2016 Handbook

                                                    Agreement form is on the bottom.
Please print it, fill it out and return it by Thursday, September 8 for a grade of 'A'.  The grade will be lowered one letter grade for every day it is late.

Welcome and congratulations on choosing to be a part of the Victoria Fertitta Middle School Band Program!!  By making this decision, you have become a member of one of the most successful middle school band programs in Clark County.  You have also joined an organization in which you will create friendships that will last a lifetime.  If you choose to remain in band throughout high school, you will be in the same classes with your friends for the next SEVEN YEARS!!  You are going to find yourself having more fun and working harder than you ever thought possible.  And you have also made an important first step toward a successful future.  Most successful people, whether they are in the field of business, medicine, law, engineering, etc. played a musical instrument in school while they were growing up.  Learning to play an instrument in band requires discipline, self-motivation, teamwork, cooperation, problem-solving skills, and multi-tasking.  These are all qualities that help people become successful in life!  So you haven’t just made a decision to learn to play an instrument, you’ve made a decision to become successful in life.  So again, CONGRATULATIONS!!


Help students gain proficiency on their instruments.
Develop and foster pride and a sense of accomplishment in a large performance group.
Give students opportunity and pleasure from performance.
Give students a chance to provide service to the school and the community.
Provide a complete learning experience in the discipline of music.


The Fertitta Fifteen will be enforced throughout the year in band classes!

Each student is expected to practice at least 20 - 30 minutes every day at home.

Each student will be responsible for obtaining his or her own instrument by rental or purchase.  The school has a limited number of smaller instruments for check out during the school year, and larger instruments (tubas, baritones, bass clarinets, French horns, and bari saxes) will be provided by the school.  There is a $50 usage fee for the use of school owned instruments for the year. This will be due at the time the student checks out the instrument.  Students will be responsible for maintaining these instruments in proper working condition throughout the year and will be financially responsible for any excessive wear and tear to the instrument while it is checked out to them during the year.

Each student will be expected to achieve a high degree of self-discipline both in the classroom and at all band functions.

Each student will be expected to treat fellow students, the director, and all equipment with the utmost respect.


Students will be graded on individual achievement based on the expectations of the students’ capabilities, written and playing tests, practice charts, and participation.

15% Classwork, Homework, and Practice Charts.
85% Tests and Concert Participation.

Semester grade:
45% First Quarter
45% Second Quarter
10% Semester Exam


Citizenship grades in band will be based on participation and conduct in the classroom and at all band events (i.e. concerts, field trips, festivals, etc.)

Every student will begin each quarter with 100 points for participation/citizenship.  Students will lose points for not participating or for poor conduct. For example, if a student brings their instrument every day to class with all necessary materials and follows the Fertitta 15, they will receive full credit for the quarter.  If the student fails to bring their instrument to class on more than one occasion, they will lose 5 points for every unexcused time they don't have their instrument or materials (excused reasons will be at the discretion of the director).  If a student breaks class rules or the Fertitta 15 they will lose 5 points for each infraction.

Grading Scale:
100-85     Outstanding
84-75       Satisfactory
74-60       Needs Improvement
59-0         Unsatisfactory


Just about every band program in the country has fees that are owed by the participants.  Often times the fees run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.  However, our fees will only run $40 for the year.  These fees to the band will help cover the costs of providing a method book, a uniform shirt, and some additional instruments and uniform maintenance/replacement, and better equipment for the students to use. 

So the costs for the year should be approximately:

$40 Band fee
$10-$25 Approx. cost of care and maintenance supplies for the year to purchase from music store as explained later in this handbook.
$50 Instrument usage fee if using a school instrument for the year.


Many people think these two terms mean the same thing. They do not!   Often times, people think that rehearsals are the time for ‘practice’.  However, practice should be done at home to learn specific skills or specific pieces of music so rehearsal time can be spent putting together all the different parts of the music with all the different instruments.  Students are expected to practice 20-30 minutes at home daily.  If students practice the suggested amount of time correctly, they will become fantastic musicians.  However, most students wind up ‘playing’ during their practice time.  They play the music they already know and don’t ever get around to trying to work on new skills.  Parents, when your child is practicing, they should be in a quiet atmosphere where they can focus.  And if you listen to them practice, you should hear them struggle at first on what they’re playing and hopefully hear some improvement by the end of their practice time.  If you hear them playing through music and sounding pretty good all the time, they aren’t really practicing.  They’re actually performing at that point, and quite frankly, wasting their time.  PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW SIBLINGS TO MESS AROUND WITH STUDENTS INSTRUMENTS!


