Many people do not think of music as a “team sport,” yet that is exactly what it is. Unlike other school bands, orchestras, and choirs that have the opportunity to rehearse daily, we only rehearse once per week. This means that individual practice between rehearsals takes on additional importance if we are to provide a quality music experience for your students.
To that end, HSMA has put together a Practice Awards Program that seeks to promote consistency of practice and yet be reasonable in terms of illness, family vacations, and so on. Each performing group has a practice expectation clearly stated on the weekly practice sheets. We ask that you, as parents, support the Conductors by doing your part to ensure that your student is meeting or exceeding the minimum practice expectation.
The details of the Practice Awards Program are as follows:
- The Practice Awards Program year is broken into two sessions: fall and spring. Practice Awards for students meeting the conditions of the program are presented twice per year.
- Each student is given an amount of time they are expected to practice each week, by performance group. The practice times for the various groups are:
- 100 minutes per week for Elementary Music
- 180 minutes per week for Beginning Band, Beginning Strings, and Music Fundamentals
- 270 minutes per week for all other groups (Bel Canto Chorale, Cadet Band, Intermediate Strings, Concert Band, Junior Orchestra, Chancel Choir, Symphonic Band, and Senior Orchestra)
If your student is in more than one group, please refer to the WHAT COUNTS section on the web to understand what he/she must practice for each group he/she is participating in. If you have questions about it, just ask a time taker, or Marilyn Frazee.
- Students are expected to track their time on practice sheets (provided by HSMA). Parents are to verify that the times as recorded are correct and that the total amount of time is correct (no math errors!), and are to sign the practice sheets weekly.
- Students report their practice times each week to the Time Taker (a parent designated within each group). Students whose practice sheets have not been signed for a given week will not be able to report their time for that week until it is signed.
- Students are expected to practice the designated amount of minutes each week, but are permitted a number of weeks (communicated at the beginning of the year, but generally it works out to be one week out of every four) of “misses”, meaning weeks where their practice times do not meet or exceed the expected practice time. Although they are allowed to miss a certain number of weeks each session, the students are expected to maintain an average equal to or exceeding the minimum required practice time for his or her group.
- For each session, there is a one-week “Week of Grace.” The Week of Grace is an opportunity for the student to improve their average and is designed in such a way that it can only help them. Any amount of time recorded for the Week of Grace is added to the student’s total for the session, but the Week of Grace is not included in the divisor when calculating the average. The dates for the Week of Grace for each session are communicated at the beginning of the year. Students may actually practice during the Week of Grace, or get credit for practice time by attending certain events, at the discretion of their conductor.
- To be awarded a prize at the end of the semester, a student must meet two criteria: (a)They must not miss meeting or exceeding the expected practice time more than the allowable number of misses for the semester, and (b) Their average amount of practice time for the semester must meet or exceed the expected practice time.
- The “Practice Room Hermit” is the student in each group who has the highest practice time combined for both semesters. The practice room hermit must earn the practice award (certificate from Marshall Music) both semesters to be eligible. The hermit is awarded a "1st Practice Time" trophy at the awards picnic.
- Special recognition is also given to those who practice at least 150% of the required minutes for a single group, or the total requirement of both groups if participating in two groups. These students will receive a special certificate at the awards picnic. The "Practice Room Hermit" may also receive this certificate if he/she met the requirements listed in this paragraph