Welcome to the Stuart Middle School Band Program!

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Photo of the band.

My name is Emily Roberts and I am thrilled to serve as the Director of Bands for the upcoming school year. I am excited for a year of music-making, learning, and getting to know the amazing students, parents, and guardians of Stuart Middle School! I hope to continue to build upon the tradition of excellence established by my predecessor, and I can’t wait to get started! 

The policies and procedures of the band program are outlined in great detail to help create an environment that allows ALL students to succeed. It is the vision of the Stuart Middle School Band Program to provide students with an enriching and authentic musical experience while simultaneously preparing students for the future by building character, knowledge, and critical thinking skills. The band prides itself on being a place where all students feel comfortable and valued. It is my personal belief that each student that enters the room is somebody important. Music is one of the greatest joys in which we may participate.

I am happy that you have decided to participate this year, as I truly believe music is a wonderful activity for all people. Students may find that having a “band family” is an invaluable resource as they navigate middle school and high school. As the year progresses, please be on the lookout for emails, Charms announcements, take-home newsletters, and other forms of communication that will keep you up to date with band events.

Please feel free to contact me through email throughout the year. It’s going to be another fantastic year for the Stuart Middle School Band!

Emily Roberts, Director of Bands


All ensembles are a year-long commitment. It is not possible to be in band for only the fall or spring semesters.
Beginning Band is open to all SMS students with parental permission. The choice of being in band means making a year-long commitment. Students must realize that they may not always be able to play their first instrument of choice; however, every student will be allowed to try out instruments and will be guided to an instrument appropriate for them.

The band MUST be properly balanced musically through each group to ensure every student’s success, and this can only be accomplished through a properly balanced Beginning Band. Basic musical skills, including reading music notation, tone production, and technical proficiency, are acquired during this course.

  • Concert Band is made up of students who have developed their musical skills to a level that qualifies them to be promoted from Beginning Band. Further development of musical skills is concentrated on as
    well as developing ensemble performance techniques. This group performs for adjudication at the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) Music Performance Assessment (MPA) and musicians are encouraged to
    participate in the FBA Solo & Ensemble MPA. CONCERT BAND IS AN AUDITIONED ENSEMBLE;

  • Jazz Band is a very select group of highly skilled musicians dedicated to performing not only jazz, but also as part of the Symphonic Band or Concert Band . It is not possible to only be enrolled in jazz band. Instrumentation is selective and very specific. This group performs at the FBA MPAs for Jazz Band AND Symphonic Band, and musicians are encouraged to participate in the FBA Solo & Ensemble MPA. JAZZ BAND IS AN AUDITIONED ENSEMBLE; DIRECTOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED.

  • Symphonic Band is made up of the most proficient musicians in the school. It is the top performing ensemble at SMS and concentrates on advanced literature and ensemble skills development. This development is geared towards success in the high school band program. This group performs at the FBA MPA and participation in the FBA Solo & Ensemble MPA is highly encouraged. SYMPHONIC BAND IS AN AUDITIONED ENSEMBLE; DIRECTOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED.

  • Marching Band is made up of ALL concert and symphonic band members, for the purpose of performing in a few parades throughout the community. This is an outside-of-school commitment: marching band will rehearse a few days after school prior to a performance. Both rehearsals and performances are mandatory, grades will be reflected in the overall concert band or symphonic band grade.

  • Drumline meets weekly after school and is made up of students in one of the concert ensembles (concert or symphonic band.) Most drumline students are percussionists. Drumline performs during parades.

  • Color Guard meets weekly after school and is made up of students that are either in a band class or not in a band class, but must attend SMS. Color Guard is taught by volunteers. Color Guard performs during parades and Solo & Ensemble. DIRECTOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED.


Students will audition for ensembles at the end of every year. More information will become available during the spring semester. All students are placed at the discretion of the band director and school administration. Please direct placement questions to Ms. Roberts.


