Details for Tuesday’s Solo and Ensemble concert for 7th and 8th grade

Greetings all! Please read this info carefully.

*Times: Tuesday, October 24 is the Solo and Ensemble Concert for 7th and 8th graders and I wanted to share info with you.

-7th grade Brass begins at 6:00pm

-7th grade Woodwinds and Percussion begins at 6:45pm
-8th grade begins at 7:30pm

(Note: These are the times when the concert begins, not when the students arrives. I would try to arrive 20-30 minutes before concert start time so that students may warm up, tune, and review their music.)

I received several emails over the weekend asking when the concert begins for each grade. Please note that these times were published the first week of school. This info has been available via the band calendar handed out at Curriculum Night, via downloadable files on the band website main page (www.discovery, via the band calendar on the band website in text and monthly calendar format and clicking on the date for details ( For future reference and time efficiency, please note these sources for other band calendar events this year. All this info is also available from your Band Handbook located on the home page of the Discovery Band website.
*Concert Attire: For this one concert only, the dress code/concert attire for students can be either the dress code from last year or the new dress code for this year with polo shirts and black attire from the waist down. The new dress code will go into full effect for our December 19 concert.
If you choose to use last year’s attire, here is the refresher:
Last year’s concert attire is business casual to formal clothing (this also applies to shoes). Examples of this type of clothing might be worn at weddings, church, special social events, etc. Dress classy, not sassy. No jeans, tennis shoes, etc., are permitted.
To use this year’s dress code, attached is the file again for your convenience that was shared in early September.
NOTE: For either dress code, students should never wear denim of any kind, jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, sneakers, flip-flops or casual sandals, graphic wear, etc. There is no reason a student should be out of dress code unless the student or parent(s) have not communicated conflicts in advance to Mr. Whitlock to help solve the problem for the family. Students not meeting the standards of either dress code may not be allowed to perform and will have a reduction in grade. Remember, the December 19th concert will be the new dress code of Polos and all black attire.

*Extra academic option for some students: If there are any students who need extra credit (as we are ending the first quarter) to improve their grade, a student at one grade level/year in school may attend the concert of the other grade level and write a review of each group. If a student is interested in this option, student must see me ASAP so I can give them a form for this listening assignment. Seeing me right before the concert is not acceptable as students should see me during the day to secure this option.

*Important note to parents and attendees: Without a doubt, this is the hardest concert of the year for our students. We go from sharing musical responsibility with lots of other students to a concert format where your child may be the only person on their part, having a very high responsibility for all music occurring. Also, there are only a few students playing in each ensemble so the performance is exposed and transparent. And finally, there is no conductor. Students will implement listening skills for all aspects of music.

Students will play all or a part of the composition. This concert will also serve as a preview for students who signed up for the MSBOA (Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association) Solo and Ensemble Festival where thousands of students will converge at Livonia Franklin HS on Feb. 10 and perform for judges to have the opportunity to earn a medal of distinction.
Please know, there will be mistakes. There will be snafus. There will be boo-boos. There will not be perfection with this concert at the middle school level. This concert is about developing listening skills and more importantly, recovery skills. Below is information about the importance of playing chamber music and being in chamber ensembles. Whether the performance is good or you hear many mistakes throughout, please support our students with you applause for their work, effort, and learning.
What playing chamber music teaches the students
Chamber music teaches young students to listen beyond themselves

Chamber groups provide an excellent opportunity for young musicians to develop their musical ability and performance experience. Even more than band work, chamber music places a great responsibility on the individual performers as each must study, prepare and be present to perform his or her part in order for the group to perform. It enables them to socialize in a nonverbal context, create beauty in a nonjudgmental framework, learn to listen to more than themselves, and develop the ability to roll with spontaneous interchange.

Each member of a chamber ensemble is a vital component to the success of that ensemble. Musicians must understand that with the many benefits of their participation comes the need for commitment and responsibility toward musical preparation. Though some music may be attainable to the individual, the chamber ensemble will make discrepancies with tone, tuning, and timing much more obvious.

The main benefit is that they are learning how to play as an ensemble. Now it’s not just me, myself, and I, but they have to think about matching the other people in pitch, rhythm, sound, and feeling.

According to our own student musicians over the years, playing in a chamber ensemble has its benefits:

“I think that playing with my teammates teaches me more about music. It teaches us to keep playing if we make mistakes and to listen to each other.”

“We learned to listen so that we wouldn’t go too fast or too slow.”

“I never realized how important tuning and dynamics really were.”

“We feel smarter.”

“I know how to prepare better for our future concerts.”

“I better know how to practice now.”

Thanks so much reading this info and see you at the concert!

Mr. Marc Whitlock

Band Director, Discovery Middle School


The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. – William Arthur Ward

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