You can use the links below to navigate the handbook.
The purpose of this handbook is to outline the policies, procedures, and expectations of our organization. Please take the time to read and familiarize yourself with its contents. While we have done our best to provide the most comprehensive overview of our program and our expectations, please know that it is impossible to address every single detail. If you have questions that are not addressed in this handbook, please email us and we would be happy to answer them.
With over 200 students, the Berry Miller Junior High Band is the student organization on campus. Since its inception in 2008, the Berry Miller Band Program has established a tradition of excellence and success having earned consistent Superior Ratings at UIL Concert & Sight Reading. The Honors band has placed 4th and 9th in the TMEA Honor State Band Competition (in 2019 and 2017, respectively) and was invited to perform at the 2018 National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis. The Honors Band and Symphonic Band have been selected as National Winners in the Mark of Excellence and Citation of Excellence competitions, sponsored by the Foundation for Music Education. The Honors Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band 1, and Concert Band 2 consistently earn “Best in Class” at local festivals and showcases. For every year since 2012, Berry Miller has had more students earn spots in the All-Region and All-District Bands than any other school in Region 19 — which includes all schools from Pearland ISD, La Porte ISD, Barbers Hill ISD, and Deer Park ISD.
Our goal as music educators is to help our students develop a life-long love and appreciation of music. We accomplish this mainly through performance — teaching students to perform at their highest possible level. We know that not every student will pursue music as a career; however, it is our hope that by holding themselves to a high standard in music our students will develop other valuable life-skills such as self-discipline, time management, collaboration, accountability, perseverance, and much more.
Parental support is a fundamental component of student success inside and outside the classroom. Furthermore, it is also a vital part of any successful school organization. We rely on parents not only to reinforce good habits in our students but also to help out with the band program directly. There will several opportunities throughout the year for parents to volunteer, chaperone, help out at concerts, etc. If you are interested in being a chaperone on a trip, please make sure to register as a volunteer with Pearland ISD.
Email is the best way to contact us!
Since we work at more than one campus, we will not always be available by phone. Furthermore, when we are at school, we are almost always actively teaching. If needed, you may email us arrange a time speak by phone. Our emails are listed below.
Director of Bands
Assistant Director of Bands
Assistant Director of Bands
Director of Percussion
We do our best to get important information out as quickly as possible. We primarily do this through mass emails — sent out through Charms. Skyward does not give us enough flexibility when sending out class emails. For example, we may need to communicate information that is only relevant to one particular instrument or section such as Symphonic Band oboes.
Because we use Charms as our primary means of disseminating information, it is absolutely imperative that we have the most accurate contact information for you on file. Please make sure to log into Charms and update your contact information — most importantly your email — so that you receive the most accurate and up to date information.
We believe that teachers and parents have a responsibility to help students develop their professional communication skills so that they can become effective communicators as adults. As such, we highly encourage students to advocate for themselves by contacting their teachers directly through Canvas or Pearland ISD Student Email if they have questions regarding their courses and assignments.
Any routine orthodontic work such as braces can pose some challenges in learning a brass or woodwind instrument. Students can get braces and still be successful on their instruments; however, we ask that you be mindful of the timing. For students who started learning an instrument without braces, it usually takes a few weeks to get adjusted to playing with braces. Likewise when braces are removed, time is required to adapt to “a new face.”
For this reason, we ask that you consider not getting braces nor removing them prior to important performances, contests, or auditions.
Please keep us informed of your plans concerning any orthodontic work. For band students, there is never a “good” time to get braces. Your band director can help you plan around important events to help your child be as successful as they can be.
The policies and procedures of the Berry Miller Junior High Band program are subject to the following governing bodies:
The fine arts are defined as part of the “required curriculum” in state law. The law distinguishes between “foundation curriculum” and “enrichment curriculum.” Foundation curriculum includes English language arts, math, science, and social studies. Enrichment curriculum includes physical education, the fine arts, and others. As part of the required curriculum, we must cover 100% of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for music. As such, band is a curricular course. However, band students do participate in extracurricular activities that are associated with the course. Here is a brief summary of which activities are considered curricular and which ones are extracurricular.
