2022-23 Band Handbook

The Portage West Middle School Band Program has a long history of pride and success.  Much of the success can be attributed to students’ dedication to the band program, their desire to succeed and the person discipline to practice and to be model band members.  Over 275 students are in our band program!  There are four performing ensembles within the program: 

Sixth Grade Band (separated by instrument)

Seventh Grade Band

Eighth Grade Band

Portage Middle School Jazz/Rock Ensemble (after-school)

All ensembles have the opportunity to perform during the school year in events such as school concerts and band festival.  Seventh and eighth graders can also perform at the Solo and Ensemble festival in the spring.  I addition, our students have performed in Chicago, Mackinac Island and at our State Capitol in Lansing.  Locally, the students have performed at the Air Zoo, Barnes & Noble and Story Point.  

WMS Band Calendar, 2022-23

Goals & Outcomes

I believe that anyone who wants to learn a musical instrument should have the opportunity to do so.  I also believe that the students should have fun making fantastic music!  Students who have never played an instrument must either start in the sixth grade or take private lessons in order to join the band at a later date.  All bands have similar goals and objectives:

·        To furnish members with an invaluable experience in music as an art form

·  To serve the school and community through quality performances

·  To develop individual responsibility and self-discipline

·  To encourage and develop leadership

·  To have fun making music!



Band Olympians!

The Band Olympian program is designed to encourage our students to excel on their instrument through practice and dedication.  The students have the opportunity to become a Band Olympian during each grade quarter and at the end of the school year. 

Students can earn medals by achieving at a high level on playing performances throughout the school year.  These playing performances will either be performed in class, or, recorded at home using Flipgrid!

In order to earn points toward becoming a Band Olympian, students must submit the Playing Performance one time!

*Students who score an 85% or higher on a playing assessment earn either a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.

*Students earn medals by performing a playing assessment with a beautiful tone (sound), as well as correct notes, rhythms, dynamics & articulations.

* Gold Medal (95-100%) = 3 pts; Silver (90-94%) = 2 pts; Bronze (85-89%) = 1 pt

*6th & 7th Grade-Students who average 1.5 or more points at the end of each quarter will be given a party during XTS. 

*8th Grade-Students who average 1.75 or more points at the end of each quarter will be given a party during XTS. 

1st Quarter Party:  Donuts and Cider

2nd Quarter Party:  Popcorn & Movie

3rd Quarter Party:  Ice Cream

4th Quarter party: Pizza

* Any student who averages the minimum score or higher at the end of each quarter will have a special asterisk next to their name in the concert programs

* END OF THE YEAR:  At the end of the year, any student who averages the minimum score or higher earns an after school party and becomes a BAND OLYMPIAN!

* End-of-year BAND OLYMPIANS will be recognized with a special Olympic–style medal at the final concert of the year!

RETAKES:  Students can earn Band Olympian points after completing a retake!  Students can move up a maximum of one level.  For example, student who earned a silver medal on the first attempt can move up to a gold!

***All students are allowed one retake per playing performance.  All retakes are due two weeks after the original due date.  The student must wait for feedback before submitting a retake!

Chair (Part) Placements - 7th & 8th Grade Only

Our 7th & 8th Grade Band Students will be assigned a seat in class based on a part audition  

· Students will be assigned a part at the beginning of the year based on a playing audition, held during class.

· Band music is often divided into parts.  For example, there is often a 1st, 2nd & 3rd trumpet part.  Each part is different, with the higher parts having higher notes on the instrument.

· Once the initial part placement has been assigned, the students will stay on the same part until the next audition (see below).

· Students will have the opportunity to earn a new part assignment three times:

Þ  Early September

Þ  December, just prior to holiday vacation

Þ  March, after band festival

Part assignments will be based on the following musical criteria:

Þ Tone

Þ Correct notes/Partials

Þ Rhythms

Þ Articulations

Þ Dynamics


Band Officers (7th & 8th Grade Only)

Both the 7th & 8th grade bands have students in place to help keep the program running smoothly.  

Band Officers will be selected by their peers.  Elections will take place in early September.  5-6 students will be selected per band hour to assist with the following duties.

President: elected position/student with the highest vote total)

· Responsible directly to the band director, will conduct the band as needed

· Assists substitute teacher when the director is absent

· Assists with duties described below

Officers: elected position

· Plans band parties

· Act as a liaison between the students and director

· Takes daily attendance

· Takes attendance at concerts

· Collects and logs supply money at the beginning of the hour

· Organizes band library 

· Distributes and collects sheet music




The following is the approximate breakdown for grading in all bands:

Assessments/Playing Performances -  40%

Classroom Engagement -  30%

Classwork - 30%

PLAYING PERFORMANCES-All band students will take two-three playing performances per marking period.    The students will be assessed on scales, exercises from our band books, and, concert music.  All of the musical exercises found on the assessments are performed daily in band class.  The students will be evaluated based on their overall musical performance.  All playing assignments will be recorded & submitted using Flipgrid!

