Middle School Band Program

Welcome

Welcome to the Lindbergh Schools Middle School Band Program. Brian Wyss, Director of Middle School Bands, is honored to work with the Lindbergh Band Staff instructing the 600+ middle school band students each year. Percussion students have the pleasure of working with Mr. Dan Arana. Woodwind students are taught by Mrs. Chelsea Silvermintz, Mr. Adam Spirk, and Mr. Jeremy McMahon. Brass players work with Mr. Alec Patton, Mrs. Kayla Rivera, and Mr. Brian Wyss. Additionally, the Lindbergh High School Director of Bands, Mr. David Wyss, also assists with our middle school band students. We take great pride in the fact the entire band staff works with each student throughout their middle school and high school years. On behalf of the directors, we are so excited your young musician is part of an incredible band program!

Band Directors


Our Philosophy - 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Concert Bands

The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade concert band classes meet daily at both Sperreng and Truman middle schools. We believe the decision for a young student to join band is one the most rewarding decisions of their life. Band goes well beyond notes and rhythms. While teaching music is the focus of the class, students learn and develop most from the behind the scenes work they do. When the newness of band wears off, self-discipline and responsibility become the pillars of music education. Despite any level of natural ability, hard work is inevitable. In a world where instant gratification becomes more prominent every day, mastering an instrument only comes with determination, practice, and time. Through this process we hope our students gain an appreciation for all types of music and a passion to perform. We also hope that above all, the students truly enjoy band and their band directors.


Extra-Curricular Groups and Activities

MS Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group with standard jazz big band instrumentation. Auditions will take place near the beginning of September. Students rehearse at 6:45 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings each week at Sperreng and hold sectionals other mornings and after school. Members of the Jazz Ensemble are required to participate in the Jazz Band on Tuesday mornings. During Jazz Band seasons, Jazz Ensemble will only meet on Thursday and Friday mornings. The rest of the year they will rehearse all three mornings each week. The MS Jazz Ensemble has traveled to various competitions around the Midwest where they have received high honors for many years. They also perform at district and community events during the school year when schedules permit.

MS Jazz Band

The middle school Jazz band will begin during the month of October and will be open to 7th or 8th grade students who play a standard jazz instrument. Standard jazz instrumentation includes trumpet, trombone, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, piano, bass, vibes, guitar and drum set. Trumpet, trombone, and alto sax players must provide their own instrument. Piano, bass, vibes, guitar and drum set will be auditioned instruments. Those auditions will take place near the beginning of September along with the Jazz Ensemble auditions. The school owned bari sax and tenor sax will also be auditioned instruments. The jazz band meets October through December and March through May at 6:45 on Tuesday mornings. Rehearsals are held at Sperreng for both Sperreng and Truman Students. A shuttle bus is provided to take Truman students to school after rehearsal. The Jazz Band performs at the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade band concerts in December and the 7th and 8th grade band concert in May.

Drumline

Drumline is for percussion students who wish to learn the fundamentals of drumline technique and prepare drumline music for performances. This group holds auditions for 7th and 8th grade percussion students in December, and meets after school on Tuesdays in the TMS band room during second semester.

Summer Band

For many students, band starts in the summer before their sixth grade year. At Lindbergh, band members may participate in a voluntary summer band program. This four week session consists of concert band, jazz band, jazz improvisation, and beginning band. Nine teachers instruct nearly 400+ students in ninety-minute classes divided into brass, woodwind, and percussion. The camp culminates with a standing room only concert during the last week in the Lindbergh High School Auditorium.

MS Winter Color Guard

Color Guard is for students who wish to enhance music through the use of equipment and body movements and learn the fundamentals of flag spinning. This activity prepares students for the Lindbergh High School Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band's Color Guard. LHS Homecoming Color Guard (for 8th grade students only) meets in early September for only 5 practices after school at SMS. Winter Color Guard is open to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, with auditions in October. The Winter Guard season runs from October through March, with practice after school 1-2 times per week and regional competitions each season.


Other Opportunities

Private Lessons

Private Lessons are when instructors, who usually specialize in an instrument or class of instruments, come in and work one-on-one with students to develop their instrumental technique, performance ability, and advanced skills such as notation, theory, improvisation, selecting music for solo and small ensemble, and auditioning.

Here at the middle school level we are fortunate enough to have some private instructors come within the school day so that students can take lessons within their band class, which eliminates the hassle of trying to find time outside of the school day. If the instructor’s schedule is full during the class period they may still be available for times outside of the school day. These private lessons are arranged between you and the private instructor and do cost money.

How do I know if my child is a good candidate for lessons?  

