Walder, Sam

Welcome to the band program at Poulsbo Middle School! With one week already gone, we are looking forward to an exciting year in band. The purpose of this message is to briefly discuss some important items to keep in mind as the year gets going. You may have noticed this year we are making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper being used, so please check back here to see updates or to view resources. The band syllabus is located in the documents tab, in which you can find class expectations, calendar dates, grading, and more. Please review this at home with your child.
First day with instruments is Monday! Please make sure students have what they need (instruments, reeds, books, etc.) for school before Monday.
Required materials
There are many questions about instruments, music, accessories, and what exactly is needed for class. Understandably, band requires a variety of materials, which can be obtained locally or online.

  • Instruments: Rent or purchase an instrument for use. Ted Brown Music works with our school to rent instruments to students for a competitive rate. Visit the TBM store in Silverdale (near Target) or visit their website (http://www.tedbrownmusic.com) for more information. You may consider purchasing an instrument for your child. Please contact Mr. Walder for quality instrument suggestions.
  • Some students may require special school instruments. In that case, discuss instrument check-out procedure with Mr. Walder
  • Method books: Both 7th and 8th graders are required to have a Bach and Before for Band book. Also, 7th graders need book 2 of Essential Elements, and 8th graders need book 3. 6th graders will use Essential Elements book 1.
  • Accessories: Each instrument needs various accessories such as reeds or valve oil. Rentals usually include the necessary materials, though we will check all students’ instruments next week to make sure.
  • A lined notebook or paper for writing in class.
  • Pencils: Students must have a pencil every day in class.

Practice and homework
              In band, homework is practicing the instrument at home. Consistent practice is not only required for a grade in the class, but it is also the best way to progress as a musician. Students who do not practice will find it difficult to follow along in class and often become discouraged and frustrated with music as a result. You as families can support your child in building a consistent, productive practice routine.
Weekly requirements:
6th grade: 60 minutes/week
7th grade: 120 minutes/week
8th grade: 150 minutes/week
Percussion Ensemble: 120 minutes/week

  • Create a practice space: Musicians need a quiet space that is free of distractions. Make sure your child has a music stand (or an appropriate DYI solution to hold the music), a chair if they would like to sit, and has no distractions nearby such as televisions or loud conversations in the room.
  • Add practice to the list: Many families have routines in which children have an allotted homework time. In order to establish consistent practice habits, add instrument practice to that homework time. Similarly, you may set a goal each day for a certain number of minutes practiced.
  • Tuners and metronomes: Students are encouraged to use tuners and metronomes in their practice. Tuners tell us if we are in-tune or not, and metronomes keep a steady beat. These may be purchased locally or online, however there are many free apps and websites that do the same thing. Search your smartphone apps store for free downloads, or look online for free metronome/tuner websites. You may also ask to borrow one from Mr. Walder if you do not have your own.
  • Record and initial: In your student planner, record how many minutes you practiced each day. Parents/guardians will initial each week in the planner. Planners will be checked for credit at the end of every week.

Edmodo/Playing tests
              This year, we will again use Edmodo.com to upload student playing tests. There are two playing test scheduled each quarter, and students will be expected to record themselves playing the test material at home, and submit that recording to the Edmodo website before the due date. Check the calendar on the website or in the handbook for dates on the playing tests.  Parents may also create an Edmodo account to monitor your child’s progress. If students (or parents) have not created an account, simply go to edmodo.com, click register new account as student or parent, then enter your information with the corresponding class code below:

  • 1st period Symphonic Band: yse3yy
  • 2nd period Concert Band: wmjmhg
  • 4th period Woodwinds: xn32re
  • 5th period Brass/percussion: z65dt9
  • 6th period Percussion Ensemble: n32igk

              Band is a performance-based class. Students will be asked to perform in front of Mr. Walder, in front of other students in class, and on stage during concerts. While performing can often be intimidating for young musicians, we make sure to practice performing often and to create a safe space for students to both succeed and fail.

