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Welcome to the Kearney Band Program!

This handbook is designed to serve as a resource for students and their families as they become acquainted with the band program at Kearney High School.  Please take a few moments to read this together, and more importantly, save it for future reference.  This handbook will contain general information about the program.  Specific information regarding the classes you take will be in the class syllabi.  Make sure you also read the schedule of events at the end because it contains some important dates and times.

Our Vision is as simple as a few words

  • Commitment – we value the time and energy it takes to endure through hard times in order for us to hold fast to the great traditions of the past while pursuing a great vision for the future.
  • Perfection – we strive for musical and professional standards that require the best from everyone.  We need to stay true to our craft and work together to get there.
  • Heart – we pursue our vision with passion, soul, and class as we train students to be the best person they can be and produce music that moves people.

…simply put


National Standards

There is an inherent value to music education and it is therefore important in a student’s education.  To this end you will find listed below the nine national standards for music education that were created by the National Music Educators Association to ensure all students receive a well-balanced music education.  These standards will be used as a guideline in teaching our students.

The Nine National Standards Include:

  1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music 
  2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music 
  3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
  4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines 
  5. Reading and notating music 
  6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music 
  7. Evaluating music and music performances 
  8. Understanding relationships between music, other arts, and disciplines outside the arts 
  9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture

Notice of Photography and Likeness Usage

Your child will have their picture taken by members of the KBPA and the Band Directors, and those photos may be used for band related social media, fundraising and marketing, and other internal presentations or slideshows. Any usage would be in line with the Kearney Public Schools and Kearney High School activity guidelines. If you would like to decline the use of your child’s likeness for these purposes, please inform the band directors of your request and all efforts will be taken to remove your child’s likeness from any direct appearances in the photos used. Any large group photos (e.g. full band on field or in parade formation, partial group photos where faces are not clearly visible) present an instance where it may not be feasible to remove any person’s likeness. If a future photo is found on the Kearney Band website or in other locations, please submit a request for removal through the Kearney Band website.


The Kearney High Band is a management system called Charms.  Charms will allow parents and students to access much of the information related to your participation in our organization including (but not limited to):

  • Student account information
  • Band uniform numbers
  • Form submission
  • Attendance
  • Communication
  • Online store and account balances

You can access your Charms account through their website, Charms, clicking on the Enter/Login button in the upper right corner, and entering our school code: kearneyHSband.  You will be prompted to enter the student’s school ID number to enter the secure portion of the site.  Please access Charms frequently to remain up-to-date with your account details.

List of Ensembles

Wind Ensemble – This group is the top performing ensemble in the Kearney band program.  The music is difficult and musical independence is a must.  We perform throughout the school year.  The Wind Ensemble is open to students in grades 10-12.  Participation in marching band and pep band is a requirement for this class.

Symphonic Band –  This group is open to all KHS instrumentalists and explores a slightly easier repertoire than Wind Ensemble.  However, musical excellence and hard work are musts as we strive for great performance every time we play together.  Members are also required to participate in the marching band and the pep band. Symphonic Band is open to students in 9th– 12th grade.

Concert Band  – This ensemble is a chance for younger students to continue to develop and refine his/her skills as an instrumentalist. While the performance standards of this group remain high the literature will be slightly easier than the other groups.  There will also be opportunity for students in Concert Band to gain jazz experience throughout the year.  Concert Band is open to students in grades 9-11.  Participation in marching band and pep band is a requirement for this class.

Jazz Lab Band – This group is the entry level group for students wishing to gain experience in a jazz group.  The class provides students the opportunity to become familiar with jazz basics in playing demands, styles, and techniques.  Although the group will perform at concerts and some community events, the course objective is to teach students a basic fundamental knowledge of how to read, understand, and play jazz music and a rudimentary understanding of the history of jazz.  Students must be enrolled in either Concert Band or Symphonic Band or have special permission from the instructor.

Jazz Ensemble – The next level of the jazz experience in the KHS band program.  Students will be expected to perform difficult music at a high level and have an opportunity to play throughout the community.  Subjects covered will be a variety of musical styles, jazz harmony and theory, improvisation, and jazz history.  Jazz band is open to 11th and 12th graders and is limited to traditional jazz band instrumentation.  Members of the jazz band will be required to be enrolled in marching band and one of the concert bands. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the director. 

