Music / Band

September 2023

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome (or welcome back!) to the Highland Music Department! My name is Carly Swain, I am the new director of music. Enrolling in music involves a large responsibility to the group with many great rewards. This letter will explain our department’s policies to prevent any misunderstandings later in the year.


Individual Practice

  • Practice sheets will be required for all band students.
  • Regular practice is essential for students to develop as musicians, and to keep the class improving at a steady pace.
  • Practice sheets will be handed in twice each term and should be signed weekly by parents.
  • Places and times to practice:
    • In school practice room – before school, at lunch, and after school
      • Record to be signed by music teacher.
    • At home
      • Record to be signed by parent(s).
    • Concerts
      • Considered part of the music curriculum.
      • Students who miss without prior approval from the music director may be dropped from future concerts and trips, and their grade will be lowered by 20% for that term.
      • All major concert dates are set one year in advance, so adequate notice to parents and employers should not be a problem.
        • With only 2 major concerts during the year, making every effort to avoid scheduling trips or appointments on those concert dates is appreciated.


Students’ assessment comprises three categories each of which corresponds to distinct curricular competencies. Please see the links below to access the assessment method used for students in grade 8-9 and grade 10-12.

  1. Playing Tests
  2. Ensemble Skills
  3. Practice Records

Important Dates

Wednesday, September 20

4:00-5:00 pm

Instrument Rental Night – Location Queneesh Elementary

–   Note: Tapestry music is going to online rentals and will be delivered to the Highland on Monday, September 25.

–   Long & McQuade to do in-person rentals

Monday, September 25

4:00-5:00 pm

Head Start Band Clinic

–    Location: Isfeld Secondary

October 16–November 16 Fundraising

–  World’s Finest Chocolates

–  Great Little Coupon Book

Monday, November 20 Comox Valley Choir Festival

–   Courtenay Fellowship Baptist Church, 2963 Lake Trail Road (during school time)

November 21–22 Comox Valley Band Festival – Junior and Senior Bands

–   Sid Williams Theatre (during school time)

Thursday, December 14 at 7:00 pm Winter Concert

–  Highland Gym

April 17–18 Grade 8 Band Trip to Victoria
April 26 Feeder School Trip (during school time)
April 28–May 3 Senior Band Trip to Calgary, Alberta
May 14–16 Junior Band Trip to Vancouver
Wednesday, May 22 at

7:00 pm

Spring Concert

–  Highland Gym

Students wishing to participate in music trips should be aware that they must have an assessment at a developing level or at least 60% in all their music courses and have permission from their other subject teachers before they can accompany the group. Of course, all money owed to the department must be paid before the departure date. Music trips are completely optional and not part of the evaluated curriculum.

All music fundraising is optional, and credit from fundraising will be kept in student accounts as long as the student is a member of the music department. Thus, students who are active fund-raisers will be able to reduce their trip costs substantially, and those who prefer to finance their trip expenses from other sources of income may do so. Students who leave the music program leave their credits behind to help defray trip costs for all music students.

Students renting School District instruments must pay for them in full ($100 for the 2022/2023 school year) before they begin using them. Parents should note that there is no school insurance coverage for these instruments, and therefore students are responsible for repair or replacement of the instrument in the event of damage or loss.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ms. Swain at Highland Secondary (250-339-5525), or by email:

I hope that this will be a great year full of music and learning!

Assessment Method Gr 8-9

Assessment Method Gr 10-12