What are the different classes offered?
The Viking Band is comprised of three separate bands: Beginning Band, Concert Band and Symphonic Band. All three of the bands make up the Viking Marching Band.
Beginning Band is for those students who have never played an instrument or have played for about one year. This class is open to all students and no experience is needed. Beginning Band students participate in performances throughout the year including the winter concert, finale concert, All District Band Festival and all Viking Band performances (including the spring trip)!
Concert Band, our intermediate level band, is for anyone who played for a year or more. Concert Band is our intermediate level band. All incoming 6th or 7th grade students who have 1-2 years of elementary band experience or who are currently taking private lessons may sign up for Concert Band. Students participate in the same performances as the Beginning Band plus a judged Ratings Festival.
The Symphonic Band is our advanced level band. This Band is open to 7th and 8th graders with at least one year of middle school or private lessons. Extra time is required outside of class for performance and rehearsal. This class is for the highly motivated and committed musician. The Symphonic Band performs at school concerts, assemblies, graduation and the All District Band Festival as well as several Ratings Festivals (consistently receiving Superior ratings). Students may participate in Solo and Ensemble Festivals as well as auditioning for various honor bands. We have had students accepted into both the Ventura County and All-State Honor Bands.
What are the types of performances each class participates in?
Typically the Beginning Band will start with an in-class "Coffee Concert" in October where parents are invited to class to see what the students have been learning. The beginning band will then play in the Winter Concert (December), All-District Band Festival (May) and the Redwood Finale Concert (June). Additionally, Beginning Band members perform as part of the Viking Marching Band which typically performs in two competition parades and often an amusement park such as Disneyland, Universal Studios or Knott's Berry Farm.
The Concert (Intermediate Band) will do all the above performances plus a Ratings Festival (a type of concert where the band is judged by experts on their performance) and the Redwood Festival Concert which we hold in preparation for the Ratings Festival.
The Symphonic Band (or Advanced Band) is the busiest of all the ensembles. They participate in all the above performances plus others that come up such as Awards Night, Future Viking Night, assemblies and our annual elementary school performance tour.
How much time outside of class is required?
Answer: The Viking Band (made up of all three band classes) rehearses after school two days per week from about mid-February until May. The number of performances outside of school time varies each year and a schedule will be given out each semester. Symphonic Band requires the biggest time commitment, which is why incoming students will be assigned to the Beginning Band or Concert Band.
What instruments can my student play in the Redwood Band?
Flute, oboe*, clarinet (or bass clarinet), saxophone (alto, tenor or baritone), bassoon*, trumpet, French horn*, trombone, euphonium*(sometimes referred to as a Baritone), tuba*and percussion. String bass (both acoustic and electric) players are also welcome but generally only with private lessons and previous experience. Instruments with a *symbol are what are referred to as “scholarship instruments”. Middle schools, High schools and University bands are always in short supply of players for these instruments and college scholarships are often easier to earn compared with other instruments.
How do we choose an instrument?
Students rarely succeed in learning an instrument they are not interested in. We will give beginning students the opportunity to try just about every instrument we offer. Their ability to produce sound will be evaluated and recommendations will be made although the ultimate decision belongs to the student and parents.
I don’t own an instrument, where can I get one?
We have a limited selection of instruments available for student’s use. These instruments are available on a first come, first served basis. The best situation is to rent an instrument as they are in new or almost new condition and many stores have rent-to-own plans. Don’t purchase an instrument right away as some students end up switching instruments. We can recommend a list of quality instruments for beginning, intermediate or advanced students.
I play an instrument now but I want to switch next year, which class should I sign up for?
Many of our students do not play the instrument they started on. We offer many instruments not available in elementary band (oboe, bassoon, baritone saxophone, french horn, euphonium, tuba etc...). If you have played in band or taken private lessons for 1-2 years or more, sign up for Concert (Intermediate) Band regardless of whether you want to switch instruments or not. Every student will be given the opportunity at the beginning of the year to try new things.
My student participates in after school sports/activities. Will this conflict with band?
While scheduling conflicts do come up, as long as the parent or student contacts Mr. Payne about the conflict when the schedule is posted, we can usually resolve the issue. We have had very good results with working out issues such as Little League Baseball, Softball, Boy Scouts etc... A little planning is all that is necessary.
My student wants to join band but wants to do other electives as well. Can they do that?
Yes! If students sign up for "A" period P.E., then they have an extra period during the day free so they can do Band AND another elective. In addition, many students like "A" period PE because it allows them to avoid the major heat of the day in the early and late parts of the school year that occur during summer weather. "A" period P.E. fills up fast so sign up early.
How are students in the band classes graded?
The major portion of a student's grade is based on their Practice sheets. Students keep a record of time spent at home practicing their instrument. The grading scale is printed right on the sheet and students mark their own grade. Students may count private lessons, honor band rehearsals and after school band rehearsals (marching practice, section practice) as practice time. Students also are graded on playing/written tests, participation and performances. Students must attend all performances. If they miss a performance without prior approval, their grade will be lowered.
Is there extra credit work I can do?
Student can write a "Live Performance Paper". Since listening to music is an important part of music education we encourage students to go to live performances. It can by ANY type of live music (school band or orchestra, professional orchestras, rock or jazz bands etc...). Students will describe the event, the type of music, names of pieces or songs, instruments used etc...
Live performances can take place anywhere and we will let students know of any extra credit opportunities we hear of (or course, they can also find their own!)