  • If your child practices on a regular basis.
  • If your child is looking for more of a challenge.
  • If your child would like to audition for the St. Louis All-Suburban Band or participate in Solo/Small Ensemble Festival.
  • If your child could potentially see using his/her instrument as a means to a college scholarship.
  • Private lessons can be a way to help a student who is struggling with their instrument, but only if they are practicing.

If your student is interested in private lessons, please let a band director know and we will provide you with contact information for a recommended teacher.

St. Louis Suburban Middle School Concert and Jazz Bands

The St. Louis Suburban Middle School Concert Band and Jazz Band are comprised of the best middle school band students in the St. Louis area. All 7th and 8th grade students are encouraged to audition. At the high school level students must successfully audition into one of these groups to be eligible for the All-State Ensemble auditions. It is to our young musicians’ advantage to participate in as many auditions as possible before entering high school. It is an honor to make this group. We are proud of the students who have been selected in the past and look forward to having many of our students represent the Lindbergh District in the future.

Solo and Small Ensemble

Solo and small ensemble is one of the most valuable performance opportunities offered to young musicians. This gives any student or group of students a chance to choose their own piece of music to perform and be critiqued and rated by very experienced adjudicators. We highly recommend that your 7th or 8th grade student participates in this important event. This is another event that includes an All-State level festival in high school. This festival takes place at Holman Middle School in the Pattonville School District.

Why Participate in Band?

Music Hones the Brain

Studies show that the brain of a musician is far more developed and contains more complex connections than the brain of a non-musician. The action of creating music involves using parts of the brain that are not usually reached by a single school subject. While playing a musical phrase, the brain is required to recognize variations in pitch and articulation (language skills), detect intonation issues and how to fix them (sound physics and problem-solving), divide and multiply fractions (math skills), and concentrate on a single part while fitting into the larger sound of the group; and the brain has to do all this in a split second. Studying an instrument sharpens the brain’s ability to do these things, which translates into their other subjects. Participation in band enhances a child’s brain development and sets them up to use critical thinking for the rest of their lives.

Check out this amazing video! How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain

Music is an Achievement

Music requires practice and dedication. Students spend hours developing their skills to create a pleasing and beautiful work of art. Students get the opportunity to showcase their hard work in concerts. Participating in concerts boosts the student’s confidence, helps to eliminate stage fright, and creates a sense of accomplishment when they hear the audience applauding for their work. Giving a student something to strive for enforces a good work ethic and sense of accomplishment.

Music Fosters Friendships

Participating in an ensemble like band or orchestra brings students together to develop lasting friendships. In the often tumultuous years of adolescence, students need friends to lean on for support and acceptance. Participating in a music activity fosters support, and team cooperation. And, it’s fun! Students get to spend time with their friends while participating in something that they love. Music is an excellent opportunity to create wonderful memories with wonderful people.

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” Billy Joel

Article: Is Music the Key to Success?

Middle School Band Expectations

In an effort to provide the most successful learning environment for our band students, the following expectations must be observed on a daily basis.

Rehearsal Expectations:

  1. Be on time.
  2. Sit with proper posture and playing position. Stay in your seat.
  3. Only speak/play at appropriate times.
  4. Be respectful to teachers and classmates.
  5. Food/drinks/gum are not allowed in the band room.
  6. Restroom and drinking fountains should be used before entering the band room. Students will not be allowed to leave the band room at the beginning of class.
  7. Conduct yourself in a manner that allows directors and classmates to trust you.

Rehearsal Etiquette

Band students are among the best students in the school. Given this, we set extremely high standards in the classroom. To utilize rehearsal time to the utmost and to provide the students with the most effective atmosphere conducive to learning in our large class sizes, we require 100% attention. Simply put, we have adopted the policy of silent rehearsals. Students who are continuously distracting from the task at hand will be dealt with quickly. Band is a team effort, however, unlike many sports teams, no one sits the bench in band. It is simply impossible to progress as a band unless everyone is focused on the goal that is trying to be achieved. It is also imperative that our students come to class prepared. This includes having instruments, books, binders, music, pencils, and all of the accessories required to play their particular instrument. Coming to class with all of these items will result in efficient and effective rehearsals.

Academic Expectations:

  1. Students must have their band binder with all materials (book, pencil, music, handouts).
  2. Students are expected to bring their instrument to class everyday in proper working condition along with all required accessories (accessories may include: mutes, valve oil, tuning slide grease, slide cream, reeds, cork grease).
  3. If a student is unable to play their instrument for any reason, parents must provide a note on the day the student is without the instrument. The note must be signed by a parent.

