•  Higley: United in 20 Years of Excellence



    Higley High School

    Band Handbook

    2020 – 2021


    Mr. Chesley Sharp

    Band Director


    (480) 279-9775


    Mr. Steven Cheatham

    Asst. Band Director


    (480) 279-7393


     Higley- Renewed Excellence




    Online Handbook Preface


    A Note from Your Directors

    COVID-19 has placed the structure of education worldwide into an unprecedented frenzy. As a response, daily classes are being held through a virtual format. This page is dedicated to online learning expectations so that we can create a musically-enriching environment for all learners.


    1. Students are expected to have videos on as much as possible. Please communicate if there is a reason your video cannot be on.
      1. Video should show student’s face and upper body in order for the teacher to evaluate posture, finger technique, embouchure, etc.
    2. Students need to do their best to find a place in which they can successfully play their instrument during class time.
      1. Attempt to either purchase a stand, tape music to the wall, or find other creative solutions to be able to see music and sit with good posture
    3. Students are expected to mute and unmute as requested.
      1. At times, students will play along at home with their microphones muted. Individuals will be asked to unmute and play for the class or participate in group discussions or educational activities.
    4. Students should create an environment with limited distractions
      1. Close apps and tabs not related to class, put away phones, turn off music or videos not related to class.
    5. Students should only use chats and messaging when prompted by an instructor
      1. There will be time before exercises to seek clarification, so questions should only be asked or typed at those times.
    6. Students should always be respectful in the learning environment
      1. Virtual learning is a new process for all educators and students. There will be setbacks and issues with technology. Please meet all students and instructors with ease as we delve into this process together.





    Canvas will be our number source of meeting links and materials. Please check this daily.



    Online Student Schedule (As of 7/27/2020)








    7 – 7:55


    0 hour



    0 hour

    8 – 8:55

    1st hour

    4th hour

    Office Hours

    1st hour

    4th hour

    9 – 9:55

    2nd hour

    5th hour

    2nd hour

    5th hour

    10 – 10:55

    3rd hour

    6th hour


    3rd hour

    6th hour

    11 - 3

    No direct instruction – students are expected to work on assignments from all classes




    In this fluid situation, if any questions arise please email either director. Instructors hold the right to update any information as needed. Announcements for changes in course structure can be made: in live classes, on Canvas (announcements or modules), through Charms, through class email, or through any HUSD Administration.





    Course Directors


    Mr. Chesley Sharp grew up in Calgary, Canada. He later moved to the United States when he started college. Most recently Mr. Sharp attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he received his Master’s Degree in 2006.  Mr. Sharp has been teaching at Higley High since 2007.


    Mr. Steven Cheatham will be going into his third year of teaching and first with HUSD. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Music Education in the fall of 2017 and has been teaching K-12 music in the Chandler/Gilbert area since.


    Educational Philosophy


    If you practice, you get better. If you get better, you play with better players.  If you play with better players, you play better music.  If you play better music, you have more fun.  If you have more fun, you want to practice more.  If you practice more, you get better…



    The purpose of the handbook is to provide valuable information about the band program.  To consistently achieve and maintain the high standard of excellence desired by this organization, members should familiarize themselves with the regulations, procedures and traditions of the ensembles.


    It is hoped that some of the questions always prevalent with a performing group will be answered in this handbook.  If a problem or question not covered in this handbook should arise, the director should be consulted for an explanation.  Additions and changes may be made throughout the year if necessary.


    All band music courses provide students with instruction in the creative and analytical elements of music. These elements include the skills of listening, communication, performing, musical and mathematical theory, reading, writing, physical development, coordination, and aesthetics allowing for individual differences among students.

    Symphonic Band (Teacher is Mr. Sharp)

    The Symphonic Band is the select concert organization comprised of advanced wind and percussion players whose musical commitment is the performance of the finest wind-oriented chamber music.  Membership is by audition with the Director of Bands.  Auditions are held during the Spring semester.  Chair auditions will take place at the beginning of the school year before we start concentrating on concert music.  The Symphonic Band performs significant literature, which includes original works for wind band, wind orchestra, works from the chamber wind repertoire, and orchestral works may be performed with the string orchestra.


    The number of players in the group will be kept to a minimum.  The Symphonic Band performs a few concerts on campus, as well as off campus performances, and at music festivals. Students are encouraged to participate in the solo/ensemble festival and to audition for honor bands.  Concerts and performances are mandatory for all instrumental groups.