All students are required to participate in the following activities even if they may be ineligible. Furthermore, a lack of participation in band will adversely affect their band grade and could jeopardize their eligibility for extracurricular opportunities associated with band and other activities.
The following activities are considered extracurricular. As such, all students must be eligible as defined by the TEA & UIL Side-by-Side in order to participate in the following activities.
The TEA & UIL Side-by-Side states:
A student who receives, at the end of any grading period (after the first six weeks of the school year), a grade below 70 in any class (other than an identified class eligible for exemption) or a student with disabilities who fails to meet the standards in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) may not participate in extracurricular activities for three school weeks. An ineligible student may practice or rehearse, however. The student regains eligibility after the seven calendar day waiting period has ended following a grading period or the three school week evaluation period when the principal and teachers determine that he or she has earned a passing grade (70 or above) in all classes, other than those that are exempted. (p. 3)
Please see the Pearland ISD Eligibility Calendar for more details.
The band classes at Berry Miller are structured to maximize students' musical growth. We offer four levels of instruction organized by band class.
Sixth and seventh grade students audition for placement into one of these four bands at the end of every school. Eighth grade students participate in the high school audition process. Auditions will consist of music and scales. Audition music will be made available to students on a certain date (usually the beginning of May). Students will have a designated amount of time to prepare for their audition. Eighth grade audition music will be made available by the high school band directors.
Band placement is determined not only by audition results but also work ethic, reliability, attendance, citizenship, and other factors. Once posted, band placements are considered final. Students may not re-audition.
Students keep their band placement for the entire year. On occasion during the school year, it becomes apparent that another band class is more suitable for the student. In this situation, the band directors will communicate with the counselors to discuss a schedule change. Please keep in mind that factors outside the band program may also influence the possibility of a schedule change.
Band members receive a large amount of sheet music throughout the year. Being organized is crucial to success in band class; therefore, all band students are required to have a band binder whose components are:
Students will be given more details on how to organize their binder in band class. Students are expected to keep their binder organized at all times. We will conduct binder checks every few weeks.
All students must have a tuner/metronome. We highly the recommend the TonalEnergy App! The app costs $3.99 (most mechanical tuner/metronome combos can cost up to $40) and is available for iOS, Android, and Amazon Apps. Not only is the app a less expensive option, but it also has features and capabilities that no other tuner/metronome has — such as sound generation and waveform analysis.
Students who play flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, or trombone must provide their own instrument. These can be rented from a local vendor such as Music & Arts. (Hopefully, you have kept your instrument from 6th grade). We highly recommend renting instead of purchasing as instruments are covered under a Liability Damage Waiver (LDW) during the rental term.
Clarinet and saxophone players are expected to buy their own reeds and have a set of three working reeds at their disposal at any given time.
Pearland ISD does not provide insurance for personal property. See your homeowner’s insurance policy for possible coverage. You may also consider a company that specializes in musical instruments such as Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance Solutions, LLC. Students are assigned individual band lockers for use during the school day. It is the student’s responsibility to keep their instrument in their assigned locker. We recommended labeling the instrument case with your student’s name. (Luggage tags work great for this!) The band hall is always locked when directors are not present.
All personal instruments must go home every day! This is to ensure the safety of your personal property.
Pearland ISD provides instruments for students who play oboe, bassoon, horn, euphonium, or tuba for an annual rental fee of $100 payable by semester. This fee covers the cost of routine maintenance and cleaning. Students are responsible for any maintenance costs incurred due to misuse.
Oboe and bassoon players are expected to buy their own reeds (you should purchase these from your private lessons teacher) and have a set of three working reeds at their disposal at any time.
Brass players must furnish their own mouthpiece.
Important note. Per district policy, students who play school-owned instruments are required to be enrolled in private lessons.
Percussion students must provide their own sticks, mallets, and practice pad and rent a practice marimba. Since percussionists also utilize school equipment, a $50 rental fee is assessed each semester.
There are a few instruments that Pearland ISD provides that are traditionally played by students who start on their own personal instruments. These auxiliary instruments are bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone. Being asked to play an auxiliary instrument is a great honor — only entrusted to the most responsible students — as these instruments provide unique colors to the ensemble.