PLAYING PERFORMANCE RETAKES-All band students can retake the playing performance one time.  However, only those students who submitted a Playing Performance on time can do a retake!  All retakes will now take place from home!  Students will record & submit retakes using Flipgrid!

LATE ASSIGNMENTS: Late assignments can be submitted up to two week after the original due date.

Students who go above and beyond outside of daily class can be exempt from taking Playing Performances throughout the year.  The student will not earn a letter grade in Skyward, but will be given full Band Olympian credit for the assignment (3 points - Gold Medal).  Here is the complete list:
  1. 7th Grade: Perform a solo/ensemble at the 6th Grade Band Spectacular Concert - student does not have to take both Playing Performances for the 1st quarter
  2. 7th/8th Grade: Attend the CHS Band Night - student is exempt from one Playing Performance
  3. 7th/8th Grade: Attend the NHS Band Night - student is exempt from one Playing Performance
  4. 7th/8th Grade: Make the District XI Honors Band in November - student is exempt from two Playing Performances
  5. 7th/8th Grade: Make the All-State Band - student is exempt from all Playing Performances in both the 3rd and 4th Quarters.
  6. 7th/8th Grade Band: Earn a 1st or 2nd Division Rating at the Solo & Ensemble Festival - student is exempt from all Playing Performances in Quarter 4

Classroom Engagement (playing and behavior) is 30% of each student’s total grade.  

All students may earn up to 3 classroom engagement points a day.  Points are deducted for any behavior that hinders the progress of the individual student or the entire band:

· Any disruptive behavior (talking, not being attentive, not ready to play, etc.)  - students loses 1 point

· Tardiness (including not being prepared to play at the beginning of class) - loss of 1 point

· Unprepared for class (no music, pencil, reeds, oil, etc.)  - loss of 1 point

· No Instrument  - loss of 3 points

· Chewing Gum—loss of 1 point


Every performance is absolutely required.  Every person in the band is important, and when even one student is absent from a performance, the whole band will struggle.

If you know that you will be out-of-town for a performance, you must give the director a note no later than two weeks before the performance.  Your child will make up the missed performance (see below).  Please put all of the concert dates on your personal calendars!

Students who miss a concert will have the opportunity to perform a make-up assignment.  The student will perform their concert music live after school for Mr. Kozian.  The student will be assessed on tone quality, rhythmic precision, dynamic contrasts, correct notes and intonation.  The student will be able to earn up to 80% of the concert grade.


Students who miss a concert due to ILLNESS will have the opportunity to perform a make-up assignment.  The student will perform their concert music live after school for Mr. Kozian.  The student will be assessed on tone quality, rhythmic precision, dynamic contrasts, correct notes and intonation.  The student will be able to earn full credit.

Performances are the greatest reward any band member can receive.

Please do not let your child miss out!


Band Supplies

I will sell a limited amount of band supplies this year.  I highly recommend purchasing supplies for your child (see list below) from Marshall Music, Meyer Music or on Amazon.  For our woodwind students, many reeds come in a box of 10!  This is a great way to have great selection of reeds that will last a long time! 

Flute Accessories
Pneumo Pro Wind Director - great for beginners!
Polishing cloth

Clarinet Reeds

6th Grade: Mitchell Lurie #3 (strength)
7th & 8th:  Mitchell Lurie #3.5

Clarinet Accessories
Cork Grease
Silk Swab
Thumb Pad

Oboe Reeds
Jones or Lesher, Medium Strength
Miller Select Reserve Oboe Reed

Oboe Accessories
Silk Swab

Bass Clarinet Reeds
LaVoz Medium Strength

Alto Sax Reeds
6th Grade-VanDoeren #3 
7th Grade-VanDoeren #3 or 3.5
8th Grade-VanDoeren #3.5

Saxophone Accessories
Cork Grease
Pad Saver

Tenor Sax Reeds
Lavoz Medium Strength

Bari Sax Reeds 
LaVoz Medium Strength

Trumpet Accessories
Valve Oil (Marshall Music brand is good!)
Mouthpiece brush
Tuning slide grease (Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great)
Polishing Cloth

French Horn Accessories
Rotary oil
Tuning slide grease (Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great)
Polishing cloth
Mouthpiece Brush

Trombone Accessories
Slide Cream (Super-slick is a great product)
Mouthpiece brush
Tuning slide grease (Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great)
Polishing Cloth

Baritone/Euphonium Accessories
Valve Oil (Marshall Music brand is good!)
Mouthpiece brush
Tuning slide grease (Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great)
Polishing Cloth

Tuba Accessories
Valve Oil (Marshall Music brand is good!)
Mouthpiece brush
Tuning slide grease (Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great)
Polishing Cloth

6th Grade:  Essential Elements Book 1
7th Grade:  Essential Elements Book 2
8th Grade:  Sound Innovations for Intermediate Concert Band

Google Calendar

Class Expectations

In order for each performing ensemble to reach its potential, there must be a set of guidelines to follow.  The expectations insure that everyone has an equal chance to participate and learn. 