Each Student will be required to pay an assessment fee of $70 per year. This fee covers:

1) Parts of the uniform such as band polo, shirt and tie, or blouse and scarf (student responsible for
remaining parts of uniform)
2) Band polo for new members
3) Method book for all members (please note that this is a change from previous years)
4) New music for all bands
5) FBA performance fees
6) Transportation to events
7) Awards
8) Supplies
9) Guest teachers and clinicians
10) Other expenses as approved by the director and school bookkeeper

If at any time there are financial concerns for your family and paying the fees become a strain, please, please do not hesitate to contact me . Every effort will be made to work with each situation on an individual basis.

Money should not prevent students from participating in this program, and I will do my best to come up with a solution that is right for you. Fees are due by Friday, September 6th, 2019 . Fees can be paid via cash or check made out to “SMS” (or Stuart Middle School). In either case, please place the money in an envelope labeled with the student’s name and ensemble. Students in jazz band and a concert ensemble need only pay one fee.


A few fundraisers will be offered throughout the year. Fundraisers may serve to help the entire program, or they may be for the individual to raise money to offset the cost of their trip, if applicable. All band members are expected to participate in fundraisers.


1. Have your stuff (working instrument, binder, music, supplies, pencil, and highlighter).
2. Play at the right time.
3. Play your best.
4. Correct posture and playing position.
5. Positive attitude.
6. Returning paperwork and assignments in a timely fashion.
7. Respect others’ property--and your own! Instruments are expensive and can be costly to repair ifdamaged. As such, it is your responsibility to take care of your own instrument and refrain from
handling others, including school instruments! If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t touch it.
8. QUIET once the Director steps on the podium. No talking should occur once class has started. Musical cooperation comes in two parts: performing your part in tune and rhythmically accurate,
and being silent at the appropriate time. Because performing music WELL requires such a high level of aural accuracy, any extra or unnecessary sounds diminish the quality.
9. Students are not allowed to leave rehearsals or performances early unless prior arrangements have been made with the Director.
10. Any other expectations established by the Director prior to or during rehearsal.

Arriving unprepared to class will result in a lowered participation grade for the day. Students who arrive without an instrument (unless the reasoning for such has been communicated in advance) will fill out a “Rehearsal Detective” worksheet and are still expected to participate in rehearsal to the fullest extent possible. Consequences for not adhering to rehearsal expectations and school rules will be dealt with according to school policy. For more information, consult the Stuart Middle School student handbook.

There are few excuses for not attending events, completing assignments, or following procedures. These will NOT be accepted:
1) I couldn’t get a ride. (Plan ahead, there is always someone willing to give you a ride)
2) I didn’t know about it. (Be responsible, check your schedule and calendar)
3) I am leaving town (The calendar lists required dates far in advance)
4) Had to do homework (Plan ahead, everyone, including the director, has homework)
5) I wasn’t in school so I didn’t know I had to turn it in. (A due date is exactly that, if you will not be here on a due date make sure that it is turned in early or make arrangements to have it
turned in on time) Any known absences for outside of school performances and rehearsals must be submitted in writing to the Director at least two weeks in advance. This does not guarantee that this will count as an excused absence.

See above for attendance policy. Students who are absent for outside of school rehearsals and performances will be expected to complete an alternative assignment, issued by the Director, within one week of their return to school.

The director reserves the right to excuse students from obligations under exceptional circumstances, such as a death in the family, extreme illness, or other hardship. If extreme emergencies do occur, you may be excused upon returning to school with documentation of the event on the day after you return.


In any performance setting with the Stuart Middle School band program, students are expected to conduct themselves with maturity and respect. This includes refraining from talking on stage or while others are performing, maintaining composure on stage, and treating other performers and audience members with respect. Performance attendance and behavior are reflected in the students’ grade. You represent not only yourself, but your band program, your school, and your community. Do so with pride!


From time to time, a section of the band or the full band will need extra rehearsal time. This usually occurs because classes need to be combined prior to their performances, or need instrument-specific instruction. These after-school rehearsals are called only when necessary and with ample notice so that transportation arrangements can be made.

