Have your Dwyer Panther Band PRIDE!



Band Handbook


How to Demonstrate PRIDE:

  • Be the first, never the last, to rehearsals!
  • Be prepared with all your equipment for rehearsal!
  • Show your enthusiasm for learning and music everyday!
  • Maintain awareness of the Instructor at all times!
  • If you experience a setback, analyze it and make a plan to improve and succeed the next time!
  • Demonstrate class at all times, be humble in your success!
  • Prepare for your next rehearsal!
  • We will only be as good as your attitude and your contribution!


Each band member is expected to do the following:

  • Attend all rehearsals and performances.
  • Be prepared for all rehearsals and performances.
  • Be on time for all rehearsals, performances and classes.
  • Understand and use this handbook.
  • Maintain practice journals (3 hours a week).
  • Keep facilities clean and neat.
  • Show respect for your equipment and others.
  • Fulfill fair share obligation. Fundraising opportunities are provided.
  • Demonstrate PRIDE.
  • Clean up after yourself.

Tips for Success:

Expect to work and work really hard. Expect a suntan or sunburn, with tan lines from your shirt and socks. Expect to get bossed around by others. Expect to be sore and tired. Expect to learn more in the week of summer band camp than you have in the last three years of middle school. Expect the unexpected, just ask some of the returning band members to tell their “band camp” stories. There is nothing to fear about the marching band experience, after it is over, you will look forward to returning next year. The staff and leadership team work hard to provide a nurturing environment for the first time members of the marching band. We look forward to a good season, and a lot of fun.

Be on Time. If you are early, you are on time, if you are on time you are LATE. If you are LATE, it is unacceptable. You are responsible for being on time, not because of traffic, your parents oversleeping, or car trouble. You take full responsibility.

Behave. You are a young adult. Just get in line, stay in step or do whatever is asked of you. The staff and leadership are there for your benefit. If you work really hard they will take note – as well as the other members around you. Behaving also tends to get things done a lot more quickly. Nothing is worse than re-doing things over and over again because the band is not listening or following directions.

Keep cool. Physically and mentally, first make sure you are not overheating (water, water, water) but also keep a calm mind. So you can’t hit the line the first time you try it? Keep trying and listen graciously to advice and you WILL eventually “get it”. We are here to help.

Respect is key. Don’t sass the upperclassmen, section leaders, drum major(s), your band director, or anyone else. That’s a quick way to get into trouble, and garner an undesirable reputation. If you give respect, you will receive it in return.

Remember that everyone is at band camp to learn. If you’re a newcomer, don’t take it personally when an instructor or upperclassman gives advice. They’re trying to help you look better in performance. If you’re a returning member, help out newcomers and be patient with them. You learned once, too.

Keep long hair in a ponytail, keep your hair up, you will get sweaty.

The ground is not going anywhere. If you stare at the ground for the entirety of band camp, you will learn next to nothing and spend the rest of the season playing catch-up. Trust yourself and your neighbors.

Play up. Keep your instrument up and pointed to the stands or the box. That’s who your playing for, not the ground.

Keep a pencil in your instrument case to mark sheet music during practice. Guard people, sometimes a change will occur in your drill book- stick your pencil into your ponytail to hold it. You can also use duct tape to make a holder for your pencil to attach to your flipbook, so you can always have one on the field.

Smell good. No one likes a smelly band geek. Deodorant is a must, and should travel with you somewhere that you can get to it when getting out of a sweaty uniform. Remember to take showers after rehearsals!

When the Band Director is helping another section of instruments, try fingering through your instrument!

Know your music, before band camp starts! Practice at home as often as possible. Full band rehearsals are to pull together everyone’s individual parts and to balance all the parts equally. You have to know your part to be able to balance it with others. Don’t rely on full band rehearsals to learn your parts. Band camp is mainly about combining newly-learned drill sheets with music. If you have your music memorized, you will not have to rely on your lyre and can focus on marching and formation. This is especially true for incoming freshmen; more effort will be required to learn techniques of marching – playing music you didn’t memorize and marching something you learned a few days ago will not mix well. Not only will this strategy be less stressful, but it will save the band less time working individually.

WATER, WATER, WATER: You must stay hydrated, you will sweat a lot during marching band, it’s hot and humid, we are outside and it is summer time. NO CAFFEINE or carbonated beverages with caffeine. No Red Bull, Monster or other energy drinks. Avoid sugar-loaded drinks (Kool-aid or juice) – it dehydrates you. No dairy, milk or yogurt. The heat will cause it to curdle in your stomach and make you nauseous. Water is best; Gatorade or other sports drinks are a second choice to water! Did we mention you need… Water?

