Band Handbook

Most info on this page is from the
T.C. Williams High School Bands Handbook (2014-15)

Get the complete Band Handbook. (pdf) (posted November 6, 2014)

Important News on 2014-15 Band Program Requirements

(posted December 21, 2013) In response to concerns raised by a group of parents, the TC Williams administration has approved and is forwarding to the central office and school board the following changes in band requirements for next year. Please note that the “honors” designation, and accompanying GPA boost, for Wind Ensemble marchers is subject to School Board approval, as indicated below.

Update 1: Amend Program of Studies Concert Band Description to read: grades 9-12.

Concert Band (intermediate band) has no marching band requirement for participation.  This change allows all interested wind and percussion students to participate in the band program regardless of marching band interest or extracurricular activities.  Students may participate in all VBODA sponsored events including All-District, All-State, and Senior Regional Orchestra Auditions, and Solo & Ensemble.

Update 2: (Pending School Board Approval) Wind Ensemble (advanced band) students who participate in Marching Band will be enrolled in Wind Ensemble “honors”, earning  4.5 credits for an “A”.

Students will be credited for the extra time and effort required of marching band such as weekend events, parades, football games, etc.  The “honors” designation will increase interest and participation in the marching band because high-achieving students will not be penalized for taking a 4.0 credit class.

  • Symphonic Band (advanced band, 9-12) and Wind Ensemble (advanced band 9-12) will continue to have the marching band requirement.
  • Students participating in a fall VHSL sport at TC Williams High School will continue to be exempt from the marching band requirement.

Performance Classes

Marching Titans

Grades 9 -12, 1/2 Credit
Prerequisite: 1 year of band

Marching Band is one of the most visible organizations at TC Williams High School.  In addition to developing and reinforcing strong performance skills, students enrolled in marching band will develop:

  • Individual responsibility
  • Citizenship
  • Teamwork
  • Discipline
  • Attention to detail
  • Spatial awareness
  • Physical and mental strength and endurance

*Marching Band is required for all Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble students not participating in a TCW High School VHSL fall sport

2014-15 Fee: $125 plus $30 if you don’t already have marching band shoes (More info: Marching Band page.)

Assessment: Students enrolled in marching band will be assessed based on successful completion of:

  • August Marching Band Camp
  • After-School Rehearsals: September through October on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Fridays  3:30-5:20
  • Football Games: Five (5) home Varsity Football games (Saturdays) & Five (5) away   games
  • Competitions:  Sept 20 (am), Oct 11 (all day), Oct 25 (assessment, am-early pm)

Concert Band/Symphonic Band

Grade: 9-12 – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Middle School Band & Successful Audition

This course focuses on the development of skills and knowledge of instrumental music (wind and percussion). Skills learned previously are reviewed and expanded.  Students will study and perform music of various genres and grade levels with a strong focus on VBODA grade 3-5.  The band will perform at VBODA Concert Assessment in March.

Wind Ensemble

Grades 10-12 – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: One year of high school band & Successful Audition

This course focuses on the development of skills and knowledge of instrumental music (wind and percussion). Skills learned previously are reviewed and expanded. Students will perform music at various grade levels with a strong focus on VBODA grades 4-6.  As the premier wind band in the school, students are expected to practice regularly and attend sectionals as needed.  Weekly sectionals in the winter are required.

Jazz Band/Combo

Grades: 9-12 – 1 Credit

Co-requisite: Must be currently enrolled in a Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, or Concert Band, or director approval

The focus of this course is to develop skill and knowledge in jazz performance and styling. Students will learn elements of jazz improvisation and be exposed to a variety of styles. The jazz combo is a dynamic group that performs all over the Washington metro area. Students in combo must be members of the jazz band and will be selected by the director.


  • 20%:  Pre-rehearsal preparation
  • 25%:  Playing Quizzes/Formative Assessments
  • 25%: Tests (playing or written)
  • 30%: Concerts, Performances, Summative Assessments

Marching Band Assessment: October 25, 2014
Concert Band Assessment: March 6-7, 2015


You are expected to be present at rehearsals and concerts. When a member is late or absent, the band is negatively affected.  The absence of sound creates a void that makes it difficult for a section to balance and blend musically. Consequently, every individual is highly valued and is an irreplaceable member of the team.  With careful planning and effective communication between student and parents, most, if not all, conflicts can be remedied in advance.