1. ALWAYS be prepared (music, instrument, supplies)

2. Pay Attention (make eye contact)

3. Respect others (self and personal property)

4. Be positive

Expectation Violations:

Þ Students will lose one classroom engagement point

Þ Two or more violations during one class period:  students will lose all classroom engagement points  

Þ Student develops a pattern of breaking classroom expectations:  the student will be sent to the SSR (Student Support Room) and contact will be made with parent. 

No instrument in class:

-First Incident: verbal warning, student loses three classroom engagement points

-Continuous incidents:  students will lose daily classroom engagement points & will be sent to the Student Support Room

Touching another instrument:

NEVER touch an instrument that is not yours (this includes placing cases, books, etc. on another instrument, such as the xylophone or timpani)


     · Students loses all classroom engagement points


Band Awards & Recognition

Many of our WMS Band Students will be recognized at the end of the year with the following awards:

  1. 7th & 8th Grade—The Instrumentalist Magazine Musicianship & Merit award—given in recognition of outstanding musicianship and distinguished musical contributions.
  2. 8th Grade—Director’s Award-given to the outstanding eighth grade musician who exhibits dedication and motivation to the field of music and who possesses strong musicianship.
  3. 8th Grade-MSBOA Scholar-Instrumentalist Award-given to an eighth grade student who possesses strong musicianship and excels academically at WMS.
  4. 8th Grade-William “Bill” Short Memorial Band Award-given to an outstanding 8th grade student who demonstrates excellent musicianship and service to the band program.
  5. Jazz Band—Woody Herman Jazz Award-given to the outstanding eight grade musician who exhibits dedication and motivation in the field of jazz music and who expresses strong musicianship skills.
  6. 6th, 7th & 8th Grade—Band Olympian Medals (see below)-Given to those students who consistently perform at a high level on playing assignments.


Concert Uniforms


The 7th & 8th grade students will wear the following at all performances:

  • Blue polo shirt (will be ordered through the              band program in late September)  
  • Black dress pants (absolutely NO jeans) & dress socks
  • Black dress shoes (absolutely NO athletic shoes)
Polo Shirt orders will begin in late September.  The shirts are approximately $12 and will be ordered directly through our vendor in Paw Paw.

The 6th grade students will wear the following at all performances:

Girls  - a dressnice skirt (knee length or longer) or dress pants, blouse or nice sweater, dress shoes.

Boys  - dress pants (NO jeans), nice shirt (a tie if you would like, dress shoes (NO athletic shoes).

6th grade students should dress as if they are attending a fancy wedding or restaurant.







Practice doesn’t make perfect, however, it makes our young musicians really good! 
Please encourage your child to practice both at home and before/after school as much as possible.  The students can also practice during the Extended Time & Support (XTS) period we hold at the end of the day.  Ideally, your child should practice 70-100 minutes per week…or more!  It’s a great idea to keep track of it at home.  Post the record in a high traffic area, such as on a refrigerator or on a desk.  Our younger students will struggle at first!  You may hear some scary sounds for the first few months!  It will get better…and fast!  For our older students, practicing is a important part in our musical development.  Even the best musicians in the world practice. 

A common complaint about practicing is that the students do not have enough time.  Parents, you can help your child by setting aside a block of time in the evenings.  The students can practice for 10 minutes when they get home, 10 minutes before dinner and 10 minutes before they go to sleep.  The time adds up quickly.  

Parents, you can help your child succeed by creating a “practice room.”  Perhaps your child can use a spare bedroom.  It should be a quiet space free of distractions.  Make sure your child has a good chair and a wire (portable) music stand. 


Band Jam!

Band Jam is our after-school practice club.  The club meets on Tuesday & Thursday, from 2:40-3:25.

Band Jam is open to any West Middle School band student.

The purpose of Band Jam is for students to seek extra help from Mr. Kozian!

No signup is neccassry!  Just show up & practice!

Instrument Repair

Your child's instrument will break and need repair this year!   Please have your child bring the instrument to me first.  If I am unable to repair it, I will tell you or your child to then bring it to one of the following locations:

Marshall Music & Meyer Music Rentals

Instruments do need repair and maintenance from time to time.  If your child’s instrument is in need of repair and you are renting an instrument from  either Marshall or Meyer Music, it should be taken to one of those stores immediately. 

Marshall Music Hours:  M-Fr 11:00a-6:00p,  Saturday, 11am-3p.

Meyer Music Hours:  M-Tr, 10:00a-6:00p; Fr & Sat, 10-5:00p.  

I own my instrument!  Where should I take it?

Tim Richmond is a local expert on instrument repair.  He is the former head of the repair department at Marshall Music and does great work.  This is a great resource for families that OWN a musical instrument.  His number is 679-4585.  You will need to take your child’s instrument to his home in Schoolcraft.