These are not extra-curricular; they are co-curricular and will be graded based on the academic music standards provided by the State of Florida. Co-curricular activities often extend beyond the school day, but the material covered beyond the school day continues to relate to the standards, and therefore, it is graded.


Students are expected to practice at home outside of school hours, as well as complete all other band assignments, as this is a graded course. Students will enjoy more success if they practice regularly, making the activity more enjoyable. Students will perform required pass-offs during class for a grade; it is expected that they will practice outside of school enough to receive a passing grade.

Parents should set aside a dedicated practice space in the home to facilitate success, preferably one free of distractions. The student will require a place to sit up straight and hold their instrument properly, a music stand, adequate lighting, and a metronome or metronome (free!) app on computer or smart phone. Students should also have regularly scheduled days and times to practice to ensure good musical habits are formed.

I am always happy to meet with your student before or after school for additional help as needed. If you or your student would like to meet with me, please contact me! There is no shame in asking for help.

Additionally, while it is not required, it is highly recommended that your student enroll in private lessons taught by musicians within Martin County. While the Director will do her best to provide the highest possible education for each student, there is no substitute for one-on-one attention from teachers who are experts on their instruments for supplementary instruction. Please contact me for more information.


Each player is a vital part of the whole. If you miss rehearsals and/or performances, your grade will be affected as will the performance of the group. Performances are like exams in other classes.
Unfortunately, they cannot be made up once missed. Rehearsals and concerts are grading opportunities because we are working on Florida music standards, but if you are not there, you cannot receive the grade.
Any concerns about conflicts with other school-related activities must be brought to the attention of the Director. Most times, the Director is able to work out conflicts with the Sponsor of the other activity.


If an absence from an event is known in advance, for reasons such as funeral, surgery, illness, or other, please make contact with Ms. Roberts via email to excuse the absence. Absences are not excused for non-emergencies such as birthdays, parties, or non-required school clubs. Every effort has been made to limit rehearsals to a minimum number and schedule rehearsals in times that do not conflict with other school events. Again, if something does arise, please contact Ms. Roberts.


Each band member is REQUIRED to wear a uniform as defined below during all performances. It is the student’s responsibility to clean and maintain any uniform worn. The director reserves the right to change the uniform over one month prior to a performance if necessary. More information about uniform rental will be distributed at a later date. Please contact Ms. Roberts with any questions.
Beginning Band :
1) SMS Band Shirt, purchased through the band
2) Black slacks (NO jeans, leggings, or sweat pants)
3) Black socks (must cover the ankle)
4) Black shoes (NO other color can be seen, please see Ms. Roberts if this is an issue)
Concert Band:
1) Black button-down dress shirt or black blouse, purchased through band
2) Orange tie or scarf, rented through band
3) Black slacks (NO jeans, leggings, or sweat pants)
4) Black socks (must cover the ankle)
5) Black shoes (NO other color can be seen, please see Ms. Roberts if this is an issue)
Jazz Band and Symphonic Band:
1) Black button-down dress shirt or black blouse, purchased through band
2) Blue tie or scarf, rented through band
3) Black slacks (NO jeans, leggings, or sweat pants)
4) Black socks (must cover the ankle)
5) Black shoes (NO other color can be seen, please see Ms. Roberts if this is an issue)
6) Jazz only: at select performances, we will wear Hawaiian shirts! See Ms. Roberts if this is an
Marching Band:
1) SMS Band Polo, purchased through the band (same as Beginning Band polo)
2) Black slacks (NO jeans, leggings, or sweat pants)
3) Black socks (must cover the ankle)
4) Black shoes purchased through the band
Band is a co-curricular course where a grade is assigned. All grades at Stuart Middle School are tied to
standards set forth by the State of Florida. No extra credit is allowed. Music specific standards are
available at cpalms.org.
Category 1: Performances, Projects, and Rehearsals 50% of grade
-this includes evidence of standards being met through public
Category 2: Quizzes 30% of grade
- this includes pass-offs
Category 3: Daily Checks 20% of grade
- this includes monitoring of student mastery of standards in class, as well as equipment checks
The director reserves the right to adjust the grading procedures after notifying parents of the change.