E-MAIL your director if you HAVE to be absent for a concert/assessment for any reason!

  • Excused absence at concert must be made up within one week.
  • Make-up work consists of individual playing test and written reflection on and analysis of concert music.

Excused Absences:

  • Personal or family medical emergency
  • Death in the family
  • Religious conflicts

Unexcused Absences

  • Family vacation
  • No transportation, car trouble. (Plan ahead and talk to your director.)
  • Work schedule conflict
  • Lack of prior planning by you, family, friends

Band Boosters

See TC Band Boosters section on the About Us page.

Band Lettering Policy

See Lettering in Band page.

Class Materials

  • Instrument
    • Do not buy a new instrument until you check with your director or your private teacher!
    • Properly identified with the student’s name, address, and telephone number
    • Students will be held responsible for the cost of any repairs to school instruments due to willful damage or negligence.
  • Accessories such as reeds, mouthpiece, ligature, swab, grease, oil
  • Pencil
  • Music folder, sheet music, method book (provided by school)

Class Policies & Procedures

The student will:

  • Arrive to class on time and with all required materials
  • Follow all instructions from staff
  • Respect self, others and all equipment
  • Take instrument home to practice regularly

The student will not:

  • Chew gum in rehearsal area
  • Bring food or drinks into the rehearsal area
  • Disrupt learning environment in any way including talking/playing out of turn

Concert Attire

If you are not enrolled in marching band, you must return contract with a $25 uniform fee.  Please make checks payable to TC Williams Band Boosters.  Concert uniform is issued prior to each performance.  You must keep your tux/dress clean. Evidence of neglect will be considered vandalism of school property.


  • Black evening gown (issued by school)
  • Black dress shoes (provided by student)


  • Black tuxedo with a bow tie and cummerbund (issued by school)
  • White tuxedo shirt, black socks and black dress shoes (provided by student)


Every student involved in the TCW Band Program benefits from the funds generated by the TCW Band Boosters.  As such, every student is expected to participate in fundraisers.


  • September 13, 2014, 8:00AM-12:30PM MANDATORY FOR ALL BAND STUDENTS
  • November 15, 2013, 8:00AM-12:30PM (for those who can’t make September TAG Day and for those who would like to contribute to their personal student account)

Proceeds go to: supplement band fees, uniform replacement and maintenance, instruments, guest clinicians, sheet music, transportation, music-related technology, band celebrations

Individual fundraisers: Proceeds are applied to individual student accounts to supplement annual trip, payments and band fees.

Instrument Rental, Storage, Maintenance

Students are encouraged to purchase their own instrument. Instruments are also available for rent from the school and may be obtained through your band director. Scholarships for students on free or reduced lunch are available for the following instruments: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, horn, baritone, and tuba.

  • Students who are assigned school instruments must fill out an ACPS instrument contract
  • Students who damage or lose school owned instruments will be required to pay for damages/replacement
  • Percussionists are required to pay $46 Alexandria City Public Schools for instrument use
  • Brass and woodwind players are required to pay $86 to ACPS for instrument use
  • Make all checks payable to ACPS
  • See director for locker assignment
  • Students are to use assigned locker only
  • If you choose to use a lock, you are responsible for combination/key
  • School instruments are repaired through the school.  Personally owned instruments are not.

Thinking of purchasing a new instrument? This can be an expensive and daunting task; please consult your band director or private lessons instructor before spending your money!

Band Concerts, Assessments & Events 2014-15

See the Calendar page of the website.

More Info (not in the Handbook)

The Musical Pit Orchestra  The musical pit orchestra is the instrumental group that provides musical accompaniment for the T.C. Williams High School Spring Musical Production.  The pit orchestra rehearses after-school during the month of performance. You earn 10 points toward your band letter for playing in the pit orchestra.

All-District Band  Based on their skill level, students may be encouraged to tryout for the All-District Band.  This audition requires a lot of preparation and students who study privately, or receive regular tutoring from their directors, stand the best chance at making the band.  All district band is a once-a-year event held in February (see the Calendar for dates), and it is an honor to be selected to perform in this group.  Auditions are in December and materials will be made available in late October. (You earn points toward your band letter for auditioning and for participating, once you are selected.)

Private Lesson Scholarships The TC Williams Band Boosters support scholarships for private lessons. The better each individual plays, the better the whole band sounds, marching or sitting. Learn more about private lesson scholarships.