to the group.  Any officer not fulfilling his responsibility is subject to removal from the band staff.





1.       The Colorguard shall have no set number of members, and is open to any student who is affiliated with George Washington High School, or any school that feeds into George Washington High School.

2.       All practices, including extra rehearsals must be attended.

3.       All make up and dress shall not detract from the group while in uniform.

4.       The band director or appointed people will select the members of the group.

5.       Any negative conduct will result in suspension from the group.

4.                 An overall grade average of “C” should be maintained for membership.

5.                 Color guard members must enroll in the Band Auxiliary Class unless already enrolled in a music performance class at G.W.



Check Out Procedures



1.                 Obtain brand name, serial number, and Dan Number.

2.                 Inspect the instrument for damages or dents.

3.                 Fill out appropriate forms.

4.                 Pay maintenance if applicable.

5.                 Obtain receipt.

6.                 Students are responsible for any damage.



1.                 Be fitted by uniform captain(s).

2.                 Purchase black gloves, black shoes, and black socks.

3.                 If the uniform is dirty, let the uniform captain know so that he/she can take it to be cleaned immediately.

4.                 The band T-Shirt is a part of the uniform and must be worn underneath the jacket.

5.                 Proper undergarments must be worn underneath the band pants in order not to detract from the overall look of the uniform.



 Grading System (CLASS BANDS)

          Each student will be evaluated as an individual relating to the performance of the band.  It is understood that both subjective and objective evaluations must be included in any artistic endeavor.  Each six weeks grade will be determined from specific portions of this plan.  Individual student grades will be generally based on the following items:

1.       PARTICIPATION (40%)

A.   Attendance

1.     Regular Rehearsals

2.     Extra Rehearsals

3.     Tardiness

4.     Excused and/or unexcused absences will be differentiated

5.     Classroom etiquette

B.    Having required materials at all times

1.     Reeds, Mallets, sticks, etc.

2.     Music, Folder

3.     Instrument

C.   Individual Performance

1.     Classroom Performance

2.     Individual assignments, homework, home practice

2.       ASSIGNMENTS (50%)

A.   Written (reports, research)

B.    Listening

C.   Scales, etudes, etc.

D.   Playing Tests and quizzes

E.    Other

3.       GROUP PERFORMANCE (10%)

A.   Teacher evaluation of the group

B.    Professional evaluations

C.   Attendance (all performances are required – Concerts are co-curricular and you will receive a grade for your participation).


A.   Solos

B.    Ensembles

C.   Concert attendance

D.   Other


Every unexcused absence or tardy from rehearsal will result in points deducted from the participation grade.

          An unexcused absence from a performance will result in a failing grade for that portion of the six weeks grade.  In every case the director must be notified in advance or the absence will count as unexcused.  You must also make sure that you attend school the day of any performance or you will not be allowed to participate in the performance.




Chair Assignments * Tryouts * Challenges


Chair assignments will be based on tryouts.  These tryouts will be held approximately once each year and will include scales, prepared selections, and sight readings.

          Each player has the right to challenge players ahead of him/her.  Music used must be approved by the director.   Students must play the challenge no sooner than three days after the challenge has been issued.  Students may challenge only two chairs up at each challenge.  The proper forms should be obtained from the band director and filled out.  The band director has the option to determine the amount of times a student may challenge during each grading period.

          Changes in chair position cannot be made less than one week prior to any scheduled performance without specific approval of the director.

          The challenger must notify the person he is challenging in writing of the time, date, and the music to be played.  The person being challenged must then sign the written notice.  This notice is then dated, signed, and given to the band director.  Remember that challenges improve everyone.  Therefore, there are no losers.



 Awards and Letters


          The George Washington High School Band presents many awards each year to outstanding individuals in the band program.  The following is a list of the awards and the criteria for each:

          A certificate of participation is presented to all first year members who have completed an entire season without absences or financial obligations to the band.

          The band letter is presented to each marching member who completes two marching seasons and has participated in all performances and has no obligations to the band.  This is a reward for completing these years.  If a member is unable to go on additional band trips for any reason, the director will determine eligibility for a letter.

          Third year members of the marching band will receive a stripe upon completion of a complete three seasons of marching.  There must not have been any absences from performances or obligations to the band.  If a member misses any additional band trips, the director will determine eligibility for awards.

          Fourth/Fifth year senior members of the marching band will receive a senior plaque upon graduation and the completion of at least four seasons of marching.  If a senior misses any additional band trips or functions, the director will determine eligibility for awards.


Individual awards may include:


Outstanding freshman, sophomore, Junior, and senior awards are based upon playing ability and attitude.

Outstanding Musician Awards are presented to members who best demonstrate musical competence throughout the year in both marching and concert bands.

