Music / Band

September 2022

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome (or welcome back!) to the Highland Music Department! Enrolling in music involves a large responsibility to the group, but hopefully the rewards are great. This letter will explain our department’s policies to prevent any misunderstandings later in the year.

Practice sheets will be required for all band students. Regular practice is essential if students are to develop as musicians, and to keep the class improving at a good pace. Practice may be done at school in practice rooms before school, at lunch and after school and signed for by the music teacher, or at home and signed for by parents. Practice sheets will be handed in twice each term and should be signed weekly by parents. Recommended practice times for Grade 8: 60 minutes per week, and for grades 9-12: 30 minutes per week. Extra practice can earn up to 5% bonus each term as well. Practice is worth 20% of each term mark.

Band students will be tested individually each term by playing in front of a teacher. Playing tests are worth 40%of the term mark. The remaining percentage in both classes is based on class participation and effort – so any student who makes a sincere effort to listen, learn and improve should do well. Ensemble skills are worth 40%. Students who are involved in musical activities outside of school time can apply for a 5% enrichment credit.

In a participation and performance-oriented class, students who show up without music or instruments cannot participate and cannot work with the group towards a performance. As there are only 21 classes in each term, students who forget their instruments more than once a term will lose 5% of that term’s participation mark.

Concerts are considered part of the music curriculum, and therefore 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, we would appreciate parents making every effort to avoid scheduling trips or appointments on those concert dates.

As in-class performance is a major part of all music classes, regular attendance is crucial. Extended absence from music classes will affect not only the student’s progress, but also their grade.

Dates for the 2022/2023 year are as follows:

Instrument Rental Night (3:00-5:00pm at Queneesh Elementary)

– Monday, September 19

Headstart program – (4:00-5:00 at Isfeld) Tuesday, September 20

Comox Choir Festival (during school time at the Comox Pentecostal Church)

– November 14

Comox Band Festival (during school time at the Sid Williams Theatre)

– November 15 & 16

Christmas Concert (7:00 in the Highland gym) – December 8

Showcase Concert – February 22 or 23? (TENTATIVE)

Grade 8 Music Trip to Victoria – April 19 & 20 (TENTATIVE)

Senior trip to San Francisco – April 30 – May 6

Visits to elementary schools (during school time) – April 28

Grade 9/10 Trip to Vancouver – May 16-18

Spring Concert (7:00 in the Highland gym) – May 24

Students wishing to participate in music trips should be aware that they must have a grade of 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 Miss Cox at Highland Secondary (250-339-5525), or by email:

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