Playing Tests/Pass-Offs

Each student will be required to play lines from the method book, their concert music, or exercises we are doing. These are known as Playing Tests or Pass-Offs. They will occur up to once a week, or as little as once per 9 weeks. This will be dictated by the needs of the specific band class. Students will have ample time to prepare – they will always have at least 1 week of notice that they must prepare for a pass-off.

Pass-offs falls under grading category 2, which is 30% of the total grade. All classes will be taking scale tests throughout the year. Students are always encouraged to “retake” any
test on which they did not show proficiency or mastery. Scale Test retakes are done after school or before school, not during class. Scale Tests fall under grading category 1, which is 65% of the total grade.


Students are expected to follow all Stuart Middle School rules and procedures while on campus, in the band room, on the stage, on field trips, and anywhere we may find ourselves together. Due to new state laws regarding consequences for dress code violations, it is imperative that students follow all rules, including dress code, so they may participate in important activities.
There are two very important rules specific to the band room. They are:

1) Respect for self, others, and property
2) Students will listen while the teacher is working
Respect is shown by keeping hands off others and the property of others, using kind language, attending all events on time, etc. All students benefit when the room is quiet and focused while the teacher

Other rules and procedures are as follows:
1. You may come into the band room before and after school and during your band class period. You may not come into the band room any other time unless you have received prior permission.
You must leave the band room when the director leaves for the day, and you and your family are responsible for your transportation after the school day. When the director leaves, they are not
responsible for you.
3. Throw all trash in the trash cans, not the on the floor.
4. Report all acts of vandalism immediately, no matter how small.
5. Usage of cell phones/tablets only occurs when the Director deems appropriate for school purposes. These devices must be OFF during school hours, not on “silent/vibrate.”
6. NEVER leave money or valuables in the band room. The Director is not responsible for loss/theft.
7. Public displays of affection and/or profanity will not be tolerated.
8. Do not enter the Director’s office for any reason unless she is present.
9. Other people’s instruments and property are off-limits. You do not have permission to play the school drums, tubas, pianos, bass, etc.
10. Do not call out or argue during class. If there is a question about music, raise your hand and wait to be recognized. Use good taste and common sense.
11. NEVER lean on the music stands. They hold music, not bodies.
12. NEVER rock back in chairs.
13. Upon entering the band room, quiet shall be maintained. Loud talking, running, and horseplay will not be tolerated.
14. Any other rules deemed necessary by the director.


The director will follow school procedures regarding discipline. Be aware that dress code violations have state-mandated consequences this year and dress code violations may impact your ability to participate.
School policy this year requires that the band room back door remain LOCKED at all times. The door will not be opened for anyone, including students, parents, and visitors. This includes after-school rehearsal; students must be picked up at the front of the school . The door will only be opened for emergencies during school hours. Outside of school hours, such as a weekend, the director may give permission to open the door.

The Band Room belongs to the students. Its appearance will reflect the PRIDE that each student has in our program. SMS has many visitors during the year. Students have the responsibility to keep the room neat and orderly by checking underneath their seats before leaving class/rehearsal, cleaning up after themselves, and keeping their locker/storage area tidy. Our environment is reflected in our work and it also reflects the students’ attitude towards music.


Students are required to own or rent an acceptably functioning instrument and are obligated to maintain, at their own expense, this instrument in full working order. Instruments can be purchased or rented from music stores locally. Some instruments are available for rent directly from Stuart Middle School. Students are also required to own adequate accessories such as reeds, valve oil, mutes, and mouthpieces.

Reed players should have at least 2 extra reeds with them at all rehearsals. All reed players should have four to five “good” reeds that are rotated from day to day.
Percussionists are required to purchase a stick bag that has mallets and sticks already in them. An at-home practice pad and bell kit is required for percussion students.