    Supplies: Instrument, appropriate cleaning equipment, tuner, metronome, pencil, spiral notebook.



    Concert Band (Teachers are Mr. Cheatham and Mr. Sharp)

    The Concert Band is comprised of instrumentalists who have the desire to participate in a complete concert organization.  The repertoire consists of well-known and varied works for concert band.  The Concert Band performs several concerts throughout the year and at music festivals.  Students are encouraged to participate in the solo/ensemble festival and to audition for honor bands.  Concerts and performances are mandatory for all instrumental groups.


    Supplies: Instrument, appropriate cleaning equipment, tuner, metronome, pencil, spiral notebook.



    Percussion Ensemble (Teacher is Mr. Cheatham)

    Percussionists have an opportunity to practice and enhance their technical skills allowing them to improve their ability to work as a unit.  Students will have the opportunity to play all percussion instruments, and perform as large and small percussion ensembles, as well as with a concert ensemble.  Rehearsals will be required outside of class time to practice with the wind classes before all performances.  Concerts and performances are mandatory for all instrumental groups.


    Supplies: 1 pair snare sticks (Vic Firth SD-1 General sticks or equivalent), 1 pair marimba/xylo mallets(Vic Firth M5), 1 pair hard bell/xylo mallets(Vic Firth M6), a 12 inch practice pad, metronome, pencil, spiral notebook.



    Attendance Policy

    A student will be considered absent from class if they enter the classroom more than ten minutes after the designated start time.  If the student has a valid reason to be late to class it will be an excused absence. The absence will be considered unexcused if the student is late without being excused by the school administration or the parent signing in the child late.  If you would like to receive attendance updates throughout the day, you have the option to sign up in ParentVUE.


    Band members are required to attend all classes, rehearsals and performances.  They are also expected to have all their equipment (instrument, music, and pencil) with them.  Students who arrive late to class or who do not have their necessary equipment may receive After School Detention.  Students should be on time for all band functions.  If the function starts at 5 pm the student should arrive at 4:45 so they are ready by 5!


    Excused Absence

    Students will receive an excused absence from class or a performance for reasons of illnessfamily emergency, or school activity only. All absences during the school day must be excused according to Higley High School policy established in the student handbook. Excused absences from school DO NOT excuse students from after school events.  The director needs to be contacted directly about after school absences. For a student to be excused from a rehearsal or performance a parent must notify the director two weeks prior to the event.  This may be by email or a letter.  Emergency situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  MAKE UP WORK ONLY APPLIES TO EXCUSED ABSENCES.  WORK MISSED FOR AN UNEXCUSED ABSENCE CANNOT BE MADE UP.


    Unexcused Absences

    Unexcused absences from class/rehearsal/performance will result in a zero grade for the event.  An unexcused absence from a performance may result in the student’s semester grade being lowered by one or more letter grades. 



    Any infraction of attendance policies can affect students' grades, seating, performance participation, trip privileges, and awards. Excessive violations may result in a re-evaluation of the student’s continued participation in program.

    Unusual situations such as sustained illness, injury or family crisis should be brought to the attention of the director as soon as possible.

    Tardy Policy

    All students are expected to report to class on time every day.  

    1st tardy is a reminder

    2nd tardy is a phone call home

    3rd tardy is ASD (after school detention) with the classroom teacher

    4th tardy is an office referral

    Public Performances


    Every student will be informed of all the performances that their group will be attending as soon as they are finalized.  Information regarding these events will be posted on Mr. Sharp’s teacher page.  It is the student’s responsibility to know this information.  Always report to the designated meeting place.  Each student is responsible for bringing his or her own instrument, music, and uniform, or arriving with it on if indicated, for each performance.  Remember that you represent the school and need to act accordingly.  Be courteous and use your common sense in determining your behavior.


    Concert Dates


    The concerts that are scheduled at this time are September 9, December 2, January 19, February 23, May 6, and Graduation


    *Due to the everchanging circumstance of COVID-19 these dates are circumstantial and may be altered at any time at the directors’ discretion*

    Etude Curriculum

    Progressive Etude Performances

    We are working on developing a progressive etude and scale curriculum for each instrument. When it is completed we will talk about what this will add to the class. This will help each student continue to progress on their instrument during their time in the program. This curriculum will be more individual based, and help make sure that every individual in the program is receiving personal feedback from the directors on a regular basis.

