Time to play

Band enrichment created to increase practice time


Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon

Band practices during enrichment on the field outside of the multipurpose building. Band has added a new enrichment to allow more rehearsal time for students.

Story by Grey Johnson and Misty Lopez

Many students enjoy sleeping up until 7:30 a.m., but each day band students begin practice at 7 a.m. during marching season. They used to continue practicing for the next two hours to perfect their show, ending practice at 9 a.m. After practice, the band had anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to put away equipment, change clothes and clean up. However, a new addition to the band students’ schedules could change that unpredictability in their mornings.

A new addition to the wide variety of enrichments this year is the band enrichment. The band enrichment, on both A and B days, will allow the band to extend their practices each day.

“We gain 20 minutes a day of rehearsal time,” band director Arnie Lawson said. “So, we gain up to 100 minutes of extra rehearsal every week.”

In the past years, the minutes following morning practice would tend to be hectic for some of the students. Some had to put up equipment, many wanted to change into a fresh set of clothes. No matter what though, they were at risk of being tardy if they took too long.

“It used to make a lot of teachers frustrated that we were coming in late and we would have to explain that we were caught up in band practice,” senior Chloe Griffin said. “A lot of people would have to go get tardies.”

The enrichment will also help students in other ways than just more practice time. Some of the band members, drum majors, percussionists and others, have to put away the equipment that is used during practice.

“I’m the drum major that runs the metronome,” senior Kamryn Johnson said. “So I have to unplug the metronome from the PA, get my backpack, put away the podium and I have to carry it over to where the scissor lift is.”

Along with allowing the band more time to practice and more time to get their things together in the mornings, the band enrichment will also act as a time for people to practice their music on their own. In band, students have to perform their music as individuals for a band director. These assignments, called “pass-offs,” give the students a grade and prepare them to play it as a band during concert season.

“It’s going to help people pass off music that they have to play, because that is a grade,” Johnson said. “What we want is for the players to be able to play the music so our band, as a whole, sounds better.”

However, there are some downsides for that 30 minute time span being spent in the band hall.

Some people would prefer taking an actual study hall class so they could get work done and not be surrounded by a body of sound.”

— Grey Johnson

“I would like to be in a study hall,” junior Lillian Lovett said. “That would provide me time to do my homework and study, because I really don’t have a lot of time to study at home.”

Along with not being provided a proper studying environment, some can also see the benefit of individual practice time as unnecessary because they have another band class to do so.

“Passing off is one of the main benefits of it. But, I already have woodwind ensemble,” Lovett said. “So, it’s not really beneficial to me.”

Students are allowed to have other enrichments and are allowed to check out of the band enrichment. However, students who know they need to leave band as soon as possible to make it to that other enrichment or meeting can feel even more pressured than normal due to the absence of that time in their schedule.

“I’m in a UIL debate class and that’s in enrichment, so I don’t get to have that time to change or do whatever I need to do as I would in the band enrichment,” Johnson said. “It’s not that big of a deal now, but I see as time progresses it’s going to be.”

Overall, the band enrichment shows promise. On one hand, it does take away from the other possible enrichments that students can take, but, on the other hand, it allows students time to freshen up, clean up, study and hopefully have a less stressful start to their day.

“We’re able to gain a little bit of extra time everyday. It gives the kids extra time to put their equipment away, cool off, change clothes, and get ready for regular classes,” Lawson said. “It’s just gives us a lot more options, and I think it’ll be really good for us.”