Marching Band – The marching band serves as an educational tool to teach students the challenge of marching and playing as while improving basic instrumental technique.  It also represents the KHS band program at band competitions, parades, and home football games.  This ensemble meets from 7-8 every morning during the first academic quarter.  Each year we will put on a show for all home football games and compete in several statewide competitions.  Attendance at band camp in early August is mandatory.  Marching band is open to students in grades 9-12 and it is required that a student be enrolled in marching band AND a performing ensemble at Kearney High.

Perc. Tech – Percussion Technique is a class designed to engage and grow the developing percussionist. Subjects covered will range from marching percussion to 4 mallet technique and everything in between. Perc. Tech. will meet during the first academic semester only and will take the place of the students concert band class during that semester. Students will then join their assigned concert band second semester. 

Pep Band – A great chance to have fun playing music and encouraging our sports teams at KHS.  Rehearsals will be worked into the regular band day and participation is a must for all KHS band members.  There will be two equal but separate bands, the Blue Band and the Gold Band, and the two groups will equally split the time commitments.  If a student needs to miss a given pep band performance then he or she will need to find a substitute from the other band.

AP Music Theory – An upper level course for students interested in pursuing music at the college level or who have a strong desire to get more into the theory behind music.  Topics will include music theory, harmonic and melodic dictation, analysis, and much more.  Music Theory is offered as a block course in the second semester.  Students will have the opportunity to take the AP Music Theory Exam and have a chance to earn college credit through the process.

Color Guard – This group is a part of the Bearcat Marching Band and rehearses with the band during the morning marching band rehearsals.  There is also a required practice(s) outside the school day that will be determined by the group before school starts.  Color Guard is open to anyone in the school.  Attendance at all marching band performances is required.


On the schedule of events, the times listed are the start times for concerts and games.  For football and basketball games, the students will be expected to arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.  For concerts, the students will be expected to arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance.  Failure to arrive on time will result in a lowering of participation points.

Behavior Expectations

Classroom time is precious.  It is a combination of learning new things and reviewing the old.  It  is important to have a quiet and attentive room.  It is expected that all students will respect everyone’s right to learn in a positive and effective atmosphere. 

We seek to encourage students to always reach for that next level. A band is as good as its weakest member and so we want to see every person adding their very best effort to each rehearsal and performance.  Students are expected to be positive, encouraging, participating members of the musical group.

General Band Rules

  • Chewing gum in NOT PERMITTED during any rehearsal or performance
  • NO food or drink is allowed in the band room
  • A band member must RESPECT his/her uniform at all time (this includes hanging it up)
  • Be in your seat, warmed up, and ready to begin BEFORE class starts
  • Respect other people’s’ property
  • “PDA” is not allowed on band time – no one wants to see it
  • A band member will not wear jewelry, fingernail polish, or excessive makeup while in uniform.  
  • NEVER disrespect another band or its members!
  • Show RESPECT to all directors, administrators, teachers, staff, and parents – at ALL TIMES.
  • Keep your language CLEAN!  You never know who is listening
  • Remember that you are a CLASS ACT.  Do not do anything that would jeopardize that.
  • Always conduct yourselves as ladies and gentlemen!


Participation in school activities is encouraged and desirable for all students.  At the same time, the primary mission and responsibility for each student is to establish a firm academic foundation.  A student participating in school activities must show evidence of sincere effort towards scholastic achievement.  To be eligible for participation in activities, students must:

  • Be enrolled in at least 20 credit hours in the semester of participation.  Homeschool students must be enrolled in no less than 5 credit hours for participation.
    • If a student is failing more than ONE class they will be ruled ineligible for that week. Courses will be reviewed weekly on Monday morning.
    • A student who is failing more than one class at reporting times will be ineligible to participate in extracurricular activity contests or performances until the next reporting time. 
    • Any exceptions for participation will be determined on a case-by-case basis with final determination made by the Principal or the Athletic Director.
  • Academic requirements do not apply to:
    • Instructional field trips which are part of the scheduled course learning experience
  • Eligibility criteria for part-time students is governed by policy 5004, NSAA bylaws, and state law.

Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Vaping/E-Cigarette (from the Activities Director): 

  • In general, avoid any trouble by staying away from any of these illegal substances for high school students.
  • Behavioral expectations and prohibitions apply 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, in and out of the specific extracurricular season, and on or off KPS grounds.  
  • Violations will be recorded from the start of the freshmen season through graduation. 
    • Example: A student is caught with alcohol twice during their freshman season and again during their junior season. 
    • Result: The junior season consequence would reflect a third offense for alcohol possession/use.
  • Further detailed information can be found in the Student Activities Handbook.


As with everything else in life, success takes work.  No matter how easily music comes to you, the success of the Kearney band program will depend on each student to do his/her part by practicing and improving his/her craft. However, it should not be done all at once, but rather broken up into many shorter sessions.  These sessions should be spaced throughout the day and the week.  Don’t think that if you practice five hours on Monday you are done for the whole week.  We would rather see you practice one hour each day five days a week.  That is where improvement is made.  

Break your practicing times into three or four shorter sessions:

Session 1 – long tones, scales, lip slurs, or other exercises that relate to the fundamental skills of playing your instrument.  

Session 2 – etudes out of books purchased at the music store, old etudes from your band book, or any other exercise that get you playing music that is designed to work on other specific musical skills.  For example, if you need to work on playing smoothly in one of the pieces from band, find an etude that focuses on legato playing.  

Session 3 –  you should get your band or solo music out and find spots that you are having difficulty with or spots that the director told you to look over and play them several times, several different ways.  Change the articulations, the rhythm or something else to get you practicing different parts of the music while still keeping it interesting.  This is called “varied repetition.”  Another method would be to identify a difficult part and then slow it down to a speed where you can perfectly play that passage.  Once this is accomplished, gradually speed the tempo back up.  This process is called “woodshedding.” You are preparing to hone in your performance skills by being ready to give your best performance. Follow the steps above in preparing your solo or ensemble music and when you are all done you will feel satisfied and you will have begun to improve as a musician!

Find a spot in your house where you can practice without disturbing others.  Some ideal places to practice might be a bedroom, rec room, study, or family room.  If you don’t have a place to practice at home, the band room will always be open before, during, and after school.  Just ask a teacher about setting up a time.

What to have in your practice area:

  • A good chair for proper posture (don’t practice on the couch or edge of your bed)
  • A music stand
  • A sharp pencil (no pens!)
  • Good lighting
  • A metronome to help you keep the beat (not a requirement, but a good idea)
  • Plenty of music to play


Concert attendance

Concerts are the culmination of all of your work in music class.  It is an important part of the learning process to perform a concert to show the public what you have been working on and to give you a chance to step on stage.  Concert attendance is mandatory.

Conflicts with the concert schedule should be brought to the attention of the director as soon as possible along with a note from the parents. It is important that we are all there to have the best performance possible.  Below are a list of some excusable and unexcusable absences…  

Excusable absences:

  • Sick from school
  • Death in the family
  • Important family engagement (i.e. wedding)
  • Some school activities (given two weeks notice – in writing and a converstaion with the director and coach about a possible resolution)

Un-excusable absences:

  • Homework (you must learn to manage your time well)
  • Attending a rock concert or sporting event
  • Birthday
  • Work
  • Didn’t have a ride (your section leader will be happy to help arrange a ride)
  • School activities that are not given two weeks notice (compare your band schedule with your activity schedule and look ahead.  Coming to me the day before a concert will not be excusable!)
  • Any other reason you are not there

Students may be excused from a concert for excusable absences listed above, however, those missed points must be made up in order to receive credit.  The make up work, while not sufficient to substitute for a performance, will be a choice of a graded performance of the concert for the director or to write a three page paper on a topic of the directors’ choice.  Points will not be awarded for unexcusable absences and will result in a lowered grade.

Concert Behavior

For the Audience

It is up to each individual to be polite and respectful to the performers on stage.  Below are some guidelines to keep in mind while in attendance at a concert:

  • No talking during the performance of music
  • Please clap after the performance of a piece, however it is impolite to clap in between movements of a multimovement work.  Please wait until the entire piece has been performed.
  • Refrain from moving about in the concert hall.  If you must leave, wait until the appropriate time in between pieces of music.
  • If you happen to be late to a concert, wait until the current piece is over to take your seat.
  • Please don’t take pictures during the performance.  It is distracting to the performers.

