Williamsburg Bands

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-FAQs(use provided links for more info)

How do I know rehearsal and performance times, dates, etc.?
Please consult your Charms calendar. It is updated as needed.  Also read your email reminders. Reminders are constantly announced in class, as well.

What about attendance at band events?
Attendance is critical for any band’s success. Concerts and rehearsals, during Wolf Time and after school, are required and graded(please refer to your Charms calendar for dates and times). Please refer to the class syllabus for specifics about attendance.

Should I take private lessons?
YES! Private lessons will help you improve dramatically with the individual attention you will receive.

Does Williamsburg Middle School rent out instruments?
Only large instruments like Tubas, Euphoniums, Bassoons, Bass Clarinets, Baritone Sax.

Does Williamsburg Middle School provide mouthpieces or reeds?
No. All band members must furnish his/her own mouthpiece and reed for sanitary purposes.

Should I attend a summer band camp?
YES! Summer Band will help you improve dramatically and it’s super fun!

What is “All District Band”?, What is “APS Honors Band”?; What are the differences?
-The APS Honors Band is an audition-selected membership band for 7th & 8th graders of Arlington County. See your Charms Calendar for audition dates and times.

-The All District Band(Winds and Percussion is comprised of middle school students, not only from Arlington County, but also from Fairfax County. This combination of schools makes up the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association(VBODA) District XII.  It is an extreme honor to be accepted into the All District Band!

These are two completely different bands. The Honors band is held at a different time than the district band and are composed of different students. Some students may make the Honors band, but not the district band and vice-versa.

-There is also the APS Jr. Honors Band, which is an audition selected membership band for 4th-6th graders of Arlington County.

How do I prepare for “All District and/or APS Honors Band” auditions?
7th and 8th grade students may try out for “APS Honors” or “All-District” band. In order to have a successful audition, students will need to have several scales memorized (the chromatic scale, Concert F, Bb, Eb, Ab, C, G, D, A, and E Major), and to sight read music. Percussionists will need to know their rudiments (for snare drum), the same scales (for mallets), and sight read, as well. The vast majority of students who successfully audition and become members of the All District Jr. Band take private lessons. A given prepared selection will be required for the APS Honors Band auditions only.

Are there costs involved for tryout/participation in Honors/All District?
Trying out for the APS Honors and Jr. Honors Band costs nothing. There is a small fee(around $7 per student) to register for the All-District auditions. If you are chosen to participate in All District Band there is a fee(around $34, which the school or fundraisers usually pay for). Participation in Honors Band event is free. Solo and Ensemble(see below) has a small fee, as well(around $13 or depending upon whether it’s a solo or an ensemble).

What is the “District XII Middle School Band Assessment”?

District XII Middle School Band Assessment is the most highly regarded and respected band event in the state of Virginia. This assessment, which covers the district in which Williamsburg Middle School participates, takes place at a District XII school annually in March. Please see your Charms calendar for specific dates. The band(s) will receive a rating based on the evaluation of 4 adjudicators(highly esteemed music educators from around the country) on the band’s overall performance quality in both a prepared stage performance assessment and a separate ensemble sight reading assessment. For the sight reading assessment, each band has 7 minutes to study a band composition(Playing your instrument during the study period is not permitted) and then perform it for a sight reading adjudicator.   The assessment ratings for each band are published throughout the state of Virginia.

What does “Superior, Excellent, etc.” mean?
A Superior (also refered to as a “I” or “One”) is the highest possible rating at a VBODA sponsored event. An Excellent is a II, a Good is a III, and a Fair is a IV. Ratings are given out at certain band events, such as Band Assessment, Spring Trip, and Solo & Ensemble Festival.

What does it mean when music is graded “1, 2, 3, 4, etc. ”?
The state organization (VBODA) decides how difficult a particular piece of music is and assigns a grade based on several factors. A grade “1” is a beginning band level, grade “2” is typically young middle school band, grade “3” is advanced middle school, grade “4” is young high school , grade “5” is advanced high school and college, and grade “6” is professional level.

What is “Solo and Ensemble”?; How do I prepare?

Solo and Ensemble is a Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association(VBODA) event where students perform a solo and/or  an ensemble piece for adjudication. Through the adjudication process, each student receives feedback, in form of written and verbal comments and a rating. The students work on a piece of music independently outside of band class. This can be a solo or an ensemble (group of two or more musicians). Mr. Woodson(or a private teacher) will need to approve each piece. Students should plan at least a month ahead and purchase the music they wish to play from Foxes, Music and Arts, or J.W. Pepper. Rehearsals and performance with piano accompanists must be arranged by the student performer(or really, their parents).

Am I required to participate in “Solo and Ensemble” and “All District” or “Honors” Band?
Students enrolled in band are not required, but STRONGLY encouraged to participate in Solo and Ensemble Festival, All District and Honors Band. Special recognition will be bestowed upon participating students at the end of the year for successful participation in the audition AND event.

What is VBODA?
It stands for Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association. It is the governing body for all official band contests in Virginia including Marching Assessment, Band Assessment, District Band, All-VA Band, and Solo & Ensemble Festival. Their web address is www.vboda.org

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