Band Class in a Nutshell

A look into a typical band class with all of its trials and tribulations.


Glory Trelfa

Junior and clarinetist Mackenzie Hamilton preparing for class.

11:58 am :

The class period begins. Students are catching up with friends and talking about how impossible a piece is even though they never practice.


12:00 pm :

Students begin assembling instruments and gathering music. The band director, Sue Densmore, has arrived and is looking to start class.


12:05 pm :

The students have gathered in the risers and are playing random bits of music. Some are scrambling to get a part down that they should be able to play by now. Careless Whisper is heard across the room thanks to the saxophones.


12:07 pm :

The director has taken attendance. Some people are skipping class as per usual but no matter, it’s time to start the warm-ups. Students tune their instruments using their phones even though everything will probably still be out of tune.


12:10 pm :

Students begin talking again as sheet music is being pulled from folders. The director cracks jokes with students and tries to quiet everyone down. Nearly everyone is quiet but one person says something that causes an uproar of laughter, affecting the director as well. Some students realise they never got the music.


12:13 pm :

Everyone has the music now. At this point the class can go one of two ways: with successes or annoyances. The playing begins at a certain point in the song, usually one that needs the most work. One group messes up something they’ve done correctly a million times. Begin again. Another problem arises. Fix it and try again. This goes on several times until a certain section has to play without the rest of the band, making the others sit and wait. This is the most frustrating time of the day.


12:35 pm :

The class is almost over but we must play one more song. The performance is in [insert time that makes it seem hopeless here].


12:42 pm :

Students scramble to put away equipment, humming songs that will be stuck in their heads for the rest of the day. The bell rings and they file out, thanking the director in the process. Meanwhile, instruments and sheet music are left behind when they should be brought home for practicing, but this would mean students started class right away and didn’t spend 15 minutes practicing things they’ve done a million times before.