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Photo Credit: Cal Avery
Photo Credit: Cal Avery
Photo Credit: Cal Avery
2017-2018 MS Band Handbook


Emanuel County Institute

MS Band Handbook



Dear Band Students and Parents,


Welcome to another year as part of a growing musical tradition at Emanuel County Institute.  Enclosed is our handbook which should provide you with information for participation in our band program during the upcoming school year.  Full adherence to the policies, schedules, and calendars provided for the success of the band program.  Please keep in mind as you read through this information, that it encompasses all band activities for the entire year. 


Performances of the band are the result of many long hours of hard work, preparation, practice, and dedication.  Therefore, the necessity of attendance and dedication by all members is vital.  While rehearsals and performances are not always convenient, dedication to performance excellence is a must in pursing the high standards and success of our program.  Please remember we want all of our students to excel at an above average level.  “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.  It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions and the actions that speak louder than words.  It is making the time when there is none; coming through time after time.  Commitment is the stuff that character is made of – the power to change the face of things.  It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.” 


The marching band (probably the most visible aspect of our band program) is an extension of the classroom.  Students involved in marching band are those who are taking on an assignment in addition to the daily course of study.  Students who would like to participate in the marching band the next season or go on a spring trip must be in concert band during the fall and spring semesters.  It is extremely important to the growth of the program that students participate in concert band.


Some of ECI’s finest students are enrolled in the band program.  We are proud of them and want to show enthusiasm and spirit through their experiences in the band and by example, set a positive image for other students to follow.  At all times, students should conduct themselves in a manner befitting of the recognition and awards they will receive in the name of Emanuel County Institute.  Nationwide, musicians are looked upon as some of the best students in the schools and certainly we want no less for our students.


Within the following handbook, all of our expectations for every student are outlined.  This information is vital in order to make this a successful year for all of us.  Please read through the entire handbook with your student, sign the letter of documentation on the last page, and return to me.  Be sure both students and parents are familiar with all of the information contained within this handbook.  Please note that by participating in the band program you agree to all terms within this handbook. 


The ECI Band program is what YOU make it.  If we all do our part and work together, nothing will be impossible.  I welcome you to another year in the ECI band program and look forward to a hard-working, fun-filled, and musically enriching year.


                                                                                                                                    Musically yours,

                                                                                                                                   Ashley Akridge, Director of Bands

                                Adam Akridge, Assistant Director of Bands


“It is difficult to be successful, but it is easy to do nothing!”



Mission Statement


To create outstanding musical experiences and opportunities for students while helping them grow into responsible, mature adults. 

To make these experiences successful, we require discipline, organization, and commitment to the program.  Being a part of the band is to be seen as an honor and students will be expected to serve as role models for the school and other organizations within it.



Band Booster Association


This organization is a great way for parents to get involved and make a difference with the Emanuel County Institute Band and Dance Line.  Parents can serve as chaperones, help with fundraisers, and assist with logistics.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give service back to your community and still be involved in your child’s school career.  Participation in the boosters, also, offers easy access to current information about the band its activities.  It offers opportunities to assist the band and your individual child with financial obligations.  It provides a great social organization with some other very interesting, hard-working, and fun-loving people in which you share a great interest-your children.  Whether you are able to give a lot of time or only able to help occasionally, your involvement will help with the overall betterment of the band.  Meetings are the first Tuesday of every month.  I look forward to seeing you there.



Meet Our Ensembles



Concert Bands

These ensembles are designed to play differing levels of repertoire.  While in these ensembles, students will work on furthering their abilities and preparing them for the future.  These are open ensembles, open to any student who wishes to play and further their musical ability.  Students will perform a Winter and a Spring Concert, as well as other performances throughout the year.  In middle school, this class meets every other day for an hour.  In high school, this class meets every day for 90 minutes.  For the high school ensemble, some after school rehearsals will be required due to class conflicts during the school day.  


Marching Band

This ensemble is the pride of Emanuel County Institute.  Membership in this ensemble is highly recommended for those in the Concert Band, but is not required.  Performances include half-time shows, parades, and marching festivals/competitions.  Students in this ensemble will be held to high standards of integrity, loyalty, and achievement as this ensemble most represents our program to the community.  This ensemble meets afterschool on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3:30 pm until 5:30 pm (some occasional Wednesday practices may be required) during the Fall Semester with a few rehearsals in the Spring Semester for parades.  Students will have to pay a $100 marching band fee. The fee goes towards transportation to and from games and competitions, band shirt, first pair of gloves, marching uniform, competition entry fees, and other expenses as they come up during the season.  Students interested in being in the marching band must participate in concert band in both the fall and spring semesters.   


Jazz Band

The jazz band is comprised of students in 8th-12th grades and students must have had at least one year of performing experience.  The group meets in the Spring Semester after school and is entirely extra-curricular.  The students in this group perform music in swing, Latin, rock, and pop styles and learn the basics of improvisation.  Auditions are required only of those students who wish to play piano, bass guitar, guitar, or drum set.