    School Equipment

    School Instruments

    As you know, most students rent instruments from local music vendors, and those vendors maintain the instrument throughout the year.  There are a limited number of school-owned instruments that are available for use by students who are unable to rent their own.  All instruments need to be checked out on a SCHOOL INSTRUMENT USE FORM available from Mr. Sharp or Mr. Cheatham.

    The district policy is that all students using a school instrument must pay a yearly maintenance fee of $75.00 which will help cover the cost of regular maintenance and repair.  Students who use multiple instruments will be required to pay for two instruments.  Supplies such as reeds, cork grease, valve oil, slide cream, etc. are to be provided by the student.

    Music folders, instruments and equipment should be kept in their proper places when not in use. Students are financially responsible for all lost or damaged school equipment.  Any damage to school instruments should be reported to the director immediately so that repair arrangements can be made.  You can do more harm to an instrument by continuing to use it in such a state. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR ANY DAMAGE YOURSELF. If damage is due to negligence or vandalism, the student who has the instrument checked out is responsible for repair costs. In order to maintain the quality of our instruments and avoid conflicts, students may only play the instrument they have checked out unless the director has approved a switch. Percussionists are the ONLY ones allowed to play percussion instruments.


    The music we use is very expensive, and in some cases no longer in print.  You may mark your music, but only with pencil.  All such marks need to be removed when the music is handed back in.  Each student is responsible for the music given him or her.  If any of your music is lost or defaced, you will be charged the full replacement cost.  A new piece of music, if still in print, can cost from $50.00 to $700.00.

    Lost and Found

    All items found in the band room not locked or stored will be sent to the school lost and found. The school and district take no responsibility for loss or damage to items left at school.


    There are a number of lockers available in the band room for student use. Combination locks must be supplied by the student. You will need to register your lock combination with your teacher. Lockers are meant for the storage of instrumental equipment ONLY. No food, books, or gym clothing may be stored in lockers. Lockers must be made available to inspection upon request.  Abusing your locker may result in the loss of locker privileges.


    Concert Band Uniforms

    Students must provide:

    1. White long sleeve dress shirt or blouse
    2. Black dress pants or long skirts (past the knees when sitting)
    3. Black socks or nylons
    4. Black dress shoes
    5. All gentlemen must wear a tie

    Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble

    Students must provide:

    1. Black long sleeve button down shirt or blouse
    2. Black dress pants or long skirts (past the knees when sitting)
    3. Ladies can wear a black dress if they choose.
    4. Black socks and dress shoes
    5. All gentlemen must wear a tie. (The school will provide this)

    Music Room Policy


    All individuals have a right to an educational environment free from bias, prejudice and bigotry. As members of the Higley High School educational community, students are expected to refrain from participating in acts of harassment that are designed to demean another student’s race, gender, ethnicity, religious preference, disability or sexual orientation.

    Classroom rules

    Our classroom can be summed up in 2 ideas:

    1. Exemplify professionalism
    2. If everybody did it would it work?

    Here are some (but not all) of our specific rules and expectations.

    1. No food, drink, candy or gum is allowed in the music room. Water in a closable container is allowed.
    2. Leaning on equipment (especially music stands and percussion instruments) is not permitted.
    3. When seated in a chair, all four legs must be touching the ground at all times.
    4. No running or horseplay is permitted.
    5. When you choose to leave your music at school, it must be kept in your locker.
    6. No student is allowed in the director’s office, library, or uniform room without permission.
    7. No hats are to be worn in class.
    8. Do not touch or play any instrument that you do not own or which is not checked out to you or your section.

    Rehearsal and performance procedures

    Upon entering the room, you should unpack and set up your instrument, get your music, and go to your seat.  The other materials you should have with you every day are a sharpened pencil, and (depending on your instrument) at least 2 working reeds, valve/slide oil.  You may then warm up, practice your music, or socialize with your immediate neighbors.


    When the director steps on the podium, he should have your undivided attention.  Listen quietly to him for your instructions.  During rehearsal you should remain attentive and follow instructions as best as you can.  Do not pack up your instrument until the director has told you to do so.  This is to be done without an excess of noise.  No one is to leave the room until the bell has rung. 


