We will usually have a couple of days of summer band after freshman camp and then we will reconvene again in July. Freshmen report two days earlier than the rest of the band. Band student leadership also attends the Freshman practices. They will re-learn those basics and start to refine them. This is a good time for them to get to know their section leaders and each other.
Once full band starts, then the outside time starts! Woodwind and brass students will be outside for a couple of hours each day. They do half a day outside and then after lunch they spend time working on music inside. Percussion kids usually stay inside the first week or so and then go outside.
Note that when it says practice starts at 7 a.m., that means students are at the school with their instruments and ready to start at 7 a.m. Warm-up time starts about 10 minutes before 7 a.m. So plan to be at CHS no later than 6:45 am. The drum majors and upperclassmen will be available to show the kids where to go.
Consider forming carpools with other band families in your neighborhood. The kids like riding together and it keeps you from driving back and forth every day.
As a reminder, there is NO additional cost with the summer camps; financial commitments are reviewed at the Parent Meeting.
If your child is unable to make any practice for any reason, an email should be sent to Mr. Skembos, at firstname.lastname@example.org and they should also tell their section leader(s).
Things They Need
Have your student pack their stuff the night before. No running around in the morning trying to find a hat or sunscreen! Make sure your student has the following when they walk out the door for camp:
Instrument (except school issued) and any necessary parts (reeds, etc.)
Water jug (filled with ¾ ice, and the rest with water)
Small Snack (the kids will have short breaks during the day and are encouraged to bring a snack)
Hat/visor & sunglasses
Tennis shoes and socks (no flip flops or crocks)
Light colored athletic clothing (dry weave shirts are great for pulling sweat away from body)
During the school year, they will wear their practice shirts for all practices.
Sunscreen (apply at home but bring with them to reapply as needed)
CISD Physical form, unless they already turned theirs in
The Heat is ON!
We highly recommend NO DAIRY products for breakfast (No milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.). Dairy + exercising in the heat can cause an upset stomach. It will be HOT outside. One way to get a good start each morning is to drink at least 8 oz of water before leaving the house. They need to drink lots of water after they come home too and this will help them to be ready for the next day. The Houston Chronicle ran a story a while back about ways to stay safe in the heat. Here is the link: Keeping it cool in extreme heat
Summer practice can be a difficult time. It’s miserably hot, the instruments are heavy, and learning to march and play at the same time is challenging. As freshman, some of the kids struggle through that first summer and worry that they would never be able to do this. It is hard for us parents to see them come home so dejected some days. A few kids are natural marchers and “get it” from the beginning, but the majority feel like they have two left feet. One day, you will be so happy to see a huge grin on their face, proudly proclaiming that they marched the show without making any mistakes. After that, their confidence level soars. You can help your kids by just encouraging them to hang in there and keep trying. We promise, it is worth the hard work. Working toward a common goal through adverse conditions bonds a group together. They will soon start to feel like one big family and some of the friendships your kids are about to make will last through high school and beyond.
We have heard all!
It’s too hot.
I don’t want to get up that early.
I don’t understand what the band director wants me to do.
I’ll never be able to march AND play.
None of my friends are here and I don’t know these kids.
Hang in there, and encourage your kids to do the same. After the first week or so, it will start to get easier.
In addition to the Band Notes email coming out each week, the kids communicate among themselves too. Most of the sections use some kind of group chat as a means to communicate within their section. It is also a good way for them to all get to know each other. So, if your child comes home asking to install a new chat app on their phone, that is probably why.
This is also a good time to mention that many of the sections like to get together to hang out and bond as a section. Some go to lunch at a restaurant, some go to one of the upperclassmen’s houses, and some go to parks. It can be nerve-wracking to send your freshman off with kids they (and you!) don’t know, sometimes without direct adult supervision. The upper-class students are pretty good at watching out for freshmen.
It is always ok to find out as many details of their group time as you can. It is also ok to call one of the other parents in your section! We all understand how it feels when our babies are going off to the big unknown that is high school!
The uniform committee will begin fitting incoming freshmen during summer band. The students will be called in from practice to be fitted. They fit the jackets, bibbers (pants), and shako (hat). There are several parents on the uniform committee. This is also a great way for parents to get involved and meet the kids.
Getting A Spot In The Marching Show
A "Dot" is the positioning for each student during the show. These are very important for them to learn where to march to. Most students use the UDB app on their phones to see where their marching show dot is, but some without phones print dot sheets. You may want to make copies of those dot sheets.
There is technically a “varsity” and “JV” team, though sometimes it is hard to see which is which. Usually, if you get a “dot” in the competition show you are on the varsity team. If you have a dot only in the show that is performed at football games, this is the JV team. This is not always indicative of their musical or marching abilities or their behavior. It sometimes is as simple as they only have room for xx number of that instrument in the design of the show. Those on the JV team DO march at games, but at competitions, they help with getting the props and pit equipment onto the field. The JV team will still rehearse with the band, travel to all football games and competitions, and perform in the stands with the band. Also, as the season progresses there are sometimes changes between students that are varsity and JV.
During the summer (generally one day in the week right before school starts) we will have a Photo Day. Photos will start around 1:00 pm and a schedule will be sent out listing the time that each section will have their pictures made. The kids will be in full uniform. That means they will need to bring their long black socks. Individual pictures as well as a section picture will be made. An order form will be sent home a few days before
At the end of the last morning practice of the summer, right before the first week that they switch to the afternoon practices, the kids will get to experience a special, longstanding summer band tradition. We try to keep it a secret from the freshman, but some of them will find out anyway. Your students will want to stay an extra 15-20 minutes after practice ends. If you want to see the fun, arrive before noon and bring your camera. Oh, and you might want to bring some towels and possibly a change of clothes for your student!
Remember, once school starts, the kids only march in September, October and the first week or so of November. You and your students will look back and be amazed at how quickly the time passed. Ask any band family that has been coming back year after year. Band is worth the effort!
In the words of one of our past Band Council President; “When I look back on my four years, I don’t remember the hours I studied in my room or the things I did each day in class. I remember the electrifying feeling of stepping onto the field.”