Beginner model instruments are great for the first year of band; however, there comes a point when students can be held back by the quality of their equipment. A step-up instrument is a higher-level — often professional — model instrument for advanced band students who play flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, or trombone. It is highly recommended that students who place in either the Honors or Symphonic band and plan on doing band in high school get a step-up instrument. While we recommend step-up instruments for advanced students, this should not discourage anyone who might be interested in them.
Finding the right step-up instrument is careful process. New and used professional models of instruments are widely available. Some possible places include local music stores such as Music & Arts, H&H, and Encore Pro. Often it is better to buy a used model in good condition of very highly quality rather than a new model of lower quality.
We encourage you to reach out to us and your private lessons teacher to help you through this process. You might even contact the high school band directors as they might have former students who are looking to sell their professional model instruments.
Students are expected to perform minor routine maintenance to keep their instruments in working condition as appropriate for their instrument. For brass players, this includes oiling valves and applying slide grease. For woodwinds, this includes (as appropriate) swabbing and applying cork grease.
If an instrument appears to malfunction, contact a band director immediately. Do not attempt to fix the instrument on your own. If a director cannot solve the problem, then we will recommend a local instrument repair shop. (This is usually the same place that you are renting the instrument from. Your rental contract should cover the repair at no charge to you.) Our local vendors usually visit our school once a week. We can have them take the instrument with them and they will call you before making any repairs. If the repair is urgent — for example, your child has a performance or audition in the next few days — we recommend taking the instrument directly to the repair shop on your own.
As stated above, if an instrument appears to malfunction, do not attempt to fix on your own. Notify a band director immediately and we will handle the repair process for school-owned instruments.
Below are a few local music stores/repair shops that we recommend.
Music & Arts — Webster
19335 Gulf Freeway 10
Webster, TX 77598
Music & Arts — Alvin
2101 SH-35 S
Alvin, TX 77511
Band Fee. All band students must pay $35 course fee. This fee is set by Pearland ISD and covers expenses such as clinicians, music, supplies, and band shirts. This fee must be paid via Skyward.
Instrument Rental Fee. As mentioned above, students who play school-owned instruments must pay an annual fee of $100. This fee must be paid via Charms. Instructions for how to pay Instrument Rental Fees can be found here.
All band students are required to have a formal uniform for concerts/performances and an informal uniform for band trips and other less formal events.
Students order the following items through our school-approved vendor. Students will be fitted for a tuxedo shirt sometime in the fall semester.
Students must purchase the following items on their own.
The informal uniform is the Berry Miller Junior High Band shirt. Every year, we purchase new shirts for the students. The band cost of the band shirt is covered by your band course fee.
Learning an instrument requires daily and consistent practice. For this reason, students will be submitting daily and weekly Practice Logs via Canvas. Practice expectations are listed below.
35 min/day or 245 min/week
Symphonic Band and Concert Band 1
30 min/day or 210 min/week
Concert Band 2
20 min/day or 140 min/week
Detailed rubrics will be made available and posted in Canvas.
Assessment is an important part of any academic class. It allows teachers to monitor students’ growth and adjust instruction as necessary. In addition to live playing tests, band students will have weekly recording assignments submitted through Canvas and SmartMusic.
Canvas is the learning management system (LMS) provided by the district. We will use Canvas to submit weekly Practice Logs, post instructional videos, and submit video recordings of playing tests. Every student in Pearland ISD should automatically have access to Canvas.
SmartMusic is a music practice and assessment software that has been purchased by the Fine Arts department. SmartMusic is unique in that it automatically grades student submissions and provides practice tools that are designed specifically for music. Students will have to set up their own SmartMusic accounts and join the correct “class” using a class code. Directors will send out class codes via email.
Sectionals are a continuation of the like-instrument class setting from the first year of band where students playing the same instrument meet once a week to rehearse and learn as a section. In sectionals, we address instrument-specific concepts that cannot be taught in the full band setting. We also reinforce and refine concepts taught in band class. Sectionals are not just extra practice; they are a fundamental component of our curriculum. It is imperative that students attend sectionals regularly and consistently in order to continue their musical growth. Sectional attendance is required for all band students and comprises a major portion of their grade.