Attendance Policy


Attendance is required for all students for any event of their ensemble.  Attendance is the key to success of this program.  Just one absence can hurt the entire ensemble.  Attendance is the number one aspect that we can all achieve at.  If a student must miss a rehearsal for any reason please notify the director in advance.  During marching band season, if a student misses a Thursday rehearsal they will not be allowed to march during the half-time performance on Friday evening, no exceptions (members are still expected to attend the game and perform in the stands).  Conscientious rehearsal attendance is always vital to the well-being of our program.    


  1. Attendance is Mandatory    
  2. Excused Absences
    1. Illness (absent from school)
    2. Death in the family
    3. Religious Observance
  3. Unexcused Absences
    1. Job
    2. Homework
    3. School Clubs
    4. Etc.



Disciplinary Actions:

  1. If a student has an unexcused absence from a performance, at the director’s discretion, the student may be expelled from the program.  
  2. Failure to fulfill spring semester attendance/performance may result in the following disciplinary actions:
    1. Student will be ineligible for participation in the end-of-the-year awards banquet
    2. Student will be ineligible for band spring trips
    3. Students may not try out for leadership positions
    4. Student will ineligible for marching band the next year



Attire Policy


Concert Bands

            6th Grade – Students in this ensemble will wear a red short sleeved polo shirt with black pants or long black skirt.  Students will also wear closed toe shoes.

            7th/8th Grade – Students in this ensemble will wear white short sleeved polo shirt with black pants or long black skirt.  Students will also wear closed toe shoes.

HS Concert Band: Students in this ensemble will wear concert black.  Ladies should wear either black pants or a black skirt and a black top with sleeves.  Ladies should wear closed toe black shoes.   Gentlemen should wear black pants, a black button down long sleeved shirt, black dress shoes and black socks. 


Concert Policy


Students should plan to arrive 30 minutes before concert time in uniform.  This gives everyone time to get settled the first band warmed up before the concert begins.  Please plan to stay for the entire concert. Each performing ensemble deserves a great audience and the concerts are to showcase the entire program, not just your child’s band.


Our concerts are the main way our students showcase their talents and skills as musicians.  Since band is a performance based class, concert performance is a requirement of being in band.  One of the great things about being in band is that students get to perform all the time.  There are no “bench warmers” in a performing ensemble!  Please do not keep your child from attending the concert as a punishment.  Every student is important and each student depends on all the others for the music to work.  It negatively affects the entire band when just one student is absent!  Please see the “Grading Policy” page for details on excused absences.


Concert Etiquette

            The following is a list of standard concert etiquette procedures for all concert functions.  We would like to thank our audiences for their continued cooperation and support in our endeavor to teach everyone, young and old, proper concert etiquette and to create a concert environment that acknowledges respect for the student’s hard work.

  • Parents should try to attend all performances.  You are the student’s most important audience
  • If you happen to arrive late, enter the performance room only between musical selections
  • Please stay for the entire program.  If you must leave, please do so between musical selections. (Remember all performers must stay the duration of the concert.  Part of the educational process is that the younger players hear the more advanced players)
  • Please do not talk, pop chewing gum, or allow any noise making device to go off during a performance
  • Please do not take pictures that require a flash during the performance


Grading Policy


Grades will be broken down as follows:



Performances              40%

Participation                40%

Playing Tests               20%




Students are required to be at all performances will all of their materials.  Points can be deducted from this grade by being more than five minutes late to call time, forgetting their instrument, forgetting a piece of the instrument, not having the proper dress attire, or not having music. 



Students are not only required to be at all rehearsals and performances, but they are also required to participate.  Students may loose points by not playing when directed or talking while the teacher is talking.  Students may also have points deducted by not being ready to play five minutes after entering the classroom for class.  Quizzes will be a part of the participation grade.  


Playing Tests

Students will have playing test, assigned by the director.  Students will play a brief excerpt, sometimes in front of the class and sometimes only for the director, to ensure that everyone is practicing the material.  Points may be deducted for wrong notes, articulation, tempo, or any other performance aspect.  A standard rubric will be used for all playing tests.



Behavior Policy


The ECI Band is an organization of excellence and is very rewarding to involved students in a variety of ways.  Not only do students have the opportunity to excel in music but they also learn and develop interpersonal skills, communication skills, responsibility (personal and to group) and the self-discipline needed to practice and become better at his/her instrument.  In order to provide the best environment for all students, the following classroom rules are in place:

  • No talking when ANYONE is on the podium
  • Always stay in your seat unless you have permission to get up
  • NEVER play anyone else’s instrument
  • No eating or drinking in the band room during rehearsals
  • Never chew gum in class or right before you play your instrument
  • Cell phones are NOT allowed during instructional time


The disciplinary procedure is as follows:

  1. The student shall receive a warning and possible lunch detention.
  2. A second warning given twice in the same class period will earn the student a conference with Mrs. Ashley after class and possible lunch detention.
  3. If the student has a second conference with Mrs. Ashley, parents will be notified that there is a potential problem with the student’s behavior.
  4. If a third conference is needed, parents are again notified and the student is held for afterschool detention.
  5. If, after detention, the student still has a difficult time adhering to the rules of the class, the student is written-up for administrative disciplinary procedures
  6. If a student chooses to continue to not follow the rules after the above procedures have been exhausted, it will be recommended that they be removed from the band program.
  7. In cases of blatant refusal to cooperate or if a student disrupts class, he/she will be removed from the classroom setting and written-up in lieu of the above procedures.


