HS Band FAQs

Sun Valley HS Band – Frequently Asked Questions   (December 2021)


Is Band a year long class? Yes & No.  Students will register for two separate semesters of band.

(Fall & Spring –  “BAND 1 & Band 1 Sem 2”)  Each semester receives its own credit. Students needing to miss a semester of band because of a scheduling issue for other classes will be dealt with on a case by case basis.  In all cases a student may be required to audition to be placed back in the band class after missing a semester.  This is to ensure proper musical progress is made if a student must skip a semester. Students who demonstrate more advanced abilities by the end of the fall semester may be given honors credit beginning in the spring.

Do I have to participate in the marching band in high school?  Marching band is not a requirement in high school, however, participation is highly encouraged.   It is worth giving it a try.  The camaraderie and additional music training that comes along with participating in marching band does not compare to just playing an instrument in class each day. Students also love the travel and performance opportunities that come with participation in marching band. Often times students will think that it will be too much to handle or they aren’t coorindated enough.  We will provide all the training needed to be successful.

How much time is involved in marching band?  In short, marching band has about 12 days of “band camp” at school in the weeks before school begins. Once band camp is done, there is a Tuesday and Thursday evening rehearsal component.  The marching band participates in all home varsity games on Fridays, and most away games.  There are also several Saturday competitions from the middle of September until the last week in October.  (Not every Saturday, usually 4 or 5).  We will also have a few evenings scheduled in May to begin marching basics instruction and begin sightreading music.  This is all done at Sun Valley High.

Is there a cost for being in High School Concert Band?  There are no fees for band class. We will have some fundraisers during the year, with the profits helping to offset our costs for MPA travel/performance.  If funds are not fully raised, there may be a charge for transportation to MPA.

For those participating in marching band –  there is a participation fee of $325 that covers the cost of additional instructional staff and other materials for the marching band.  Transportation is provided to all events with the exception of the Matthews Alive parade.  Additional costs include the purchase of individual marching pants and marching shoes and gloves.  These will be ordered during band camp prior to the start of school.  If at any time you foresee a financial hardship or have concerns about any costs involved be sure to contact Mr. Reynolds.  A marching band sign up night will be scheduled in late March or early April, at which time a $125 will be due to be fully registered for marching band. Additional details related to payments and schedule will be posted on the band website www.SunValleyBands.org  and emailed out through CutTime.

Can I change instruments in high school?  Generally speaking, no.  Unless you have received private instruction and can play a secondary instrument at a 3rd year level, you will be expected to play the same instrument you did in middle school.  Exceptions might be those students who are recruited to participate in the percussion front ensemble of the marching band, including those who already know how to play piano.  These students will receive training at percussion camp over the summer.  Other exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis. Please contact Mr. Reynolds to make him aware of your interest in changing instruments.

Does marching band conflict with cheerleading or sports?  The short answer is “sometimes”.  In high school you will have to start making some choices.  HOWEVER, when it comes to sports, I will let you participate in as much as you can handle.  The general rule regarding games, performances and practices is this…. If the band has a performance and you have a sports practice, the PERFORMANCE comes first.  If there is a band practice that conflicts with a sports GAME, the GAME comes first.  You should be able to experience as much as you want, but realize that schedules will often overlap.  Good communication between students, parents, coaches and band director are essential.  You and your parents know how much you can handle.  If you can fit in marching band rehearsals and sports practices and homework and keep up with it all, then we try to work it out.  There have been marching band students in Cross Country, Tennis, Soccer, and Volleyball in previous years. It can be done sometimes, but if the practices over lap and if there are too many performance/game conflicts a student will have to make a decision to do one or the other.

How am I graded in HS Band?  Daily rehearsal (coming to class prepared, participating fully, etc).  Performances – being at all scheduled performances. Tests/Quizzes – Written and playing tests.

How can my schedule work if I want to take both Band and ROTC in high school?

ROTC and Band would take up four of your eight courses your freshman year.  In order to make it work in your schedule you may need to delay taking PE until your sophomore year.  Please be sure to contact Mr. Reynolds so that he can be in communication with the guidance department and ROTC instructors.

Will taking band keep me from being able to take Honors and/or Advanced Placement Classes?  There may come a time that an Honors or AP level class gets scheduled the same period that band meets.  In these cases you will need to weigh one over the other.  If a student wishes to study a particular field in college, and wants to be sure they have a specific class, then they may have to drop band a semester in order to take that class they want.  Sometimes a student WANTS a class, but doesn’t HAVE to have it, meaning it is not a requirement for graduation.  It is in these cases that a student has to determine which class they would most like to have. Always discuss potential conflicts with Mr. Reynolds.

There is an honors level credit for band students who are regularly playing at an advanced level (grade 4 and above).  Most students can achieve this level by the second semester of their freshman year.  Honors level credit can significantly help a student’s GPA, so it is in a band student’s best interest to remain in band and continue to enjoy playing and participating.

There are students who graduate from Sun Valley HS every year who have remained in band every semester they have been in high school.  Many have graduated with honors.  Previous Sun Valley band students who stayed in the program all four years of high school (including all 8 semesters) are now, or have been, in school at Appalachian, Catawba, Elon, Wingate, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro,  Wake Forest, Western Carolina, East Carolina, Furman, Clemson, NC State,  UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Asheville, and UNC-Charlotte just to name a few! Colleges look for students who are committed and follow through with their high school activities.  Band is a wonderful way to show that commitment! Many colleges also offer scholarships for musicians, even if you are not majoring in music.

Do I still have to complete a practice journal or practice assignments in high school? Not regularly.  Students are expected to still practice at home, but your evaluation will take place in your playing tests and individual playing excerpts in class….then I can usually tell if you have practiced enough at home!  Assessments are sometimes done in person in class, audio or video submission through Canvas, or recorded live at school in a separate room.

What are the benefits of taking band in high school? One of the biggest advantages of participating in high school band is that there are ready-made friends the first day of school.  Marching Band will also introduce you to upperclassmen at the high school that will become your friends immediately, and will help make your transition a smooth one.  Band is also one of those classes where you pretty much already know what to expect.  This leaves you time to concentrate on other classes that will be new to you.

Participation in band also helps you with your time management skills and learning to prioritize and set goals.  You have a ready-made support system that can help you with everything from car-pooling to school and events, as well as upper class students who can assist you with a class you may be struggling in. You can almost always find someone who has had the same course you are taking, or who has had the same teacher in a previous year.  Those are benefits that go beyond the music in the class.

A few comments regarding Early College and Central Academy:

Early College does not have a band program.  Central Academy does have concert band and marching band, just as SVHS does.  Some students, depending on their “track”, may not be able to take band every semester or yearly at Central Academy. Elective classes are geared towards a student’s chosen field of interest, and band may conflict with the other required classes. There is a music production and recording arts track at CATA.  Details can be found on the Central Academy school website.

WE NEED YOU!! You have made wonderful progress through middle school band.  Ms. DeLuca and I are proud of the committment you have already made through three years of band at the middle school level.  Our groups at the high school are always needing to replace our graduating members with new students.  We have our concert and symphonic bands, marching band, jazz band, and small ensembles that help support various school and community activities during the year. This only happens when we have a strong band program. And that starts with YOU, the individual musician.


www.SunValleyBands.org           jeff.reynolds@ucps.k12.nc.us