    For rehearsals and performances students need to be in the proper attire and ready to begin by call time.  Only band students are allowed in warm-up or performance areas.  

    Behavior Management Plan and Consequences

    *A student’s behavior can warrant skipping steps if the offense warrants further action.

    1. Verbal Warning
    1. Student to fill out Behavior Improvement Form & Parent communication
    1. After School Detention (ASD) as needed, also any tardy on or after 3rd tardy.
    1. Parent conference (may involve counselor/administrator)
    1. Written referral to principal’s office & call or letter home


    Student Leadership

    Student leadership is the most important part of our program. By the time a student is in their second year of the program, they are leaders, whether they realize it or not. If a student aspires to student leadership in the Higley Instrumental Program, they will begin to experience the lifelong lessons of service and dedication. Student leadership is essential to our success as an organization.

    While everyone can be an effective leader in this program, formal opportunities to serve are available in the following areas:

    • Band Council President
    • Band Council Vice President
    • Band Council Secretary
    • Band Council Treasurer


    Travel privileges are exactly that. They are earned through good conduct and performance in ALL classes and activities at Higley High School. The director reserves the right to revoke these privileges if necessary.

    1. Higley performing ensembles may travel to in-state and out-of-state festivals. All school rules are in effect during those trips. Infractions will be handled as if they occurred on school grounds in accordance with HHS and district policies. Any illegal activity will result in the removal from participation in the program.
    2. All students will ride to performances on provided buses. Students may travel home from events with their own parents if the Band Director is provided with a note from a parent prior to the event, and the proper form is filled out before the student leaves.
    3. If you have any medical conditions that could affect you during a performance or trip, please let Mr. Sharp know as soon as possible.


    Occasionally students will be asked to participate in fundraisers to help with costs incurred by extra activities or expenses such a field trips, equipment, clinicians, etc.  This is done so that learning can be enhanced, but no extra financial burden is placed on students and their families.  Money earned is deposited into the band club account, where Mr. Sharp tracks funds for each student.  When a student leaves the program any remaining funds revert to the general account, unless there is a younger sibling to pass the funds on to.  Refunds cannot be given on credits from fundraising activities.

    Band Grading Policy

    All students will be given a grade of “A” provided that they follow the policies of the band.  The student’s grade is split in to 2 categories:


    Coursework (80%)

    -The bulk of your grade during remote learning relies on coursework. Coursework will include two assignments per week that will be due the following Monday by 8:00am. These assignments may include, but are not limited to worksheets, quizzes, music theory, audio recording, video recording, or guided listening.  


    Final Exam (20%)

    -The final exam will be a cumulative report from the semesters work. There will be ample opportunity to prepare for the report.


    Gaining Points



    While our 2 weekly assignments are required, attendance is supervised through full class live meetings, individual/small-group team video calls, or phone calls through parents to make sure each student is keeping up with the coursework.



    Students will earn points in the following ways:


    1. In-class group rehearsal techniques, and equipment - 10 points
    2. Concert and Festival performances - 100 points
    3. Tests/Quizzes (playing or written) - maximum of 50 points
    Losing Points

    Students will have points deducted from their grade for the following reasons:

    1. Tardy to a performance – 15 points
    2. Tardy to Class – 3 points
    3. Unexcused absence – Grade of zero


    Grades will be given on the following scale:


    A = 90% or higher                     B = 80 – 89.9%             C = 70 – 79.9%

    D = 60 – 69.9%                         F = less than 60%


    Late Work Policy

    If a student is absent with an excused absence though the attendance office, they will have as many days absent to make up the work without penalty.  If a student is absent and it is unexcused a penalty up to and including no credit for the work missed may be enforced.  It is to the teacher’s discretion to accept any late work that is turned in after a due date.


    The Band Letter is an award designed to reward outstanding contributions to the band program.  The band letter represents participation above and beyond the minimum level of attendance and performance.  Students will earn points based on several different criteria.  Students must audition for an All-Region group in order to earn a letter.  Information on how to earn a letter is posted at the front of the band room.





    Music Contract


    The main purpose of this contract is to make certain that both you and your parent(s) have read the handbook.  Students and parents will sign an electronic acknowledgement form to show acceptance of the handbook.  This form must be signed by 8:00am Monday August 3rd.  The link for the form is available through the Canvas class page..


    Please call or contact either director if you have any questions or concerns.