For Musicians

  • Be on time and in the right outfit
  • Treat the concert as an important event
  • Behave and perform with dignity and grace
  • Be gracious in receiving applause from the audience (smile)
  • EVERYONE help in setting things up and tearing things down

Thank you in advance for making each concert a special moment for the students.

Concert Dress

Students performing in concerts should look neat and clean.  Special consideration should be made in the length and appearance of dresses and skirts.  Remember that you will be up on stage.  The bottom line is we want you to look your best for your friends and families as you perform.  You will receive more instruction from your individual music teacher.  


A student’s grade will be based on a combination of three main areas based on the Nebraska Fine Arts Standards (adopted in 2014):

  • Create – chamber group participation, music theory/composition, attitude, effort, attendance
  • Perform – scales, technical exercises, band music
  • Respond – Concert review, concerts, written tests 

The specific point break down will be assigned and communicated in the individual class syllabus, but you should remember that grades serve as a means of communication to you, the student and parent, on behalf of the teacher.  It is our way of evaluating how well you are understanding what we are trying to teach you, communicate and motivate you to do better, and then assess the progress made toward the learning goal.  Trying your best everyday is a must!

In terms of how we will evaluate the performing side of what we do there are a variety of rubrics that we will use to evaluate playing tests.  Those rubrics will be communicated to the students before the start of the test.

School Instrument Usage and Music Fees

KHS has a limited number of instruments that can be used by students (i.e. tuba, baritone saxophone, etc).  In order to maintain these instruments and help pay for the purchase of more instruments in the future, there is a small fee of $120.00 per year  for all students who wish to use a school instrument.  Percussionists will be required to pay the same fee in order to play the school’s percussion instruments The rental fee and agreement form must be turned in 30 days after the beginning of each semester.  Color Guard will need to pay a rental fee of $60 per year for the use of equipment. If this fee presents a problem for any reason, please see Mr. LeFeber or Mr.Mitchell and an arrangement will be worked out.  We want all students to have an opportunity to participate in band. 

As with all school property, the maintenance and responsibility will be the student’s while he/she has possession of the instrument.  If anything were to happen to the instrument while in the care of the student, that student will be required to pay for any damages that may have occurred.  There is also the expectation that a student will provide his/her own consumable accessories (i.e. reeds, sticks, valve oil, grease, etc.).


Refer to the official lettering information and form on

Purchasing/Renting Instruments and Recommended Supplies

Band students are expected to supply their instruments as well as all the supplies needed to maintain them. A complete recommended supply list can be found at the band website.  Students may also consider purchasing additional music above and beyond the band music.  This can be anything from fun pop songs to serious solos intended to take the student to the next level.

Recommended instrument accessories and supplies

Instrument — Accessory or supply — Notes & Recommendations

  • Brass
    • Mutes: straight or cup
    • Cleaning brushes: mouthpiece & bore brush
    • Valve oil: any kind will work
    • Tuning slide grease: lanolin oils are best
    • Mouth pieces
      • Trumpet: Back 5C or 3C
      • Trombones: 61/2 AL (no 12Cs)
  • Trombone additions
    • Slide oil or slide cream: for trombones only; consider Slide-O-Mix
    • Spray bottle: use distilled water
  • Woodwinds
    • Reeds:
      • Must have minimum of 4 good reeds at all times
      • Rotate reeds to extend useable life out of each
      • Clarinet or Saxophone
        • Brands to consider: La Voz, Rico Royal, Van Doren
        • Strengths:
          • Beginners: 2 to 2 1/2
          • Intermediates: 2 1/2 to 3
          • Advanced: 3 or higher
    • Double reeds
      • Must have minimum of 2 reeds at all times
      • Brands to consider: Jones, Selmer, Lecher (‘fiber cane’ for beginners, but for limited time)
    • A reed guard to protect the reeds
    • Cork grease
    • Cleaning swab for clarinets and flutes
    • Polishing cloth for keys and flute bodies

Care & Maintenance of Instruments

Instrument — Accessory or supply — Notes & Recommendations

  • Woodwinds
    • Each time you play: Swab instrument completely dry, remove reed, and wipe dry
    • Once a week: Check reed supplies and purchase additional if needed
    • Once a year: General maintenance review and service by instrument repair shop
  • Brass
    • Once a week: Oil valves, wipe clean with clean cloth
    • Once a month: Bath in water (ask a director for instructions)
    • Once a year: General maintenance review and service by instrument repair shop