The band department takes great pride in further developing caring, trustworthy, responsible, and respectful young musicians. The image our band portrays to the public is more important than anything they achieve on stage. These expectations are meant to support our efforts to raise outstanding musicians and more importantly, wonderful people.

Concert Attendance

It is pretty unbelievable to think of how many hours our young musicians spend practicing and rehearsing between concerts. There is no greater feeling as a director than seeing the students walk off the stage knowing that all the hard work in previous months just paid off with an outstanding performance. As parents, we hope you will be part of that experience too. Our bands’ performance schedules and concert dates included on the Lindbergh Middle School Band Calendar. Barring a school cancellation or inclement weather conditions, these performance dates will not change. More information will be sent home about Jazz Band performance dates as well as any other important dates that might come up as soon as they are determined.

Please make every effort to clear these dates on your calendar immediately. Any conflicts that may arise with these dates will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If there is a conflict with a performance, Mr. Brian Wyss needs to know at least two weeks in advance. He would prefer to know immediately. The only excused absences will be an illness requiring a doctor’s note, a family emergency with a note from parent or guardian, or an arrangement previously made with the director. Please plan to attend these special events with your young musician.

Sperreng Middle School Concerts
December 6, 2023
May 1, 2024

Truman Middle School Concerts
December 13, 2023
May 8, 2024

Grading

Grading Overview
We base all of our grading on a check-off system in which there are 4 check-offs each quarter totalling 16 for the year. All of our check-offs, with the exception of first quarter for 6th graders, are specific exercises found in their Essential Elements for Band Book. Check-offs are the equivalent to playing tests except that they are pass/redo only. The check-off sheet that your student received in class this week breaks down which check-offs they are supposed to play and what grade they will earn each quarter based on how many they complete. It is highly recommended that students attempt to pass each check-off in order so that they can continue to build off the skills and techniques that each check-off requires.

 

Grading Process

  • We will rehearse these check-offs as a class throughout the year. 
  • On block days, we will have check-off days where all students will attempt to perform the most recently learned check-off with a director where they will either be given a pass on the check-off, or they will receive a redo as well as feedback on what needs to be practiced. 
  • If a student does not pass the check-off with a director they will be able to submit an online recording from home through our Canvas class. 
  • Since check-offs are pass/redo only, students will have unlimited chances until they pass. 
  • Grades continue to build each quarter as check-offs are cumulative throughout the year. If a student does not pass all of the check-offs required in a quarter, they should pass those before moving on to the next quarter check-offs. 
  • In third quarter, students will see how many check-offs they have completed in the Previous check-offs assignment in Infinite Campus. 
  • Students can turn check-offs anytime during the quarter. There are soft deadlines for each check-off in Canvas and Infinite Campus so that students can stay on track, and so parents are kept up to date on students' progress. 
  • Due to the number of students in the middle school band program check-offs may not be graded immediately after submission. Once check-offs are graded, completed check-offs will show a “1” in Infinite Campus and incomplete check-offs will show a “0” until completed.
  • Directors will attempt to have all submissions graded within a week of the soft deadlines and will send out reminder emails so that students and parents can stay up to date and informed on grades. 
  • If at any point your child has a question regarding one of their check-offs they are always welcome to speak with any of our directors for help or clarification.

Conclusion
The majority of students will perform their check-offs in front of a director for a pass/redo grade. If students do not pass the check-off in class, they can submit online at home through our canvas page with unlimited attempts. All grades should be checked through Infinite Campus and if there are questions about grades please reach out to your director as soon as possible. If any student is struggling with completing a check-off, they should request help from their director and we will set up a time to work with them before or after school if necessary.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

You have often heard that anything worthwhile takes time and effort. That is especially true when it comes to mastering a musical instrument. There is no substitute for practice! We will spend a great deal of time teaching our students correct practice habits. The truth is that your support and guidance will be the key factor in establishing the practice schedule insuring the attainment of musical goals. We recommend 120 minutes a week of dedicated quality practice time. We suggest that you and your young musician agree on a practice time and a special area of your home designated for their area of musical study. A final five-minute recital is extremely effective in building performance responsibility and a great opportunity to show your support. Your positive reinforcement and encouragement is the most effective communication you can share with your child’s journey towards musical excellence. Although many new concepts are taught during band rehearsals, the limited time does not afford the personal attention that is vital to developing the technical facility required for the upcoming years of musical exploration.