Sectionals will begin the second week of school for Honors Band, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band 1. Concert Band 2 will begin sectionals later in the year. Concert Band 2 parents and students will be notified at least two weeks prior sectionals starting.
We understand that students participate in other activities outside of school hours and every effort will be made to accommodate their schedules; however, there will inevitably be conflicts. These conflicts will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Directors should be notified of potential conflicts via email as soon as possible.
In order to accommodate our athletes, the sectional schedule often changes when we enter a new sports season. The band directors collaborate with the coaches to ensure that students are able to participate in both band and sports. We promise that students will never miss a game nor the practice before a game.
Due to the limited amount of time we have in sectionals, we ask for your cooperation in scheduling around them. There are nine other opportunities per week for things like doctor/dentist appointments. We have only one opportunity to teach your child instrument-specific concepts. If your child misses even one sectional, then they will have missed more than 10% of the material that they will cover in one grading period. We understand that emergencies and special circumstances may arise. If this should happen, please email us as soon as possible explaining the situation and we will get back to you and make arrangements for the sectional to be made up.
Because morning sectionals for Honors and Symphonic Band extend into academic tutorial times, Honors and Symphonic Band students may be permitted to leave sectionals early to attend tutorials. Please email your sectional teacher if you are an Honors or Symphonic Band student whose academic tutorial overlaps with your sectional. We want all of our students to be academically successful!
During the course of the school year, students will periodically be required to sign up and attend a 10–15 minute individual help session called a "listening." During this time, band directors will work with the student on their region music, solos, or UIL music. This is a great opportunity for directors to given specific and individualized feedback on a student's musical growth. Listenings are required for all band students and are considered a major grade. Students will select their own listening time slots via sign-up.
According the Music TEKS, students are expected to “demonstrate appropriate concert and stage etiquette as an informed, actively involved listener and performer during live and recorded performances in a variety of settings.” Concerts represent the culmination of our students’ hard work — the goal that we’ve all been working toward in a grading period. In many ways, this is analogous to a major exam on a particular unit in a math course. As such, concert attendance is required for all band students and comprises a major portion of their grade.
Part of the Music TEKS require that students perform alone and independently. To meet these requirements, Pearland ISD hosts an annual Solo Contest for all junior high band students. Students are required to pay an accompanist fee of $25 directly to their pianist. More information about this event can be found here.
Daily grades comprise 40% of the student’s total grade. These include, but are not limited to, the following.
Major grades comprise 60% of the student’s total grade. These include, but are not limited to:
All missing/late assignments must be turned in by the end of each grading period. Assignments will not be accepted after the grading period has closed. Please take note of the dates below.
The success of any ensemble is directly dependent on the contributions and efforts of its members. Band is a collaborative effort; therefore, any student’s absence negatively affects their peers. As such, the following guidelines are put in place regarding activities outside the classroom where attendance is required.
In the event that a student must miss a scheduled rehearsal, sectional, or listening parents should notify a band director immediately via email. Absences may be excused at the discretion of the band directors under the following circumstances.
Documentation for the absence is required in order to be excused. (This can be a parent email.) Excused absences must be made up prior to the next scheduled sectional, listening, or rehearsal in order to receive full credit.
In the rare circumstance that a student must miss a scheduled performance, band directors should be notified immediately via email. Students will be given an alternative assignment.
An absence will be considered unexcused unless a student obtains prior approval from a band director. Additionally, the following reasons are not valid excuses for missing a scheduled sectional, listening, or rehearsal.
Unexcused absences may be made up for partial credit (70) and must be made up prior to the next scheduled sectional, listening, or rehearsal.
It is our goal that all band students are able to participate fully in all of their activities. As such, the band directors work closely with coaches and club sponsors to make a sectional schedule that allows students to attend everything. Please note that the sectional schedule often changes when sports seasons change because of different practice times and student participation. We guarantee that our athletes will never miss a game nor the practice before a game.
