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HMS Band Handbook

Holland Middle School Band Handbook

Mr. Slutter, Director of Bands




Band Program Overview



At HMS there is a Resource and Activity period called “R/A” which occurs every afternoon.  All music ensembles hold mandatory rehearsals during R/A period which is 2:28-3pm.  All students in music ensembles are given priority to attend rehearsals over other activities during R/A period. 

HMS Band

The HMS Band performs at both the Winter and Spring concerts, combined with Newtown Middle School. In addition to appearances at both the Winter and Spring concerts, members of the HMS Band (with superior rehearsal and concert attendance) have the opportunity to participate in a major adjudication festival around the time of the Spring Concert. 

There is no audition for this ensemble. There will also be some combined performances with CR South HS Bands! One is confirmed, the other date is pending.


The HMS Band rehearses every Monday and Tuesday during the Resource/Activity (R/A) period, with Tuesday as our ‘Priority Day’. Priority means that no other music ensemble, activity, or teacher request can interfere with Tuesday rehearsals. Mondays will often be sectional days, so some students may not be involved on those days. Students involved with other activities/clubs, should arrange those meetings around rehearsals. On days 2B and 5A, where clubs may overlap with Concert Band, the rehearsal takes priority. 

Jazz Band

The Jazz Band is a select ensemble that performs in several events throughout the school year. An information meeting will be held in October to distribute audition materials. The Jazz Band rehearses every Thursday morning, before school, from 7:15am until 8am. All students intent on Jazz Band must also participate in Concert Band, with the exception of Guitar and some keyboards.


If you haven’t registered already, go to the HMS website > Activities > Music – Band. You’ll see the link. You’ll also receive an invitation to the Canvas class and should sign up for Remind 101 to receive rehearsal and lesson alerts.


Students receive one lesson per week.  Instrumental music is a “pull-out” program.  Students will ask (politely) their primary teacher to leave the classroom to come to the music area for their lesson.  The student's lesson schedule rotates each week so students do not miss the same class. Students must have strong lesson attendance in order to participate in our concerts. Topics that we cover in lessons that are not covered in R/A rehearsals include:  sound production skills, scale proficiency (C, D, G, F, Bb major & some minor scales), rhythm and counting skills, expression skills, vibrato, tuning, and more!  Lessons are crucial for students to develop the skills they will need in Band at HMS and in high school.  Private lessons are encouraged. 

See approved instructor list:



Assessments will occur at a few points during the year, covering scales, rhythms, and concert repertoire. Students will review their playing achievement in lessons and work to determine strengths and goals for improvement. Student assessments are based on playing technique and musicianship skills using a variety of formative and summative assessment rubrics and activities.

Concert Band members must be proficient at all concert repertoire to perform in the concert, and preparedness will be evaluated weekly during lessons. This process is designed to help the students to prepare for the concert and give feedback on musical progress throughout the year. Students can seek additional help as needed; Mr. Slutter’s clinic times are Monday and Thursday afternoons until 3:40; some makeup periods during the school day could be utilized as well. Any student not prepared to perform in the concert will be informed well ahead of time and can seek additional clinic help.

Attendance Policy:

Students are expected to have strong lesson attendance for each concert cycle.  Rehearsal attendance is required for all ensembles and may be subject to modification based on student involvement in other music ensembles such as choir or orchestra.  If students cannot attend a rehearsal or a lesson due to a legitimate excuse they must inform Mr. Slutter in advance when possible in person or by email. 

Significant absences will result in parental contact and possible dismissal from the Band with no refund on for uniform polos.  Legitimate excuses for missing rehearsal are:  school absence, appointment outside of school, meeting with a principal or nurse. Lesson absences should only be due to test, quiz, or lab projects in that class OR by specific request from the teacher.  


club participation (never miss on a priority or sectional day) make-up work or assessments, finishing homework, reviewing for a test or quiz (do this at home!), tiredness, or skipping. Note: the director reserves the right to dismiss students from ensembles if student attendance and participation is not satisfactory.



Students are responsible for the transport, storage, and maintenance of their own instruments. All students are required to bring their own instrument to school for lessons and rehearsals. Certain large instruments (Euphoniums, Tubas, French Horns, Tenor Saxes, Percussion, etc.) may be provided for students to use at school.  Students will receive their own folder with the handbook and concert repertoire. Folders are labeled with names and should be brought to lessons and rehearsals.

Uniforms: Black Polo (can be ordered from by Oct. 9th), black pants. Same for all performances.

Bandroom Considerations: Under NO circumstances should food or drinks other than water be brought into the bandroom or stored in the bandroom lockers. Where food exists, so do rodents. Let’s keep our house clean!


 Practice Tips  

The Process of Practicing should be FASCINATING! Treat practice like a “science lab” – Discover the problems and fix them!

  • Practice the same time of day; Practice 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Make practice a part of homework- Break up subjects with 5 minutes of playing!
  • Choose a practice location and stick with it! (quiet room away from disturbances)
  • Amount of time is up to you – choose your time based on your goals
  • Strive for quality not quantity of practice
  • Rest for 5 minutes for every 20 minutes of practice
  • Don’t forget to warm up – play a scale or exercise to prepare you mind and body
  • Practice with a mirror to identify issues
  • Set specific Goals – example:  fix rhythms on measures 1-8.
  • Practice short sections at a time: play slowly until rhythm, fingers, notes are correct – then increase speed
  • Slow practice = fast progress
  • Choose an appropriate slower “practice tempo” – use metronome as often as possible. If you don’t own one, simply Google “Metronome” on your phone or computer. Adjust the slider to the desired tempo.
  • Cover many components of playing:  tone, rhythm, expression, posture, etc.
  • Reinforce good habits – stop and restart when a bad habit occurs
  • Record yourself and listen to the audio to identify current achievement
  • Finish each practice session with something fun! – run through a piece or section



Middle School Combined with CR South Marching Band- Oct. 20th

Schedule details TBA

December 21, 2021 – Winter Concert @ CR North HS

Report time TBA


May 22, 2022 – HMS/NMS Combined Spring Concert @ Holland Middle School

Report time TBA








Priority days for groups in bold print.



R/A Period 2:28-3pm

*Priority Days are mandatory.

*You should plan to attend all rehearsals.

*If you need to miss a rehearsal that is not a priority day, you must show a pass to Mr. Slutter, Mrs. Rudat or Mrs. Vaughan at the beginning of R/A period.

To order your HMS Music Polo, please go to the following link by Friday, October 9th: