Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the instrumental performing groups my child can participate in at the high school?
- What are the differences between Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band?
- What are the differences between String Ensemble, String Orchestra, and Symphonic Orchestra?
- What are the differences between Football Band, Competition Marching Band, and Color Guard?
- What are Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band? How can my child participate in these groups?
- What are PMEA and Tri-M?
- What is a sectional?
- Does my child have to participate in parades?
- What and when is Band Camp?
- What should I do about meals, when my child has practice/ performance that lasts all day?
- Where should my child change into his/her uniform?
- Why are there three different uniforms?
- My child’s uniform needs repair, or he/she has outgrown it – what should I do?
- Why does my child need special shoes for band?
- How do I find out about last minute changes for uniforms and report times?
- What trips do the Band, Orchestra & Color Guard usually take? How much do they cost?
- How can BOPs help me cover the cost of these trips?
- What is a trip account?
- What is the difference between a gift card, and scrip?
- What is the Doghouse?
- Why is band & orchestra only offered in Block 4, A/B format?
- How does chorus & instrumental music work, when my child wants to take both?
- Can my child participate in music and sports?
- Does my child have to continue with private instrument lessons?
- Where should I buy/service my child’s instrument?
- Is it true that the Haverford School District will pay for and maintain any secondary instrument that my child is required to play?
- Where should my child store his/her instrument, at HHS?
- My email address changed – how should I inform you, so that I can keep receiving BOPS emails?
- What can I do to help my music student?
Depending on the instrument(s) your child plays, he or she can become involved with one or more of several band, orchestra, or jazz groups: Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphonic Band; String Ensemble, String Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra; Football Band, Competition Marching Band, Color Guard, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band, and chamber ensembles .
There are 2 sections of Band: Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Wind Ensemble is the higher-level group; placement is by audition, and wears tuxedoes/black dress for stage performances. Concert Band wears concert band uniforms for stage performances. Symphonic Band is the combined Concert Band/Wind Ensemble, for stage performance. Involvement with these groups requires attendance at sectionals throughout the school year.
There are 2 sections of Strings: String Ensemble and String Orchestra. Both groups wear tuxedoes/black dress. String Ensemble is the higher-level group – placement is by audition. Symphonic Orchestra is the combined String Orchestra/ String Ensemble, with the addition of select Wind Ensemble members to complement the sound of the strings. Involvement with these groups also requires attendance at sectionals throughout the school year.
Football Band is the combined Concert Band/Wind Ensemble for outdoor performances (football games, parades, outdoor events), and Marching Band uniforms are worn. Competition Marching Band performs in judged marching band competitions, in the fall, and travels to a regional competition at the end of their season. Any interested and qualified musician may participate. This group also wears Marching Band Uniforms, complemented by plumes, gauntlets, and gloves (depending on instrument). Regular practices for Comp Band are held in the fall, and occasionally throughout spring and summer.
Color Guard is the visual complement of Football Band and Competition Marching Band, providing colorful coordinated field movement, often with aids, like flags or props. A student may take Band or Orchestra, and perform as Color Guard, but playing an instrument is not a requisite to join. 8 th grade HMS students are also welcome to join the HHS Color Guard. Costumes, flags and props for Color Guard are designed to fit the specific performance, and change each year. Regular practices for Color Guard are held in the fall, and occasionally throughout spring and summer.
All Football Band, Competition Marching Band and Color Guard are required to attend Band Camp, at the end of the summer, to learn the new performance material.
Due to the popularity of jazz participation in Haverford High School, there are two performing jazz groups: the HHS Jazz Lab band, and the HHS Jazz Ensemble. Selection and group placement is determined by audition, held in June for the following year, and practices/performances are throughout the year.
The HHS Jazz Ensemble:
- performs advanced Jazz literature
- emphasizes improvisation in a variety of jazz styles
- rehearses 2 times per week
- performs at concerts, festivals and competitions
- is a graded course
- earns .4 credits, over the course of the year.
- requires enrollment in HHS Block 4 Band or Orchestra
The HHS Jazz Lab Band:
- rehearses 1-2 times per week
- keeps musicians actively participating in jazz performance and practice
- is not graded, and does not earn credit
- performs at concerts, festivals and competitions
PMEA is the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. There are three levels of potential achievement: District, Regional, and State, for Band and for Orchestra. Earning a seat to participate in a PMEA festival is a tremendous honor for 10 th – 12 th graders. Auditions are required to proceed from one level to the next. See Calendar for dates. Tri-M (Modern Music masters) is a local chapter of the Music Honor Society. Musical performance is emphasized. Members are expected to attend all Tri-M concerts, and perform in at least 2 concerts. Members must be in grades 10 -12, and must participate in at least one of the higher level HHS performance groups (Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Chamber Singers). Finally, a member must maintain a minimum GPA of a ‘B’, with no academic grades lower than ‘C’. Ms. Marsha Core is HHS Tri-M faculty Supervisor.
Sectionals are required, after-school classes. Students earn an extra .2 credits on their transcripts for sectionals. Sectionals allow the directors to work with specific subgroups of instruments. Sectionals may change, close to performance dates.
Yes, if he/she participates in Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, or Color Guard, attendance is mandatory.
For Competition Marching Band, Band Camp occurs during the last two full weeks prior to the start of school, with four hour sessions, twice daily. For Football Band, Band Camp begins on the Tuesday, one week before school begins, with sessions in the evening. For all, Band Camp is free, occurs at HHS, and is mandatory.
Plan ahead! Have your student pack snacks and meals. Some parents do bring food in for their student, if there is a scheduled break time. Many performance venues have food available, as well, so some cash on hand is generally a good idea.
Most students arrive, in uniform, for away football games and indoor concerts. Competition Marching Band students typically practice before they perform, so they change into uniform on the bus. Home football games also generally involve practice before performance, so students typically change into uniforms, at school, after practice. A unisex approach to undergarments works well – most students wear black under armor.
Outdoor performances require a marching uniform, and indoor performances require either a concert band uniform, or tuxedo/black dress, depending on the performance group. Uniform fittings occur during Band Camp, and/or during September. For further questions, contact the uniform representative, listed on the Contacts page on HHSmusic.org.
Contact the uniform representative specific to the uniform in question, listed on the Contacts page of our website. Most likely, your rep will set a time to meet you and your student at the high school, to re-fit from available extra uniforms. Some repairs can be done at the dry cleaner and reimbursed – ask your rep. It is your child’s responsibility to maintain the uniform, clean and wrinkle-free, which may require dry cleaning, as needed throughout the season. However, BOPs drycleans all of the uniforms over the summer so returning a dirty uniform at the end of the year is okay. Please consider donating your rolled heel band shoes if they will no longer be needed.Garment bags will be provided to all students for uniform storage.
The heel is rolled in marching band shoes, which makes it easier for precision drill work on the field. At the beginning of Band Camp, there will be an opportunity to purchase a pair, through the Marching Band Uniforms coordinator, (see Contacts page on our website, HHSmusic.org). There is also a ‘leftover’ box, where graduates place used shoes that can be adopted by a new owner.
On this website, look for the important information box on the home page . We will try to keep that up-to-date. Emails are another way to get this information, so be sure that BOPs has your proper e-mail address (send to email@example.com, if you have not yet done so).
Trips at the high school typically occur every other year, in even years; in the past we have alternated between Disneyworld and Virginia Beach. Orchestra and Symphonic Band (Block 4 instrumental students) perform for judges in indoor seated competitions (this is not a marching-band competition). Participation for students who are Color Guard and/or only Comp Band is dependent upon finding a suitable adjudicated opportunity, and is not guaranteed. Seventh and eighth grade musicians will go to Dorney Park every other year (used to be Hershey). Trip fees range from around $100 for Dorney to $1,200 for Disney. These are just ballpark estimates, as transportation fees can change dramatically from year to year.
BOPs raises money throughout the year to help reduce costs for the entire group, as well as create opportunities for individual fundraising, through trip accounts. Typical fundraisers include scrip purchase, gift card purchase, and Kidstuff coupon books. We have also conducted car washes and book wrappings, to then divide 50% of the proceeds among the participants. As students contribute, a portion of the funds they raise goes into their individual trip account. See the Fundraising section of our How to Help page, for more information.
A trip account represents BOPs fundraising done specifically for your child. Money accumulated there can be used to offset trip expenses. Money can be transferred among siblings. It is never too early to start thinking about building your student’s trip account. Some parents have been able to completely cover the cost of a trip, with careful planning. See the fundraising section of our How to Help page, for more information.
Gift cards can be ordered once a month, through the Gift Card Coordinator. Hundreds of stores participate, and the ‘commission’ for your child’s trip account is fairly high, on some.
Scrip is local, and includes several grocery stores, plus Centrella's hoagie vouchers, and Young’s Produce. These can be purchased any time from our Scrip Coordinators. Commission for grocery scrip is 3% for your trip account.
The Doghouse is the food venue at Haverford High School, for Football games, serving hotdogs (of course!), soft pretzels, and other tasty treats. It is staffed by our Band and Orchestra Parent volunteers. All proceeds from the Doghouse sales go directly into our Band and Orchestra Uniform Fund. Uniforms are a huge expense, and it takes years of saving to amass sufficient funds to replace uniforms. Fundraising for Band and Orchestra uniforms is a critical function of BOPs.
MUCH thought has gone into providing the best musical learning experience for our talented high school students. Band, Orchestra, and Chorus are offered in the same Block, to ease scheduling. Within block scheduling, the A/B format allows students to take one credit of music, for the entire year. There is no other easy way to accomplish that goal. We are constantly looking for ways to improve class offerings for Block 4 A/B, opposite music.
There are several ways that choral and instrumental music coexist. One choice is to take 2 credits of music, all year – one of chorus, one of instrumental music, alternating on A/B days.
Another option is to take one credit of music, on A day or B day, and spend half of block 4 in chorus, and half in instrumental music. To do this, a student must choose either higher-level instrumental (Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble), coupled with regular chorus (Concert Chorale), or regular instrumental (Concert Band, String Orchestra), coupled with higher-level chorus (Chamber Singers).
Yes. Certain sports can be a challenge to coordinate, but there are creative ways to work around most. As an example, we used to have a trumpet player who was a kicker on the football team, so he would wear his football uniform while doing the football halftime show. It is possible to cheerlead, or play soccer, etc., and still participate in instrumental music. Please talk to Mr. Hart or Mr. Brennan directly to address any concerns you may have.
Private instruction is highly recommended. No class can replace the personal growth opportunities afforded by private instruction. Nuances of technique, notation and articulation are best addressed by an individual who knows your student, and can provide proper and immediate feedback. Contact your music director (Mr. Brennan, Mr. Hart, Mr. Gittelman, Dr. Shanefield, Mr. Fein) for a specific recommendation.
Many student musicians obtain their first instrument through Music & Arts (closest local store is in Lawrence Park). Their rent-to-own program is attractive to those who are not yet ready to commit to a full purchase, or wish to upgrade their instrument, down the road. They work closely with our school district, and provide in-school pickups for repairs. Sam Ash, in King of Prussia, is another option for new instrument purchase, and carries extensive modern and classical instruments. Private instructors can be excellent sources of information to secure quality used instruments. Secondary markets, such as ebay, are also popular with students seeking to obtain an instrument; as always, buyer beware. For String students, two on-line venues have been suggested: Southwest Strings ( http://www.swstrings.com/) and Shar Music ( http://www.sharmusic.com/).
Certain instruments, such as bass, baritone, and French horn are provided by the school district, for a nominal annual fee. The provision, by the school district, of certain secondary instruments (i.e., bari sax if your student already has an alto sax) is at the discretion of the music director. Please discuss with Mr. Gittelman, Mr. Hart, or Mr. Brennan.
For Orchestra, in-school cellos, basses and bows are provided, and are stored in racks, in the Orchestra room. Cellists typically bring in their own instrument for concerts, however. Violas and violins have racks in the Orchestra room – these are not assigned, but there is plenty of room for all. Band students have lockers, with locks, in the band room, which can accommodate all different sizes of instruments. These are assigned by Mr. Hart at the beginning of the year. Some students do acquire a second instrument, to have one at home for practice, and one to keep at school. As there is plenty of locker space for all, the most cost-effective solution is to make use of the school-provided lockers.
Send your name, your student’s name and current grade, along with whatever performance groups they participate in (concert band, jazz ensemble, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org, attention BOPS Secretary.
Take an interest in what they are doing, musically. Remind them to check their uniform, and all of the components of it, a couple of nights before a performance – many high blood pressure moments can be avoided by thinking ahead. Ask about the pieces they are working on. Listen while they practice. Create an environment that is musically supportive. Take them to see good music – any kind they will sit through. Be a part of the audience when they perform. Your student works hard to be a part of a musical ensemble, and deserves your presence at his/her concerts. Share what you notice, in a positive and supportive way. Teens like to know that someone is paying attention, even if they won’t admit it!
If YOU have a question that is not answered here, PLEASE go to the Contacts page and find a chairperson or officer related to your question. Thank you for your interest in the HMS/HHS instrumental music programs that your child is taking.