We are very fortunate to have an outstanding private lesson program at Berry Miller Junior High. Many of our teachers hold advanced degrees in music performance and are experts on their instruments. Some of our teachers even perform with professional orchestras such as the Houston Symphony! Private lessons are highly encouraged for all students regardless of their band placement. As mentioned above, students who play school-owned instruments are required to take private lessons per district policy.
Above all, a Berry Miller Junior High band student should exhibit the highest standards of character, honesty, and integrity in everything that they do. Students are expected to follow all rules, policies, and procedures in the Pearland ISD Student Handbook, the Pearland ISD Student Code of Conduct, and those set forth here in the Band Handbook.
We are very fortunate to have outstanding facilities and equipment. We want to keep everything in the best condition possible; therefore...
The following procedures will help you understand how class runs on a daily basis. Except for very infrequent/special occasions, we will be playing/rehearsing every day.
For any event associated with school, students are held to the same expectations outlined in the Pearland ISD Student Handbook, the Pearland ISD Student Code of Conduct, and the Band Handbook. Students are subject to disciplinary action for any offense committed during an event associated with the school. Students are representing Berry Miller Junior High and Pearland ISD; therefore, we expect them to take this representation seriously and be the best representatives of our school and district. Students have additional expectations while traveling and during concert performances.
It is impossible to outline every conceivable situation. As such, students are expected to use their judgement to make safe, respectful, and responsible decisions knowing that they are representing more than themselves at any event outside of school.
Per school policy, students must be physically present in the band hall by the time the tardy bell rings. (This means that their body must be beyond the doorway. Students are considered tardy even if they are only a few feet away outside the classroom.) Students who are not past the doorway by the time the tardy bell rings must then go to a tardy station for a tardy pass. This is a school-wide policy. For more information, please see the Berry Miller Junior High Student Handbook.
Students will have one minute after the tardy bell to be in their seat with all materials prepared for class. Failure to do this will result in necessary disciplinary action concerning classroom procedures.
For minor offenses, the following system will be used.
Major offenses may result in an immediate office referral or permanent removal from the band program as appropriate.
Participation on any band sponsored trip or in a performance is a privilege reserved for students who exhibit good behavior, citizenship, and teamwork. It is at the director’s discretion to remove a student from any band sponsored trip or performance who the directors believe could negatively impact the ensemble or detract from the overall experience of the trip or performance. This includes, but is not limited to:
In the event that a student is removed from a trip due to disciplinary reasons, the family will receive a full refund for the cost of the trip via Skyward. If a student is removed from a graded performance for disciplinary reasons, the student will receive an alternate assignment to earn full credit for the performance.
Band students participate in a variety of events throughout the year. Descriptions of these events can be found below. A calendar of required events will be sent out via email.
Every year the 8th grade students from Berry Miller get to perform in the stands alongside the Dawson Eagle Marching Band. All students and chaperones gain entry to the game free of charge. The uniform for the event is our band shirt and jeans. All band parents are highly encouraged to attend!
Our annual fall concert is the first major performance of the year for all members of the Berry Miller band. This performance is required for all band students and comprises a major portion of the student’s grade.
Every year we host a masterclass three weeks prior to Region Band auditions to help students prepare for the audition process. We hire highly qualified clinicians — often specialists on their instruments — to help students prepare their music and scales to the highest degree possible. This event is required for all students auditioning for Region band.
Every fall Region 19 (TMEA) — which includes all schools in Pearland ISD, La Porte ISD, Barbers Hill ISD, and Deer Park ISD — hosts auditions for placement in one of three region ensembles: Region 19 Symphonic Band, Region 19 Concert Band, and Region 19 District Band. Additionally, students who place the highest in the audition process are also selected for Region Orchestra. The Region Band process is highly competitive and students who make Region Band are among the best players of their peers. For every year since 2012, Berry Miller Junior High has had more students earn spots in Region Band than any other school in our Region.
This event is required for Berry Miller Honors Band and Symphonic students and highly encouraged for Concert Band 1 and Concert Band 2 students.
Students who earn a spot in either Region Symphonic Band or Region Concert Band are invited to participate in a Clinic & Concert. Region 19 hires among the best music educators in our state to rehearse and present a concert with the students in their bands. This is an incredible experience for students who make Region Band as they get to rehearse and perform with the best players from other schools on challenging and exciting music. Parents and family are highly encouraged to attend!