Food. Please eat a healthy meal before you come to marching band, contrary to what you may think, food in your stomach will not sit like a lump while you are marching. Your body needs fuel to perform at the level necessary for marching band. Avoid greasy foods, excessive candy or sweets. Pack some quick snacks like a piece of fruit, or an energy bar (not chocolate). The Band Boosters provide lunch each day during the week of summer camp. You may not leave campus for lunch. Eat a banana every day as a good source of potassium. Make sure you eat breakfast EVERY MORNING. Your body needs this fuel for the day.

Clothing. Be comfortable, it will be hot. Wear shorts (No long jeans, you will regret it) and t-shirts or tank tops (No spaghetti straps). Comfy tennis shoes are a must (not high-tops, well broken-in, not new), no flip-flops or sandals. You can’t roll-step in flip-flops! You might want to bring a change of clothes in case it rains or they just get too sweaty or dirty.

Sunglasses & hat or visor: It will keep the sun out of your eyes, and the hat helps you avoid “raccoon eyes” from the sunglasses.

Sunscreen. Sunburn is a given during summer and pre-season rehearsals. Even if you never wear sunscreen, you will need it during Summer Marching Band.

Chapstick. Only if you think you need it – may be helpful for brass and woodwind players.

Drill charts. These are very detailed charts that students wear around their necks during band camp and at rehearsals that tell them exactly where they stand for different setups. Don’t forget it ever!

Music & lyre/flipbook. If you don’t have a lyre get one. You’ll need it. To keep your music from blowing out of the sheet protectors put a small piece of tape on the sides.

Have your ‘emergency kit’ handy. Brass, that means valve oil, woodwinds, extra reeds, and so on. Be prepared for anything. Woodwinds, when your on the field keep an extra reed in your sock, just in case yours breaks during a performance. If you have time change it, if not, just finger through your music.

Get a good nights sleep. Band camp can be strenuous, and it’s easier if you’re well rested.

Travel wallet for competitions or away games. You’ll need money for concession food and your phone to call your ride and let them know when you’ll be back and you won’t be able to reach your shorts under your bibbers. A travel wallet on a cord you wear around your neck will hold your money, phone and ID.


Be disciplined (or else). Marching Band is very military-esque. When the director is speaking, you do not. When you need to snap to attention, you snap. Take it seriously, many skills that you learn in this activity can be applied to everyday life!

Woodwinds and brass should not play their instrument after eating or drinking sugary stuff (like Gatorade or powerade). It’s fine to have a snack during breaks, just make sure to wash it down with water.

Don’t be “that guy”. There’s always that one person who forgets to wear their band shirt, or loses one of their marching shoes and shows up without it because they started looking the night before, or walks into the room and goes “Ohhh… we were supposed to bring our instruments today?”. Don’t let that be you.

Many people can overheat during band camp if it’s hot outside. If you start to feel fatigued, dizzy, nausea, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Tell a section leader, drum major, or staff member immediately. Get to some shade and get some water if you think this is happening to you.

Don’t talk when the band director, staff, drum majors, or section leaders are talking. Not only will this make them mad, but it will distract people around you from what they’re saying, which could be very important. If you need help finding your drill spot, quietly raise your hand and someone will gladly help you. Respect upperclassmen- chances are they’re right and you’re wrong.

Remember that band directors hear everything. If you make an offhand comment it will get back to them, and they will likely call you out on it. At the very least, they’ll file it away in their minds for later, when you want a favor. The same goes for anything you text or write on a social networking site… if you think another member of the band won’t report you, you’re wrong. Keep your negativity to yourself. Don’t complain.

After rain, woodwinds’ pads will likely be damaged. Rain does happen during marching band and it is a magicalhave to pay hundreds of dollars just to replace the pads.

Make sure you are doing what you are suppose to be doing or it will come back to haunt you. Starting band camp as a new member and having a lazy reputation will leave you in a place with the director where you don’t want to be.

If you are a freshman, don’t come off too cocky or you will be on the bottom of the totem pole until you graduate. No one forgets how people were freshman year of band.

Never handle or play somebody else’s instrument without permission. It is very rude, and you will be held accountable if the instrument breaks.

Marching band training is really hard work, but you will find that working hard and then seeing the results of that hard work is something to be really proud of. Remember, excellence is not just for sometimes, excellence is for all the times. Everything you do affects everything else you do. Learn to do it right, then do it right every time! If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s supposed to be hard, the hard is what makes it great!