-The Gorsebrook Junior High band program will encourage an appreciation and love of music through active participation on a band instrument.

-Students will develop their musical abilities and talents on their instrument while at the same time learning teamwork, commitment and a sense of responsibility toward the entire band.

-Students will be involved in a unique aesthetic experience as they strive for performance excellence.  








Each student is provided with a folio to keep all music, skill sheets, music books, etc. in as neatly as possible.  Students should also add a few sheets of loose-leaf paper for taking notes, as well as carry a pencil with them.  Periodic surprise folio inspections may occur throughout the year. 








All band members are required to play in their grade level concert band.  


The grade 7 band rehearses every Monday 8:00-8:45am,    

The grade 8 band rehearses every Wednesday 8:00-8:45 and 

The grade 9 band rehearses every Tuesday 8:00-8:45am.


Attendance at all rehearsals is required in order to maintain a consistent skill level in the students.










Attendance at all concert band (Gr. 7, 8, and 9) rehearsals and performances is expected.  If students must miss a rehearsal or performance a note from home must be given to the director well in advance. Every time even one musician is absent from the band the sound and “feel” of the ensemble changes for everyone else who remains.  This can be quite distracting and unnerving especially in concert situations where the students are used to depending on one another.  Remember, students have made a yearlong commitment not only to the director, but to each other as well.   Students must do their best to honor their commitment and will be held accountable. 










Being part of a musical ensemble means that you have a responsibility to yourself and to the other musicians.  You are an important part of our “team”.  A major responsibility of each band students is to learn their music. Practicing should not be considered a bad word.  It is vital to a musician’s success and once you are in a regular routine it becomes fun and easy.  After all, practicing simply means playing your instrument, and if you don’t like playing your instrument what are you doing in the band?

Here’s how practicing can be painless.  With 20 minutes (minimum) 5 days a week you will really hear an improvement in your sound, and how well you can play your music.




Practice at the same time everyday.  Maybe right before supper or just after school.


Make it part of your homework routine.  Your band homework is just as important as math or science.  Treat it as such.


Practice in the same place everyday.  Pick a quiet spot without distraction. (No TV, computer, radio, games or pets)  Don’t waste your time for 45 minutes or more, just concentrate for 20 minutes and then you can do something else.


Do a warm up first.  Woodwinds play long tones nice and slow.  Brass buzz long tones.  Percussion start with a slow easy roll.  2-3 minutes.


Work on part of a skill for no more than 10 minutes.  Just look at part of it.  Looking at the entire skill may make it seem impossible so break it up into smaller parts.  Remember you have all term to pass the skill.


Work on a difficult part of a band piece for 10 minutes.  Don’t just play the entire piece from top to bottom.  Go slow and pick a few bars to perfect.  Make it as good as you can.  Don’t settle for mediocrity.  


Finish up with some fun music you really like and do a few long tones to cool down your lips and embouchure.  Music stores sell all kinds of movie music and popular music arranged for all instruments.  See what you can find or ask Mr. Burke for extra music.


Play for someone else in your house if possible.  Show them what you worked on and how you improved.


Don’t forget that 75 minutes is the minimum to practice each week.  Feel free to do more, of course.






PARENTS—here’s how you can help your child.


Show an interest in their practicing by helping to arrange a place in the house for practice.  Musicians need a quiet spot without distraction.  They should also have an inexpensive music stand.


The instrumental music course at Gorsebrook Junior High is a credit course.  Your child’s band practice is just as important as their math or science homework.  Help them to treat it as important.  It is impossible for your child to have “no homework”.  They can always do lots of practicing.




Encourage your child to break down the music or skill into small sections.  Looking at whole pages can seem too daunting a task and some students may get discouraged.


Have your child play for you as often as possible to show you what they have just practiced.


Music stores carry all kinds of popular music books for each instrument.  These may help encourage your child to practice.


Although encouragement is very important, the job of practicing is your child’s responsibility.  If you find your child does not practice enough at home, a school lunchtime practice schedule can easily be arranged with the director.  Please feel free to contact me.






Practicing an instrument is like weight lifting.  If you try to lift weights for 6 hours straight on one day you won’t end up with big muscles, you’ll end up in the hospital.  Consistent practice 15-20 minutes a day is what will help you improve on your instrument.  You cannot do it all at the last minute.











-To attend all rehearsals and concerts, arriving early to warm-up and staying to help pack   

 up chairs and stands.

-To give the director a written excuse if a rehearsal or concert is to be missed.

-To come to class properly prepared, with all required supplies.

-To care for and maintain your instrument.

-To develop a daily practice routine.





-Listen to the director during each rehearsal/class/sectional and listen to each other.

-Use your pencil frequently to mark in counting, fingerings and to circle dynamics.

-Sit on the edge of your chair with your back straight and both feet flat on the floor.                                          


–Percussionists stand up tall and proud during a performance and not lean on the wall.

-Display a mature attitude at all concerts and when representing your school.

-Treat everyone and everything with respect.

-Do not chew gum, eat or drink in the band room.

-Be supportive of each other and enjoy making music together. 