 

Middle School Accessories Needed for Band

ALL BAND STUDENTS NEED:

  1. An instrument in good playing condition
  2. 3-Ring binder
  3. Essential Elements Book
    1. 6th grade-book 1
    2. 7th grade book 2
    3. 8th grade book 3
  4. Pencil
  5. A folding music stand to hold music while practicing at home

ALL BRASS STUDENTS NEED:

  1. Valve oil for valved instruments: trumpets, baritones, tubas, French horn (rotor oil)
  2. “Super Slick” slide cream with water bottle (mist), piece of soft cotton cloth for cleaning slide for trombone
  3. Mouthpiece brush – all brass instruments
  4. Slide grease (for tuning slides) – all brass instruments
  5. Flexible cleaning brush

ALL WOODWIND STUDENTS NEED:

  1. Flute – cleaning rod, small lint free rag, or swab
  2. Clarinet – cork grease, swab, Mitchell Lurie or Vandoren reeds-strength 2 ½ – 3 (at least three playable reeds at all times), Rovner ligature
  3. Saxophones – (grade 7-8) cleaning swab, Rico or Vandoren reeds-strength 3 – 3 ½ (at least three playable reeds at all times, a C-star mouthpiece is recommended but not required)
  4. All double reed players will receive specific information for instrument needs after being selected

Percussion students will be contacted by Mr. Arana concerning instrument needs.

***Some 8th grade band students will also need a flip folder and music lyre. We will let those students know when we begin our marching band unit***

Summer Band

Lindbergh Bands is excited to once again offer Summer Band to Middle School students!  

For many students, band starts in the summer before their sixth grade year. At Lindbergh, band members may participate in a voluntary summer band program. This four week session consists of concert band, jazz band, jazz improvisation, and beginning band. Nine teachers instruct nearly 400+ students in ninety-minute classes divided into brass, woodwind, and percussion. The camp culminates with a standing room only concert during the last week in the Lindbergh High School Auditorium.

The Middle School Summer Band Camp meets Monday through Thursday for four weeks during the month of June. There is no class on June 19th in observance of Juneteenth.

Dates for 2024: June 3–June 27 (Monday through Thursday; No Camp on Thursday, June 13 or Wednesday, June 19)

All classes meet on the Lindbergh High School campus in the music rooms and auditorium.

Students must provide their own instrument and transportation. 

Please email Brian Wyss at bwyss@lindberghschools.ws with any questions.

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL IN SUMMER BAND


Classes Offered

Beginner Band

For incoming 6th Grade Band students who will be attending Sperreng and Truman. Instruments include Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet and Trombone. Beginning Percussion students must have successfully completed an audition for placement.

Beginner Band Combo

This is for 6th grade students who wish to take both Beginning Brass and Beginning Woodwinds. Please see the class descriptions above.

Jazz Band

This class is only available to students to incoming 7th and 8th grade students who play instruments found in standard jazz music. These instruments include saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, vibes, and drum set (drum set is only available to incoming 7th and 8th grade students currently enrolled in percussion class at Sperreng or Truman. Students must own a drum set to practice on at home).

Concert Band

This class is for all band students who will be in 7th or 8th grade next school year and wish to perform popular concert band music in the full band setting. During the past years students have enjoyed playing more pop oriented pieces such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Theme from Harry Potter.

Jazz Band and Concert Band Combo

This is for 7th and 8th grade students who wish to take both Jazz Band and Concert Band. Please see the class descriptions above.

  


Schedule

Section 1 meets from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

1A:  Beginning Trumpet and Trombone (for incoming 6th Graders next Fall):  

This class is for students who are planning to take beginning band in 6th grade during the Fall of next school year. Instruments for this class include trumpet and trombone.

1B:  Beginning Percussion (drums and xylophone): 

Students must have completed an audition.

Section 2 meets from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

2A:  Beginning Flute and Clarinet (for incoming 6th Graders next Fall):  

This class is for students who are planning to take beginning band in 6th grade during the Fall of next school year. Instruments for this class include flute and clarinet.

2B:  Jazz Band:

This class is only available to students to incoming 7th and 8th grade students who play instruments found in standard jazz music. These instruments include saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, vibes, and drum set (drum set is only available to incoming 7th and 8th grade students currently enrolled in percussion class at Sperreng or Truman. Students must own a drumset to practice on at home).

Section 3 meets from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

3:  Concert Band:  This class is for all band students who will be in 7th or 8th grade next school year and wish to perform popular concert band music in the full band setting. During the past years students have enjoyed playing more pop oriented pieces such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Theme from Harry Potter.

Section 4 meets from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

4: Jazz Band and Concert Band Combo: This is for 7th and 8th grade students who with to take both Jazz Band and Concert Band. Please see the class descriptions above.