HHS Band Handbook (PDF)

Academic Mission

The academic mission of the Harrisburg High School is to afford students the opportunity to become independent decision-makers. To reach this expectation, students will become creative problem-solvers, informed and responsible citizens, quality communicators, curious observers, 21st century prepared consumer, and appreciative participants of fine arts and wellness.

Course Description

The High School Band program offers many different ensembles and performing opportunities. Band members are required to participate in the marching band, pep band, concert band, and small ensembles. Students also have the opportunity to participate in jazz band, rock ensemble, several area honor bands, and other small ensembles. Band students are encouraged to audition for the SD All-State ensembles and participate in the Region II solo/small ensemble contest. Individual instruction is available to all band members and is strongly encouraged, although not required.

Course Objectives

  • To teach music through performance
  • To develop an appreciation for the unique aesthetic experience created by music
  • To provide group experiences leading to the development of Esprit de Corps, work ethic, and self-discipline
  • To promote and foster good citizenship and virtues of ethical and moral behavior

Grading Policy Grades will be calculated based on the following:

    • 40% – Participation
      • This portion of the grade involves being prepared for class: having all necessary materials, practicing music outside of class (other classes call this homework!), following the expectations outlined below.
    • 20% – Playing Assessment
      • Throughout the year students will be asked to perform various playing assessments: i.e. – scales, passages from music in rehearsal, lessons, etc.
    • 40% – Performance
      • This class is based on the principle of teaching music through performance. It is imperative that students attend performances. Performances throughout the year are categorized into two groups: Formal Performances and Informal Performances.

Formal Performances (20% of performance grade)

  • Formal Performances are mandatory and include: all concert band and marching band performances.

Informal Performances (20% of performance grade)

  • Students must be present at 80% of the informal performances each semester to receive full credit. Informal performances are generally limited to pep band (excluding state events). Attendance of less than 80% will be deducted proportionally from the student’s overall performance assessment.


  • Any absence from an informal performance must be approved at least 2 days prior to the performance. Students are responsible for submitting an “absence request” to the director within the allotted time frame. Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence.
  • In the rare occasion a student is excused from a formal performance, an alternate performance will be required to receive credit.
  • Any unexcused absence from either a formal or informal performance will result in a reduction of the student’s performance grade.
  • Absence due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. serious illness, family emergency, etc.) will not result in a grade reduction. An alternate performance may be required.


Be prepared for rehearsal and performances

  • Arrive early enough to be in place, with all necessary equipment and materials, BEFORE the scheduled starting time.
  • Ensure your equipment is in proper working order – replacing reeds, oiling valves, etc, should be done before the start of a rehearsal or performance.
  • Make sure you have your instrument, music, pencil, and other items (mutes, etc.) necessary for rehearsal
  • Never be an obstacle to the success of others. Individual practice should take place on your time – rehearsal time is limited and should be used for ensemble rehearsal.

Be actively and intently involved in the rehearsal.

  • Just “going through the motions” during rehearsal is as bad as not being there. Always be engaged in rehearsal.
  • Members are expected to give their utmost effort during rehearsal in the pursuit of excellence in performance – anything less is cheating your peers and yourself.

Bring a positive attitude

  • Disrespect towards directors and students will undermine the success of the ensemble.
  • Negative comments quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies – Remember, whether you think you can or you can’t…. You are probably correct.
  • Offer encouragement to your peers, instead of criticism.
  • Leadership occurs by example – PERIOD!

Uniforms Marching Uniform

  • The school district will provide uniform jackets, trousers, hats, uniform bag, and hat box for student use. Students are held personally and financially responsible for the uniform components issued to them. The cost of repairing any damage to the uniforms resulting from misuse or neglect will be the responsibility of the student. Full replacement cost of a uniform exceeds $500 – Please treat the uniforms with care!
  • Students will be responsible for purchasing black marching shoes, black socks, and black gloves to complete the marching uniform. The shoes and gloves can be ordered through the school. An order form will be sent home shortly after the start of the marching season.
  • Uniforms are to be transported in a uniform bag. Shoes must not be placed in the bag with the uniform.
  • Please ensure your uniform fits properly! Trousers should be long enough to brush the tops of shoes – they should not “puddle” around the feet or be too short (“high-water”).
  • When performing in uniform, hair must be up and off of the collar.
  • Color Guard uniforms are to be worn in the prescribed manner. Members of the Color Guard are also required to provide appropriate footwear. Make-up, jewelry, and hairstyle are as much a part of the uniform as the uniform itself. Guidelines regarding these items will be established at the start of the marching season.
  • Uniforms will be turned in the week following the final performance of the season. Students are responsible for turning in all school-issued components of the uniform, along with payment to cover the cost of having the uniform dry-cleaned.
  • Please remember that when you are in uniform, you are no longer just an individual, but a representative of our band, school, and community.

Concert Uniform Concerts are an opportunity for students to showcase their talents, and therefore it is imperative that students are dressed appropriately. In order to facilitate a proper appearance all band students in grades 9-12 will wear Concert Black for all concert performances. This creates a professional appearance fitting of the level at which the students will be performing. Concert Black consists of:

  • Guys: Black button down long-sleeve shirt (no t-shirts), black dress pants (no jeans), black socks, black shoes.
  • Girls: Black Shirt, black dress pants or black skirt, black shoes

Chair Placement Students will be placed in chairs for concert band based on the results of the chair placement audition held during the first week of concert band rehearsals. No preference will be given to chair assignment based on grade level. If a student is unhappy with their chair placement, there will be a limited time during which they may challenge the person seated above them. In order to challenge, the challenging student must complete a challenge form and return it to the director. The challenge must be completed in 3 school days. If a student refuses a challenge, they will immediately switch chairs with the challenging student. Letter Points While the core requirements of band are part of the curriculum, many of the additional opportunities presented to students are considered extra-curricular. Therefore it is possible for students to letter in band. Letter points will be awarded based on the following:

  • Years in band: 10 points per year maximum
  • All-State Band Audition: 30 points maximum
  • Acceptance into All State Band: 50 points maximum
  • Performing a solo at contest: 30 points maximum
  • Performing in an ensemble at contest: 20 points maximum
  • Performing in an honor band: 10 points maximum per event
  • Misc. points to cover events/activities not included above: 20 points maximum

Students must have a minimum of 50 letter points to letter in band.

Schedules will be available on the band website (www.harrisburgband.org) no later than the first week of each semester. These schedules are subject to change – any changes to the schedule will be posted on the band website.

Instrument Rental
The Harrisburg School District does have some instruments available for students to rent. Instrument rental is generally limited to the larger instruments (tuba, euphonium, etc.) and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please see the director if you are interested in renting an instrument from the school district.

Financial Assistance
Any student or family having difficulty meeting the financial obligations to participate due to economic hardship may submit a request to the office for assistance. Harrisburg High School will make every effort to aid all who wish to participate in any activity, the opportunity to do that without financial hardship.