While I expect and know that most students display good behavior, there must be guidelines in place to provide an equal opportunity for all students to learn.  If a student is removed from participating in class it is because the student is not only interfering with his/her learning, but also with the learning of other students.  Band is a lot of fun, but only if and when all students do their best to participate in a cooperative environment. 


Students in the ECI Band Program are expected to behave in a manner becoming of a band student all of the time, not just in the band room.  The reputation of ALL band students and the band program as a whole is dependent on ALL band students behaving ALL THE TIME.



Travel Policy


Ensembles from the ECI Band Program travel consistently.  Students auditioning for or participating in any honor band or individual performance opportunity will travel during school and non-school hours.  While trips are a fun and rewarding part of the band experience, some special rules apply.

  • Students must meet all academic and behavior standards of ECI to attend any band trip, honor band, or clinic.  Traveling is a privilege and can be revoked from any student at the discretion of the band director.
  • All school and band rules and policies are in effect and will be enforced.
  • Any incident involving alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or weapons will result in an expulsion from the band program and will be reported to all required authorities, including school administration and the police.
  • Any director, bus driver, parent chaperon, or event organizer has the authority to enforce the rules and policies of the band, school system, and the transportation department at an event.
  • A director or chaperon must accompany students at all times.
  • A serious behavior problem on the trip will result in that student not participating in the next trip or could result in expulsion from the band program.
  • Some activities require a registration or participation fee.  No student will be allowed to attend such a trip if he/she has not paid the fee or made arrangements with the band director.



Fundraising Policy


The ECI Band and Dance Line Boosters organization exists to support the Spirit of the Dogs Marching Band by organizing volunteers to help the band during performances and other activities, as well as meeting the band’s financial obligations.  The organization will sponsor fundraising activities to help meet these ends.  We do many fundraisers a year and these may change from year to year.  All monies raised from fundraising activities will be credited to an account held by the boosters.  This money will be used only for the direct benefit of the band program.  To help offset the cost of trips for each student, the student and/or parent must participate in ALL fundraisers in some capacity.  These fundraises will also assist in covering the cost of a Spring Trip for that year in what will be called the fundraising program.    


To qualify for inclusion in the fundraising program and receive benefits:

  1. The student must have paid their band dues in full to the booster organization.
  2. Must participate in all fundraisers in some capacity
    1. These capacities will change with the fundraiser and parents will be given the full details from the band director about what is expected for that particular fundraiser


Practice, Practice, Practice


Students who practice outside of rehearsals daily will advance much more quickly and have a much more enjoyable band experience.  The improvement of the ensemble depends on the improvement of you as an individual.    


Here are some daily warm-up tips and techniques


  1. Warm-Up
    1. Don’t play high
    2. Don’t play low
    3. Don’t play loud
    4. Don’t play soft
    5. DO play in your middle register, mezzo-forte and gradually extend the register and dynamics as your lips and embourchure begin to respond with agility and flexibility.
  2. Long-Tones
    1. Long-Tones are the backbone to a strong full sound.  It improves tone, breathing, and control.
    2. Brass play lip slur patters in whole notes
    3. Woodwinds play scale patterns in whole notes
  3. Techniques
    1. Work to increase breathing capacity and support
    2. Work to develop embouchure strength and flexibility
    3. Work to increase strength and speed of fingers
    4. Work to develop tonguing abilities
    5. Individual sections will be given a sheet of technique warm-ups
  4. Other Areas
    1. Range
    2. Scales/Arpeggios
    3. Lip Slurs
    4. Sight-Reading Skills


Method books are a great way to improve technique and overall playing ability.  Purchases can be made at our local music store, Pladd Dot, or online through Amazon. 



Concert Dates


Holiday Concert – December 5

Spring Concert – May 15



A Living Document


No handbook is perfect.  As extensive as this handbook of procedures is, there will still be occasions where circumstances will arise that fall outside the realm of the policies contained in this document.  In those instances, it will be up to the principal, director, and assistant director to make a decision based on that particular circumstance using good faith and judgement.  We think that this manual will be almost as valuable to you as you are to the band.  This is a “we” effort, where there can be no bench warmers.  All for one and one for all! In the end, all of this is intended to help keep the band members focused on the task of making our band the best it can be. 
















Emanuel County Institute  |  102 N College St  |  Twin City, GA 30471
Phone: 478.763.2673