• Beginning Band-

    This class is the entry level program for all students interested in band. Students in this class are typically 6th or 7th graders, but exceptions are sometimes made for 8th graders in certain circumstances. Students learn to read music notation through counting rhythms, naming notes, and other basic music theory concepts both on paper, and online. These classes are divided by instrument type to maximize student learning; for example, trumpet and french horn are together in the high brass class, clarinet and saxophone are in the woodwind class. 

    Students begin instrumental study during the first grading period of the year, and typically perform in a minimum of 4 concerts every year. Percussion students will learn primarily on snare drum, and xylophone/marimba, but will also develop skills on multiple accessory instruments such as crash cymbals, tambourine, triangle, and will have an opportunity to begin learning to play drumset. 

    Students should expect to do some practice outside of class, and have playing tests during class, which sometimes can occur via online submission. By the end of the year, students should expect to be able to play a variety of songs, several musical scales, and be able to read simple songs on sight without practice in advance.


    Symphonic Band-

    Students in this ensemble must have completed Beginning Band before this course. Students are primarily in 7th grade, but some 8th graders will qualify for this band as well. 

    This intermediate group spends much of their time reinforcing good fundamentals of playing, and learning new skills and songs, such as increased range, flexibility (being able to move between notes smoothly), and articulations. These students typically have 5-8 performances each year, including a middle school football game, 8th grade night with the high school band, and UIL Concert and Sight Reading, our formal evaluation each year. 

    Students should expect to continue to practice, and will have access to more challenging and complex music than they did in 6th grade. By the end of the year, students will know more scales than they did the previous year, be able to read more complex songs with larger ranges and increasingly complicated rhythms, and approach readiness for high school band. 


    Wind Ensemble

    Students in this ensemble must have completed Beginning Band, and in some cases, Symphonic Band as well before this course. Students are primarily in 8th grade, but some 7th graders may qualify for this band due to superior practice habits, a high level of performance, and an above average work ethic. These students are expected to be the model citizens not only of the band program, but for the entire campus as well. 

    This advanced band performs more often than the other groups, and is typically called upon to perform at school functions, as well as the performance obligations the rest of the band has. These students have the opportunity to learn challenging music for All-Region Band, where they compete against students learning the same music from other nearby schools. A student who performs well enough gets to perform with the All-Region Band, which typically occurs in early December or January (see GNMS Band Calendar for details). After school practice is required in both fall and spring semesters for this group.

    Wind Ensemble students should expect to practice more than the average student, and perform increasingly complex music as a result. This band is expected to make excellent or superior ratings in their UIL Performance consistently. By the end of the year, students will be able to demonstrate skills adequate to place them highly in the high school band without struggle, including mastery of scales, advanced reading of rhythms, good flexibility on their instruments, and excellent tone production. Percussion students should expect to be able to show competence on a variety of instruments, including drumline for parades, pep rallies, and other performance opportunities.