Our Band Program

The Discovery Middle School Band  Program consists of over 200+ students annually in grades 6 through 8. Class offerings include two brass classes, two percussion classes, two woodwind classes, and three concert bands. All students participate in Symphonic Band (8th), Concert Band (7th), and Beginning Band (6th), and have opportunities to perform in chamber ensembles, percussion ensembles, and other small instrumental groups throughout the year. Discovery Middle School regularly has a strong percentage of students participate in regional music events and other musical opportunities.

The Foundation of Music Education through its national wind honors project, The Mark of Excellence, has recognized the Discovery Middle School Band for their outstanding musical achievement. This is a recorded music contest offering bands, choirs, and orchestras the unprecedented opportunity to earn national recognition for their musical achievement. Discovery Middle School Band met their high-standard criteria and was selected as the highest achieving group from the state of Michigan.

The Discovery Bands have performed at Walt Disney World in Orlando for the Magic Music Days festival; they have also performed at the Festivals of Music competition in Chicago, IL and were awarded superior ratings and a class championship. The band has also performed at the Lincoln Memorial Concert Series in Washington, D.C., and also had clinics with the United States Marine Band (The President’s Own).

In addition, the band commissioned a work by renowned composer Brian Balmages entitled “Temple of the Murals,” that has proven to be a driving piece for advanced middle schools and high school level groups. The band is commissioned a new work this year entitled “Stone Gardens” by the master composer Robert W. Smith and will be to all bands in 2016.

Also, the DMS Band has received highest ratings at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s District Festival in each year attended.

The Discovery Band program explores creativity in an achievement-oriented atmosphere in the pursuit of excellence.

 

Course Descriptions

The Discovery Middle School Band program consists of the 8th grade Symphonic Band, 7th grade Concert Band, 6th grade Beginning Band, Chamber Ensembles, and other various ensembles. Although each organization serves a unique and important educational purpose, the foundations and fundamental skills applicable to all ensembles are taught primarily within the three concert bands.

6th Grade Beginning Band
Beginning Band is a student’s entry into the Discovery Band program. No previous experience is required for entry into this band. All are welcome! This class is for students who would like to learn to play a brass, woodwind or percussion instruments. This course is designed for students interested in beginning level instruction on tone production, music reading skills, basic music theory, and instrument care.

Beginning level instructions will be offered on flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and baritone. After one semester on the standard instruments, students may be offered the opportunity to switch to a specialized instrument, such as
tuba, percussion, French horn, oboe, bassoon, etc., as needed by the band program.

Students may purchase or rent an instrument through a wide range of music instrument dealers. An instrument should not be obtained until the student/family have been through the instrumental fitting process at Discovery Middle School, which usually occurs in June of the student’s fifth grade year. If a student/family did not attend the instrument fitting due to a schedule conflict, please contact the Mr. Whitlock so that a make-up date can be arranged.

This process combines the desires of the student with a time-tested process of instrument assignment based on physical characteristics and other criteria. A limited number of school-owned instruments including oboe, bassoon, French horn, baritone, tuba, and percussion are available (at no charge). NOTE: Percussionists are selected in the second semester by audition only (through master classes) and must play every instrument in the percussion family on a rotating basis. In addition, they are required to buy or rent the bell kit/practice pad (or snare drum) combo.

Attendance at all performances and rehearsals is required and part of the class grade. Participation requires a commitment to performing both in class and outside of the school day. Practice at home is required in order to be at performance level. Students will perform at 3-4 performances during the year.

7th Grade Concert Band
This band consists of students who have previous experience of one year playing a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument. Students will get the chance to improve on their instrument while emphasizing the basics of proper techniques. All the same requirements stated in Beginning Band apply in 7th grade as well. Students will have the opportunity to perform on and off campus. Practice at home is required in order to be at performance level. Participation requires a commitment to performing both in class and at concerts/performances.

Students who don’t take beginning band must demonstrate their competency in an audition for the band director to participate in band following the 6th grade year. Other information is available by contacting the director.

Attendance at all performances and rehearsals is required and part of the class grade. Participation requires a commitment to performing both in class and outside of the school day. Practice at home is required in order to be at performance level. Students will perform at 3-4 performances during the year.

8th Grade Symphonic Band
This band consists of students who have two years of previous experience playing a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument. Students will get a chance to sharpen their instrumental skills through challenging music and performances, both on and off campus. Practice at home is required in order to be at performance level. Opportunities to perform include festivals, contests, and concerts.

Students who don’t take beginning band must demonstrate their competency in an audition for the Band Director to participate in band following the 6th grade year. Other information is available by contacting the Director.

Attendance at all performances and rehearsals is required and part of the class grade. Participation requires a commitment to performing both in class and outside of the school day. Practice at home is required in order to be at performance level. Students will perform at 3-4 performances during the year.

CHAMBER ENSEMBLES
Chamber ensembles are an important part of a strong band program. Students have the opportunity to develop greater musical independence through one-on-a- part playing in small groups such as: trios, quartets, quintets, and ensembles. Each year, numerous chamber ensembles are featured in our annual Chamber Ensembles Recitals and also at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) Solo and Ensemble Festival. See the Band Calendar for dates.

 

Music Top Ten

Mr. Whitlock expects all music students in band to:

1. Play with expression and technical accuracy using a varied repertoire of music.
2. Read, notate and perform the following rhythms and meters: whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted notes and rests, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 and cut time meters.
3. Sight read, notate and perform simple melodies in the appropriate clef for their instrument or voice.
4. Communicate an idea through musical arrangement, improvisation and/or composition.
5. Describe specific music events in a given aural example using appropriate terminology.
6. Evaluate the quality and effectiveness of one’s own and others’ performances, compositions, arrangements and/or improvisations by applying specific and appropriate criteria and offering constructive suggestions for improvement.
7. Understand relationships between music, other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
8. Understand music in relation to history and culture.
9. Analyze the uses of elements of music in aural examples representing diverse genres and cultures.
10. Develop ensemble skills of professionalism and collaboration/teamwork while holding oneself individually accountable for all goals and assignments.