FAQ

We get many repeat questions, which means many people need the same answers but at different times.  I hope this page will help clear up a few questions you may have.  If you still have a question, please visit our contacts page and send me an email.

WHICH CLASS SHOULD MY STUDENT SIGN UP FOR?

Students have the different options depending on their skill level.  However, the band director should be given an opportunity to select the best placement for each student based on experience, skill, and interests.  Here are the classes offered …

  • Percussion:  This class separates the percussionists from the wind players during the school day.  We then put everyone together after school for the marching band program.  This class allows percussionists to receive instruction specific to their instrument specialization.  In most schools, the percussion is mixed in the regular band classes and they are forgotten in the back of the room while the director works with wind players.  Here at Olympian, we avoid that issue by presenting this class.  During marching season, all percussion students are required to be a part of the Marching Band.  The percussion class accepts any level of player, from beginning to advanced.
  • Cadet Band:  This class is for all new students at Olympian High School and for any student wishing to learn an instrument.  This mixture of beginning and intermediate players allows for fast learning, cooperative learning, leadership training, and preparations for membership in the Wind Ensemble class.  All experienced players will play for the director during the first few days of school.  At the teachers discretion, students might be moved into the advanced group (wind ensemble) if their skill level warrants this change.
  • Advanced Band (Wind Ensemble):  This class is a fast paced course for those students with advanced level skills (usually at least 3 years of playing experience).  Sometimes, students with conflicting classes during cadet band’s period will be accepted into the wind ensemble regardless of skill level.  However, it is extremely difficult for any beginning student.  2nd semester enrollment is determined by auditions that take place in the end of semester 1.  Instrumentation balancing divides all the wind players into wind ensemble or concert band based on those auditions.
  • Marching Band:  During the fall our 7th period class is called Marching Band.  All students in the above band classes are required to be a part of the marching band during the fall.  This is for one semester only.
  • PE Rhythm and Movement:  10th graders who have passed the 9th grade fitness exam have the option of taking PE Rhythm and Movement for their 7th period class.  During the fall we emphasize marching and some state standards for 10th grade PE, and during the spring we emphasize the remaining PE standards for grade 10.
  • Small Ensembles:  This class is offered 2nd semester 7th period.  Students can receive 1 semester credit for this class.  Example of ensembles includes Flute choir, Clarinet choir, Brass choir, Sax Quartet, Jazz combos, percussion ensemble, etc.
  • Color Guard:  This class is a one year commitment that is only offered 7th period and covers marching season in the fall and Winter Guard season in the spring.

I HEAR BAND SPENDS A LOT OF TIME PRACTICING AFTER SCHOOL. WHAT KIND OF SCHEDULE SHOULD I EXPECT?

I am a firm believer in Quality of practice over Quantity.  Therefore, our practice schedule is unique compared to other schools.

  • Marching Band Practice:  Tuesday and Thursday 2:45-5:00pm
  • Sectionals:  Once or Twice a month on Wednesdays after school, 2:45-4:30
  • Special practices:  One Saturday in August, one in September, and one EACH week of our fall break.  These practices are usually 7 hours (2:00pm – 9:00pm).  These include a dinner break of 1 hour, with food served by our boosters.

This means students can NOT afford to miss a practice.  However, I’ve left open Mondays and Fridays, as well as most Wednesdays for students to take care of other issues, such as tutoring, doctors appointments, etc.  It’s a fair trade for making sure everyone is there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Any family conflicts with rehearsal dates can be cleared with a written notice 2 weeks before the practice.  The student will need to “catch up” on what they miss with extra time at school.

WITH SO MANY REQUIREMENTS, HOW CAN MY CHILD FIT MUSIC CLASS IN THEIR SCHEDULE?

First and foremost, you can follow the Visual and Performing Arts Matrix that I have created and placed on the documents page.  It shows exactly what is required for graduation and allows you to plan for all 4 years starting now.

The following can help make sure you can fit it in the schedule (but the matrix shows you can do it anyway) …

  • Take a look at the information on our website about college classes while attending high school. this can provide credit for both high school AND college at the same time.
  • Foreign Language and Science can NOT be taken at the same time in 9th grade.  My suggestion is to wait until 10th grade for the foreighn language (if 7th period PE option is still available).  This reduces your homework load in 9th grade, and keeps you on track for the UC system requirements/recommendations.
  • Pass the 9th grade PE fitness test allowing students to take a 7th period PE class in 10th grade (May not be available in future years, but the Matrix shows that it isn’t necessary).
  • Call or email me!  I can explain it much better in person, and will even accompany you in a conversation with your counselor if requested.
  • Bottom line … Don’t let anyone tell you that you CAN’T fit it in your schedule.  It can always be done.  It is your child’s education, and if you want this to be a part of their life you can make that happen.  You always have the control in your child’s educational path.

CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS AND BAND?

The honest truth is … it depends on the sport.  MOST sports are during the winter or spring seasons and these are not a conflict (unless your child is in the 7th period PE class 2nd semester, or the Ensembles class).  Here’s some more information …

  • Football:  This is the one sport that it is MOST difficult to do both.  Our marching season practices take place 2:45-5:00 every Tuesday and Thursday, same time as football practices (and freshman football games).  The coaching staff and I have tried making it work in the past, but it is usually too difficult to make this happen.
  • Girls Volleyball and Girls Tennis also happen during the marching season, but if there is compromise to allow for time for both programs it might be possible.  This takes a lot of responsibility on the child’s part as well as good communication between student and coach (and band director).
  • Cross Country:  In the past, there is been great cooperation between the coaches of this sport and the band schedule.  There must be communication with the coach in the beginning to see if this is still possible.
  • ALL OTHER SPORTS:  This could be soccer, swimming, lacrosse, track and field, softball, baseball, basketball, wrestling, boys volleyball, boys tennis, golf, and more.  These sports are during the Winter Season or Spring Season, and because our marching season is over in mid-November there is not a conflict.

MY STUDENT’S ACADEMIC GRADES ARE IMPORTANT. HOW CAN I HELP MAKE SURE BAND WILL NOT AFFECT HIS OR HER GRADES?

The goal for all the students in my program is to learn during high school how to manage their time and responsibilities.  Although there will be some rough times, the parents, student, and teacher can do many things to help make sure they stay on top of everything.

  • As soon as school starts, parents and students MUST sign up for Jupiter Grades.  This is the absolute best way to keep on top of your student’s progress in their classes.  Almost all teachers at Olympian will be using this program.  I will use it for all my communications.
  • Students need to take advantage of Olympian’s special programs that are offered to help students succeed.  These include Academic Tutorial Plan (ATP, offered during school on block days), after school tutoring (not on band rehearsal times), and the Mastery Model, which allows for students to “have a 2nd chance” if they’ve been poorly prepared for a test.  Student and Parent MUST communicate with the teacher to make sure they take care of their requirements to allow for such “2nd chances”.
  • Students should make a habit of daily study time at home.  The sooner this habit is developed the more likely they are for success.  It takes 14 days in a row to make it a habit, so persevere until then.
  • NEVER place the blame on the band.  I do EVERYTHING I can to make sure there is time for the students to get their work done, including practicing only 2 days a week (guard 3 days).  And we’re done in time for students to catch the late bus home if needed.  Students need to realize when their grades are slipping because they just didn’t get work turned in, or they just didn’t take the time to study properly for their exams.
  • Use a Calendar/Organizer.  Some students can do this on their phone.  Others can get the school planner or puchase an inexpensive one.  It is VERY important for a performing arts student to always be aware of their schedule of practices and performances. In addition, they can write down homework assignment due dates when they are given in classes.
  • Stay in communication with the teachers, and feel free to speak with the band director (by phone, email, or in person).  Sometimes, the director can have an influence on the student to help them improve.

I’VE PLAYED AN INSTRUMENT, BUT NOT IN A BAND (guitar, piano, violin, etc.).  CAN I STILL PLAY IN THE BAND?

We take ANY student interested in learning to play an instrument.  However, we’re limited to the instruments that are typcially found in a marching band or concert band.  This includes Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, Saxohpones, Bassoons, French Horns, Trumpets, Trombones, Baritones (Euphoniums), Tubas, and Percussion. 

  • Guitarists have found success at learning brass and woodwind instruments
  • Keyboardists have found success on almost any instrument, but are quick to learn mallet instruments in percussion.  They also tend to be successful on so many others as well.
  • Violinists can either continue on violin by joining the orchestra, or can find interests in treble clef instruments, such as Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, and French Horn.
  • Bass Guitarists have found success on bass clef instruments such as Tuba and Trombone.

Speak with the director and he’ll give you help in making a determination