***Please consult Ms. Roberts or a local music store rep before purchasing an instrument to own. Some cheap instruments you may find online or at big box retail stores may break easily and can often not be repaired by technicians. Quality instruments do not come in a variety of colors! If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.***

School Owned Property and School Rentals

Only bass clarinet, bassoon, baritone saxophone, euphonium, tuba, and percussion may be rented from the school. There is an instrument rental fee of $75.00 for a school-owned instrument for one academic year, August-May. If inventory allows, a second instrument may be rented for the year for an additional fee of $25 (this is useful for tubas so one can be kept at home).

This money only covers about half of the expenses for repair and maintenance on instruments throughout the year, so it is important to collect these fees. If financial difficulty exists, please contact Ms. Roberts for help in finding a solution. Again, every student belongs in band! No financial hardship should prevent a student’s participation.
It is every student’s responsibility to show care and respect for all instruments, instrument accessories, music, uniforms, stands, folders and the room itself. Willful damage or vandalism to any portion of the music facility will be grounds for severe disciplinary action. Students and their families may be held liable for damage to rented instruments.

School Board policy states that instruments transported by school bus must fit under the seat. Each bus driver’s decision in this matter will be final. Therefore, parents should provide transportation for home practice if their child has a larger instrument, or have an instrument strictly for home use.

Locker Procedures

Most school owned instruments will have a locker. Lockers may be assigned to students on a first come, first serve basis. Students may provide their own locks, provided the combination is shared with the director so it may be accessed in case it is needed. The school, band program, and Ms. Roberts are not responsible for anything that happens to items in a locker.


School and Band rules and regulations are in effect for the duration of all school-sponsored activities. Infractions will be dealt with as required by the severity.
All students and chaperones will ride the buses to and from all events, unless specifically designated in advance. At the end of the activity, students will be released only to people listed on the emergency card/band contract.

All trips will be chaperoned. The chaperones are with us to help us carry out our duties and responsibilities. They will help enforce the rules and maintain order. Questions and/or problems should be filtered through the chaperones. The chaperones will be treated with RESPECT. Any student showing disrespect for a chaperone may be denied future participation in trips with the band and can be referred to Student Services, which could result in loss of school trips.

Chaperones must get level 2 clearance through a Martin County School District background check.

If selected to travel, there are certain criteria that must be met by all students if they are to participate:
1. Must meet the school’s incentive trip requirements,
2. Must always show respect for all teachers, guest teachers, all students, and chaperones,
3. Must attend all rehearsals and performances deemed necessary by the Director,
4. Must meet Director-designated requirements, such as pay appropriate cost, and
5. Must meet the approval of the school administration.
Departure and return times are indicated on the permission slips. We make every effort to keep to the schedule. Students, please make arrangements to have your ride WAITING for you when we arrive back at the school. Parents, you must pick your child up within 15 minutes after the activity is over.


With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., students must be very careful about anything they may post. Students will not use social media to “slam” another student, event, or activity. Any type of negative post will be reported to administration and dealt with in a manner fitting the post. If it’s not kind, not true, or embarrassing, don’t post it. If it’s embarrassing, don’t post it. Keep it classy!


For Symphonic, Jazz, and Concert Bands, FBA Band Music Performance Assessment (MPA) is the culmination of months of very serious rehearsal. This is the most important performance each year and parent support is crucial. This is the band equivalent to the FSA, EOC, etc. Bands in the state of Florida have been subjecting themselves for healthy peer review for over 50 years. Producing the highest level of artistic sensitivity and attention to musical detail is the end goal.

Three judges will make comments on and rate three musical selections. The first is a march. The next two are taken from the FBA Music List and are graded according to their degree of technical and musical difficulty. The size of the school determines the grade level that the band is required to play. Judges evaluate these performances with comment sheets and ratings of Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.

A fourth judge evaluates the band on the same grading scale in sight-reading. The band has a very short period of time to study two pieces of music and then must play them.
The three main categories are Performance Fundamentals, Technical Preparation, and Musical Effect. Sub-categories are for tone quality, intonation, physical articulation, beginnings and endings of notes, correct notes, rhythmic accuracy, dynamics (volume), blend, expression, and style. These are graded A, B, C, D, or F based on a subjective standard established through many years of band adjudication.