Outstanding Colorguard Members will be recognized as warranted by performance of the group.  Deserving students will be selected by the director.

Outstanding Leadership Awards will be presented to section leaders, percussionists, drum majors, and other students as selected by the director based on their contributions and fulfillment of all duties to the band program.

Semper Fidelis Award will be presented to the student who holds the highest level of pride and musicianship in the band and is currently a first chair player.

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award is presented to the outstanding member of the jazz band.  This is selected by the director.

The Director’s Award will be presented a deserving student selected by the director based upon leadership, attitude, and service to the band.

The John Phillip Sousa Award is presented to the student based upon attitude, group support, desire for improvement, sacrifice for the group, and is a member of both the marching band and a band class.

The Outstanding Band Member Award is the highest award presented to the member who demonstrates leadership, scholarship, musicianship, and attitude, and is a member of both marching band and a band class.


These awards are to be presented at the annual band awards banquet each spring.  If no one qualifies for an award it will not be presented.

Honor Bands include All District Band, College Honor Bands, and All State Band.  An audition for these groups is an individual effort.  Each student is responsible for preparation of audition materials, entry fees, and transportation.  The director and boosters will assist in most of these preparations.  All qualified students are encouraged to attend.



 General Band Rules and Regulations


          Because of the nature of the organization, band discipline must be strict.  Band students and parents must be willing to accept the ideals, principles, and rules of the group.

          A Superior band is built on discipline.  Discipline is order, with orderliness comes attainment of goals worthwhile.


1.       Band members are expected to adhere to the policies of the school and the bandUse of alcohol, tobacco, or any other drug is strictly prohibited!  Violations of this rule will result in immediate suspension from the band and full punishment from school officials.

2.       Band members will be responsible for instruments, uniforms, equipment, and music belonging to the band.

3.       All performances and rehearsals are MANDATORY for all members.  This includes afterschool practices, sectional rehearsals, etc.  Too many absences from practice, even excused may result in temporary removal from a performance.  If excused this will not count as a suspension or punishment.

4.       Tardiness is a disease.  Avoid the problem.  It hurts not only the individual but also the entire band family.  You will be disciplined for any infractions.  This includes all practices and performances.  To be on time is to be early!

5.       Horseplay will never be tolerated on the band field, in the band room, or in surrounding areas of the campus. 

6.       Chewing gum is NOT PERMITTED during practices or performances.

7.       Members must ride to and from all events with the band.  Only the band director can make exceptions in advance.  Written permission must be provided by the parents.  Students may be released to the parents at the end of a performance, but to no one else.

8.       Wind players and percussionists are required to provide ground cloths to lay instruments on during breaks from practice.

9.       Be prepared!  Each student is expected to learn all music and drill.  Practice until you get it. All music and drill sets must be learned by the end of camp!

10.     No food or drinks shall be allowed in the band room, or in the stands during football games.  This rule is designed to promote cleanliness of our facilities and protect the student while in uniform.   The band is granted third quarter off to get refreshments.  Please finish them before returning to the stands.

11.     A person’s third quarter privileges may be taken from them if they cannot perform to their expectations.  All students are to uphold the highest standards of the band and our school while in uniform.  Any infraction will result in punishments and possible suspension from the band program.

12.     PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION (PDA) is not permitted while in uniform or while participating in any school related activity or function.  No unreasonable PDA at any other time.  This includes bus trips and rehearsals.

13.     Take suggestions and criticism from fellow band members regardless of their number of years in band.  Everyone makes mistakes, even seniors and officers!  Suggestions and criticisms should be made in a respectable manner!

14.     The band uniform should be worn properly at all times as instructed by the section leader.  No jewelry, watches, fingernail polish, or excessive make-up is to be worn while in uniform (even earrings on ladies or gentlemen!). The band T-shirt and clean, solid calf -length BLACK socks (No Logos!!) are required and will be checked by the section leader prior to performances. Hair should be groomed neatly and pulled back so that it fits nicely underneath the band hat.

15.     The telephone in the band office is for business purposes only.  It will be available for students to call home after trips and special rehearsals.  Students should not ask to use the phone at other times.

16.     There should be no excessive talking during any rehearsal.  Each student should have a pencil at all indoor rehearsals.

17.     Each student should keep their “set” notebooks and pencils with them at ALL times during and after band camp while the band is on the field.

18.             It is MANDATORY to wear hats during all outside rehearsals.

19.     NO STUDENT should leave valuable items such as pocketbooks, instruments, and other personal belongings in the bandroom area unattended.  George Washington High School Band will not be responsible for your negligence.

20. All band members are expected to treat section leaders, officers, and one another with respect.  If there is a problem, notify an officer or the director.