  • Concerts: We have four concerts this year at the North Kitsap Auditorium. The first concert is on October 29, at 7pm. Students are required to attend the concerts and absences will negatively affect grades.
  • Uniforms: When performing, the students in band must wear a uniform. This consists of a white top (collared shirt, blouse, etc.), black bottoms (slacks, dress, skirt), black shoes (flats or dress shoes with black socks). Students must provide their own uniforms. Percussion ensemble members wear all black uniforms.
  • School assemblies: At Poulsbo Middle School, our band and choir perform for the school on the day of each concert. This means that the students must come to school in the band uniforms and will perform at two assemblies in the morning. If you cannot attend the evening concert, this is a great alternative for families who want to see their children perform.
  • Solo/Ensemble Festival: Required for percussion ensemble, optional for others wishing to perform in a solo or small group setting. This event is in Kingston on February 22.
  • Marching band: All 7th and 8th graders are expected to participate in the Viking Fest Parade, on May 16. Check the calendar for practice dates and times in May.
  • Band contest: The 8th grade band will perform at the OMEA Contest on March 10, and is a festival where bands from the region come to perform for each other.

Band class
              What can you expect your child to do in band every day? Although we spend most of the time playing our instruments, your child will receive a diverse, multi-faceted music education.

  • Fundamentals: The main focus in band is building strong fundamentals. This includes proper breathing, posture, hand position, rhythm accuracy, and tone production. Most instruction revolves around learning and reinforcing the fundamentals.
  • Theory: Students will have an opportunity to learn about music theory, starting with note names and progressing through chord construction and advanced listening skills. Each week includes a small lesson on music theory, which may or may not include homework.
  • History: Learn about music history can educate us about the music we perform. Each semester, students will have a project on some aspect of music history. This could be a research paper on a composer, or a project on the history of an instrument.
  • Music evaluation: In band, we often listen to and evaluate recorded music. This could be a professional recording, or a recording of our own band. Students will learn how to objectively listen to and analyze music in order to become better musicians.

              Q: What if I can’t afford required materials (instrument, uniforms, etc.)?
              A: Contact Mr. Walder to arrange for a scholarship.
Q: Where will my child keep their instrument while at school?
              A: We have lockers and cabinets for instrument storage in the band room. These were assigned today.
              Q: When can my child drop off or pick up the instrument at school?
              A: Drop off instruments in the morning between 7:30 and 7:55, pick up after school until ten minutes after school is out.
              Q: Are there any after school events other than concerts?
              A: We may have practices after school before the concerts to prepare a few times a year.
              Q: What are the rules and expectations in the band room?
              A: Check in the band handbook. Essentially, I ask that all band students try their best and are kind to other people and equipment.
              Q: My child doesn’t like their instrument choice, is it too late to change instruments?
              A: Contact Mr. Walder directly to discuss your options.
              Q: Should my child study with a private music teacher outside of school?
              A: Yes! It is highly recommended that students study privately. Contact Mr. Walder for recommendations on private lesson teachers. Ted Brown Music in Silverdale offers lessons for some instruments, and The Music Mansion in Poulsbo offers opportunities as well.
              Q: My child is afraid of performing in class, what can we do?
              A: The expectation is that students are able to perform in front of others. However, for playing tests, students will record their test at home and upload it via Edmodo. If you do not have computers or internet access at home, and iPad can be supplied for the student to use at school.
              Q: I want to support my child in band, how can I get involved?
              A: Come to our first Music Boosters meeting on Monday, September 9 at 6:30pm in the band room. You will learn about upcoming events and ways to volunteer and support the band!
              Q: What about jazz band?
              A: Jazz band is an audition only group that meets before school on Tuesday and Thursday. Check the website for audition information and sign up on the sheet in the band room for your audition time.
              Q: I have questions or concerns about my student in band, what do I do?
              A: Contact Mr. Walder at swalder@nkschools.org.
Thank you for your support as your child begins or continues the journey of playing a musical instrument. There will be times of frustration and challenge, but playing music is a rewarding experience that we get to share with each other every day.