Every December we present our annual Winter Concert. This is the second major performance of the year for all Berry Miller Band students. This performance is required for all band students and comprises a major portion of the student’s grade.
Every spring the Dawson Cluster Percussion program hosts a percussion ensemble concert. This concert showcases the entire percussion program from beginner band students to high school seniors.
Students who place in the top chairs of the Region Band process are invited to perform with the Region 19 Orchestra. This invitation is one of the highest honors a junior band student can earn and is often the first time that they get to rehearse and perform with string instruments.
Performing music independently is one of the most important skills that we can develop in our students. It is also one of the TEKS for music. For this reason, Pearland ISD hosts an annual Solo & Ensemble Contest for all junior high band students. Students independently perform a piece of music alone — usually accompanied by piano — for a judge who gives them a rating based on the quality of their performance/preparation. All band students are required to perform a solo. Students must also pay a $25 fee to their accompanist for rehearsals and performance.
Every spring before course selections the Dawson High School band staff hosts an informational meeting for parents and 8th graders about high school band. We strongly encourage all 8th graders and their parents to attend before making any decisions about course selections for high school.
In preparation for the Pearland ISD Pre-UIL Contest , the Berry Miller bands will perform a Practice UIL Concert. The purpose of this concert is to give students additional performance experience before attending the district Pre-UIL contest and to give parents another opportunity to hear our UIL program since Pre-UIL is often during the school day. This event is required for Honors Band, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band 1 students. All parents are highly encouraged to attend.
In preparation for UIL Concert & Sight Reading Evaluation, Pearland ISD hosts a Pre-UIL Contest for all Pearland ISD bands. The district hires expert judges to give us feedback on our bands’ performances so that we can perform at the highest possible level at UIL. This contest also gives an opportunity to guide students through the sight reading process so that they are not unfamiliar with it when we get to UIL. This event is required for Honors Band, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band 1 students. All parents are highly encouraged to attend.
Every year bands across the state participate in their local UIL contests. Bands perform a selection of three pieces for three judges who give the performance a rating from Superior (I) to Poor (V). After the stage performance, bands then participate in the sight reading portion of the contest which consists of performing a brand new piece of music that neither the students nor director have ever seen before. The performance — after a short study period where students are not allowed to play — is then rated on the same scale by three different judges. Bands that earn Superior (I) ratings in both the concert and sight reading portions of the contest earn what is called a Sweepstakes Award.
This event is the most important performance of the year for Symphonic Band and Concert Band 1 and is one of the most important performances for Honors band. Performances usually occur during the school day at a host school in Region 19. All parents are highly encouraged to attend if possible.
Every spring the Berry Miller bands participate in a local band festival such as the Shadow Creek Showcase of Sound. In addition to receiving a rating for their performance like at UIL, bands at the festival also compete against each other for “Best in Class” in their division. All of the Berry Miller bands have earned this distinction at least once — often multiple times — in our school’s history. Information about performance dates and times will be made at a later date.
Every year the Honors Band participates in some kind of recording competition. On odd-numbered years this is the TMEA State Honor Band Contest. Bands submit a recording which competes at the Region, Area, and then State levels. The Honors band has previously earned 4th place in 2019 and 9th in 2017 in the entire state of Texas. On even-numbered years, we participate in the National Wind Band Honors Contest having been named a “National Winner” in 2016.
Our annual Spring Concert is usually the last major performance of the year for Symphonic Band, Concert Band 1, and Concert Band 2. (Honors Band usually has one more recording concerts after this). In many ways, this represents the culmination of all the skills we have been working on year long with the bands sounding their most mature. This performance is required for all band students and comprises a major portion of their grade.
We expect our band students to develop not only their musical skills, but also their social skills. For this reason, we organize several fun short trips and activities every year. One of our most frequented locations is iT’z Pizza. In order to participate in these trips, students must be in good standing academically, behaviorally, and otherwise in all of their classes — not just band.
As a reward for their hard work and commitment all year long, we usually take one big trip every Spring. More information about this trip will be made available later including the destination, date, and trip fee.