One of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of being involved with music is being able to perform your music.  Music is an incredible communication tool that everyone around the world can relate to.  So, when a group has learned and progressed to a point that they are ready to perform for others, everyone should make a point to be a part of that performance.  Band is a team effort and when even one member of that team is not present, it can affect the entire group.  Not only are the concerts fun but they also serve as a great learning tool for everyone.  Knowing that you contributed 100% to the success of the band is extremely rewarding.  The Fall (advanced band only), Winter and Spring concerts will be held on campus at Fertitta M.S.

Attendance at concerts is mandatory if the student is performing at the concert (for example: a beginning band student does not have to attend the Fall concert because they are not performing at that concert)!! And all students are required to stay at the concert throughout the entirety of the concert.  Excuses for not attending concerts would include: death in the family, severe illness, accident on the way to the concert, etc.  Any other excused absences from a concert will need to be prearranged and submitted in writing at least two weeks prior to the concert. 

Students may be excused from attending performances at the director's discretion.

The consequence for an unexcused absence from a performance is a grade of 'F' for that performance.

Please see the Calendar link for the performance schedule.


One of the great parts about being in band is the opportunity to give ‘professional’ type concerts.  Part of being professional is not only sounding professional, but also acting and looking professional.  Therefore, the Fertitta bands wear a uniform that is considered to be a professional looking musician’s uniform. Students in all bands will be required to wear: black dress shoes, black socks, and black dress pants. Advanced Band and Intermediate Band students will wear a black tuxedo shirt.  If they already have one, they don't need to buy another.  If they need a replacement shirt, they can purchase one for $20 from Mr. Reid in the band room later this fall.  The Beginning Band students will wear a polo shirt which will be included in the band fee cost. We will provide the Intermediate Band students with bow ties and cummerbunds at the concert to be turned in at the end of the concert.  Advanced Band students will be checked out a tie and vest for the year and will return it at the end of the school year.


During the first several weeks of school, beginning band students will learn about all of the different instruments we have to choose from.  They will also learn a lot of the general music skills needed before they even begin to play.  After the students are well informed about all their choices, I will do my best to guide the students toward trying what instrument will best suit them.   Sometimes this may be an instrument they have never considered or even heard of.  So I ask that students have open minds and trust that I will do what I believe is in their best interest when I make recommendations.  Students will be able to select from the following instruments:  Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, and Percussion.

Many students come in to beginning band thinking that they want to play percussion.  However, reality is that I will only start 10-12 beginning percussionists per year.  There will be several prerequisites for students to play percussion.  Prospective beginning band percussionists will be required to have had prior piano experience and will be expected to demonstrate their music reading and playing ability and/or be able to exhibit a strong sense of rhythm.  Students will also be asked to bring in their fifth grade report card. Prospective percussionists should have all E's for citizenship and A's and B's.  Any students not able to meet these requirements must spend one year in our band program playing one of the wind instruments.  They may begin playing percussion (with director approval) their second year of band.


Most students come to Fertitta’s Band with a personally owned or rented instrument. Most instruments cost in the $15-$20 range per month to “rent-to-own” from a music store.  If the student is unable to rent, then I’ll have to suggest trying another instrument that we have available from the school. So if a student really wants to play clarinet and we don’t have any available, they’ll have to go to a music store to rent one (music store flyers will be sent home). 
There are a limited number of school owned instruments that can be checked out from Fertitta Middle School for the year. These instruments mostly include the larger and more expensive equipment (i.e. Tubas, Baritones, Euphoniums, Bassoons, Oboes, and several others). There are also very few of the smaller instruments available typically for students that are on free or reduced lunch programs. Any student that checks out an instrument from Fertitta Middle School will be required to fill out an agreement contract (CCF-793) and pay the $50 usage fee for the year. Any other damage incurred will also be the student’s financial responsibility.


Students will be expected to purchase certain items that will help keep their instruments in proper working order.  Below is a list of items that will be required for students to own.  Most music stores offer some sort of cleaning/maintenance kit.  Check with the store you frequent most to find out more.  Also, ALL INSTRUMENT CASES MUST HAVE A NAME TAG ON THEM AT ALL TIMES.


Beginning & Intermediate Band students:  Bell Kit rented from store (for home practice), snare drum sticks, xylophone mallets, yarn-wrapped mallets, stick bag.
Wind Ensemble students:  Everything stated above and general timpani mallets.

We will have a stick bag with snare sticks, xylophone mallets, and yarn wrapped mallets available for approximately $65 (about a $30 savings from the store).


Instrument lockers will be assigned to students to use for storage of their instruments.  These lockers are not to be used for books, clothing, or personal belongings.  Due to the large number of students in the band program, many students will be sharing lockers with other students.  It is expected that students will respect each other's instruments and equipment.

Parent and Student Agreement
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Fertitta Middle School
Firebird Band

9905 West Mesa Vista Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89148

Music and Stuff
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