Where band is a performance course based on of progressive skill development, formative assessment is done every time the student picks up their instrument. I’m constantly evaluating their abilities and providing constructive feedback. Though formative assessment doesn’t always render a numerical grade it is integral to the students’ development. After a couple of weeks of study the students will be assessed summatively through a playing test. There is also a theory and historical component to the course. Through the study of music history and basic music theory I feel that the students can develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the music they are playing.


The curriculum outcomes of Instrumental Band 7-9 are divided into 3 main strands:

  1. Creating, Making and Presenting

  2. Understanding and Connecting Contexts of Time, Place and Community

  3. Perceiving and Responding


Students are graded on a rubric featuring using scale from 1-4, depending on their knowledge and application of the required skill.  Level 1 – 1+ represents limited knowledge and understanding of the related skills.  Level 2 – 2+ represents developing knowledge of the related skills.  Level 3 – 3+ represents competent knowledge and application of the related skills.  Level 4 represents in-depth knowledge of the related skills.








The skills program is designed to allow students to progress at their own rate throughout the term.  The program consists of 4-5 musical excerpts taken from their method book.   Each excerpt is designed to challenge the student in a different musical area, such as phrasing, articulation and scales.


Each skill is worth 5% of the term mark.  There is no set date for the testing of skills but each student is given one “in-class” opportunity to pass a skill.  Aside from that students may test a skill Friday at lunch or wait until their turn comes around again.  The only time limitation given is that all skills must be completed before the deadline, which is near the end of term.  Skills will not be tested for credit after the end of term.  It is highly recommended that students not wait until the end of term to test their skills.


Skills are tested on a pass/fail basis.  Students may test a skill as many times as needed until it is passed.  If the skill is not up to par the director gives suggestions for improvement and the student tries again later.  This method of evaluation allows the students to learn from their mistakes and develop as musicians without losing marks.


Skills are progressive in nature and include elements of music that must be mastered to enable students to perform their band music.  Therefore, students must complete any unfinished skills from previous terms before testing the current term’s skills or risk losing marks on the current term.  Overdue skills will not be worth marks once the term deadline has passed, but are essential in ensuring the continued development of the student. 








All students are required wear black shirts, pants and shoes to all performances.  Exercise pants, faded or ripped jeans, mini skirts and tights are not permitted.  Remember that on each performance you are representing Gorsebrook Junior High and must act and dress in a professional manner.









-Assemble and disassemble your instrument with the utmost care. 

-Swab the inside after each use with the proper cloth.  Clarinets and saxes clean your mouthpiece once a month with hot water and a mouthpiece brush.

-Clean the outside with a soft cloth.  Never use chemicals such as “brasso” or “silvo”.

-Keep all corks greased. Don’t let them dry out.

-Clean dust and lint from the mechanisms.

-Flute players never put anything on the head joint.  Keep it clean and dent free.

-If a problem arises show your instrument to the director.  Do not attempt the repairs yourself.



-Assemble and disassemble the instrument with the utmost care.

-Keep the valves clean and oiled as well as the slides well greased.

-Clean the outside with a soft cloth. Do not use “brasso”.

-Clean the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush regularly.

-The instrument should be flushed with a mild dish soap in warm water, and then thoroughly rinsed with clean water.  Never use hot water as it will remove the lacquer finish.  This should be done twice a year.  Be careful- most dents occur while cleaning.



-Put your name or initials on all of your sticks and mallets.

-Keep your section clean and organized.  

-Replace covers on timpani and bells when finished with them.

-Report any damaged or missing equipment to the director immediately.









Several times throughout the year specific band notices will be sent home with important information regarding dates and times of upcoming events.  Parents please ask your child for these from time to time and students please make sure you give them to your parents.  Communication through email is also regularly done.  All notices sent home in paper form are also sent home electronically.  Please inform the director of any change in email address. 










MUSIC IS A SCIENCE: It is exact, specific and must be 100% correct- 99% is no good. It is unalterable. It demands exact acoustics. MUSIC IS MATHEMATICAL: It is rhythmically based on the subdivision of time in space into fractions which must be done instantaneously and not worked out on paper. 


MUSIC IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French, and the notation of notes certainly is not English, but a highlydeveloped kind of shorthand. 


MUSIC IS HISTORY: Since music has always reflected the environment and times of its creation-often even the country of racial feeling.


MUSIC IS PHYSICAL EDUCATION: It requires fantastic co-ordination of fingers, wrists, arms, balance muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the back, stomach, chest and diaphragm muscles which must respond instantly to the sounds the ear hears and the mind interprets. 


MUSIC is all of these things, but most of all music is art: It allows a human to take all of these dry, technically boring (but fantastically difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion!!! That.s the one thing science cannot duplicate: Humanism, feeling or call it what you will. 



-not because we expect you to major in music 

-not because we expect you to play music all your life 

-not so you can relax 

-not so you can have fun 

-not so that you can dress up for an audience 


-BUT so you will be human

-so you will recognize beauty

-so you will be sensitive

-so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world 

-so that you will have something to cling to 

-so that you will have more love, more compassion, more good 

-so that you will have more love, more life





-R.D. Mooney, Carmel Schools, New York 





5966 South Street, Halifax, NS

Tel: (902) 421-6758

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