21. Tennis shoes MUST BE worn at all practices to ensure proper marching technique.

22.  There will be NO HAZING allowed at any time.

23. Keep your language CLEAN! You never know who might be listening!

24. You are a CLASS ACT!  Do not do anything that would have to be explained.  Always conduct yourselves as ladies and gentlemen.



Remember: School rules are in effect at all times! Young adults do not roughhouse or damage property.  As GWHS band members you reflect not only the values you learn at GW, but those of your community as well.


1. Adult chaperones will be on each bus.

2. Put all trash in trash bags.  Designated individuals will see that all busses are cleaned when we get home.

3. Adults should be allowed to board and exit the busses first at all stops.  The order of boarding for students will be as follows: loading crew, seniors, juniors sophomores, freshmen.  For time purposes, the order of exiting the busses will be from front to back.

4. There must be silence while the bus captain checks roll on each trip.

5. Tape and CD players should only be played with earphones or permission of all those around.

6. The bus driver has the right to set rules as needed.

7. Each trip will have an itinerary and special instructions.  These will be given to students prior to each trip and announced by the bus captain on each trip.

8. When the lights go out there must be silence on each bus.  Please respect other’s rights to sleep or rest quietly.

9. For nighttime bus rides there will be no co-ed sharing of seats!

10. Keep a minimum noise level on the bus.  No yelling, singing, sitting on arms of the seats, or walking up and down the aisles while the bus is in motion.

11. All members must practice good habits of personal hygiene while participating in band activities.

          Because band members are constantly on display, each must always be aware of the importance of good behavior.  The student should remember that he/she represents his/her band, school, and community whenever he/she performs or appears in public.  Any misconduct casts a direct reflection on our school and community and may well undo the good work of hundreds of loyal students.  Any hint of misconduct or activities that are not acceptable or defined in this book will result in possible expulsion from our program.




          Infractions in the above listed rules can result in the following punishments (in any order) by officers or the director:


1.       CONFERENCE WITH THE DIRECTOR.  As a first means of discipline, a student may be asked to have a conference with the director.

2.       LOSS OF THIRD QUARTER PRIVILEGES.  As a form of punishment a member may not be allowed to leave the stands during the third quarter of football games.  A bathroom break may be taken accompanied by a chaperone.  This punishment can only be assigned by the director as a last result.

3.       SUNSET SQUAD.  A form of punishment given by the director, drum majors, officers, or section leaders requiring members to stay 15 minutes after the rehearsal for extensive marching and other physical activities with their section leader.

4.       OTHER PUNISHMENTS.  Cleaning the band room after rehearsals and trips, running laps after rehearsals (maximum of 2 at one time), and push-ups.

5.       SUSPENSION FROM A PERFORMANCE.  When a member is suspended from a performance he/she will not be allowed to perform or travel with the band.  This will be considered an unexcused absence and will result in possible loss of band letter or awards.

          Failure to adhere to given punishments will result in a conference with the band director and the director shall make further decisions.  Discipline and respect are mandatory and attitudes will not be tolerated.



 Care of Equipment


          The purchase of a musical instrument represents the investment of a large amount of money, whether it is owned personally or by the school.  It is good common sense to take good care of it so that it will remain in good working order and last as long as it should.

Keep it dry and clean.

Avoid sudden temperature changes.

Know special cleaning instructions for each instrument.


Care of the Uniform

1.       Always hang up the uniform neatly after each performance.

2.       Cover hats and plumes in the rain.

3.       Use proper uniform bags, rain gear, and storage facilities at all times.

4.       Never wear coats, jeans, or outer garments under the uniform.

5.       Do not cut any material from the uniform.  Alter by hemming only!

6.       A uniform inspection will be held before each performance.  All equipment will be subject to inspection at any time.

7.       The designated band T-shirt is the only shirt worn under the uniform.

8.       Always wear clean, calf length, solid black socks!

9.       Band shoes must be clean at all times.

10.     Report all spots and stains on the uniform to the uniform captains so that they can be cleaned immediately.





          Fundraising is a major part of our organization.  All members are expected to participate in these activities.  Those students that do not must solicit donations to support their part of the activity or pay a fundraising fee of $10.00.


1.       Attend all Fundraising activities such as carwashes, bake sales, special events, etc.

 2.      Call in orders to the fundraising captain on the specified date.  Calls should be placed before 8:00pm.

3.       Pick up all materials from the designated place on time.  This is important because any unclaimed items will be the responsibility of the student who sold the items..

4.       Turn in all collected money ON TIME.

5.       An individual cannot participate in the next Fundraising project until his/her outstanding money is turned in.  There will be no exceptions.



Director/Student Leaders



DIRECTOR OF BANDS                          Reginald Purvis