Quarter Three Newsletter: My Resolutions and More!

Happy New Year and welcome back to another exciting quarter of band! There is a lot going on this quarter, so without further prelude, here’s what you’ll need to know:


My resolutions for our program this year are:

  1. To establish an official non-profit Band Booster Club and begin fundraising for next year.
  2. To have our Wind Ensemble perform the Star Spangled Banner at a Stockton Heat game.
  3. To start an extracurricular jazz band after school, offered fourth quarter.
  4. To have a successful recruitment season in February (when Manlio Silva and Bear Creek will come to CMMS) and April (when WE will go on tour to elementary schools).
  5. To continue building the band family culture here at CMMS, where band is a place of love, support, learning and positive energy. Once our students understand that they CAN do anything they dedicate themselves to, there will be NO limits to what they can accomplish!


There are a few primary concepts we will  be emphasizing this quarter, but the most important one is the implementation of consistent, goal-oriented practice routines. I stand by the ardent belief that success is systematic. Learning to play an instrument is a process which requires constant, diligent practice to master concepts presented in class and no great musician ever made it there without carefully planned practice sessions and goals. As such, weekly practice logs will be expected the first day of every week.

These practice logs should contain the following:

  1. Time practiced (ex: 1:00-1:30 AM)
  2. Goal (ex: going over break smoothly in m. 16-32 of Pirates)
  3. Accomplishments and/or summary (ex: got A to C in m. 16-20 smooth; need to smooth out m. 20-24 next time)

Students will total the amount of time they practiced, circle it and have their practice log signed by a parent or guardian. This goal-oriented approach has been proven effective time and time again throughout the history of music for the following reasons:

a. Students become self teachers and self diagnosticians.

b. A focus on conceptual learning rather than “point A to point B” learning teaches logic and reasoning, which in turn leads to the ability to make educated decisions in all facets of life independently.

c. Students take ownership over their own progress, which leads to boosted self-confidence and accountability.

It may be worthwhile to discuss a weekly practice schedule with your child to begin working toward a system for success. If you and/or your child would like any assistance with that, feel free to contact me anytime!


Here is a breakdown of how grades will be formed this quarter:

Concerts- These are worth 40% of each student’s grade. We learn  more from performing than through any other experience as musicians and, ultimately, we practice so much so we CAN perform. Each student begins with 100 points, and here are some ways students could potentially lose points:

  1. Absent from the concert without an authorized note- all points deducted.
  2. Late arrival- 10 points deducted
  3. Forgotten instrument- 40 points deducted
  4. Forgotten music- 30 points deducted
  5. Minor attire infraction- 20 points deducted
  6. Major attire infraction- 50 points deducted
  7. Inappropriate attire- all points deducted; student will not perform
  8. Inappropriate conduct (minor)- 50 points deducted (students are representing our program, school and community at large and are expected to behave as such)
  9. Inappropriate conduct (major)- all points deducted; student removed from concert

Practice Logs– Due every week, these add up to 30% of each student’s grade. Remember: hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard!

Performance Assessments– These will be recordings taken in class in which students perform assigned material in a recording studio-style setting. These will count for 20% of each student’s grade.

Rehearsals– Worth 10% of each student’s grade, this is a crucial time where students will be introduced to new concepts and challenged to reach new heights musically. It is also the time where their practicing at home gets put together with the ensemble. It is expected that students have practiced their parts and come prepared for rehearsals every day. Students begin each day with 5 points, and here is how a student may potentially lose points:

  1. Receiving a reminder to focus- 1 point deducted
  2. Having their name written on the board for disrupting class twice- 2 points deducted
  3. Disrupting class a third time- 3 points deducted (at this point the student puts their instrument away and is removed from the ensemble to complete an alternate assignment)
  4. Disrupting class a fourth time- all points deducted; student removed from class and sent to the office
  5. Eating in Class- 4 points deducted; instrument away and student completes a written assignment.
  6. Forgotten instrument; lack of participation- all points deducted
  7. Forgotten instrument; active participation- 3 points deducted
  8. Forgotten music- 2 points deducted
  9. Forgotten materials (pencil, folder, etc)- 1 point deducted
  10. Lack of active effort and participation- 1-3 points deducted (ex: student is not playing when they are supposed to throughout the rehearsal- 3 points; student is slumped in chair and playing without much effort- 2 points; student is constantly tinkering with instrument unnecessarily to avoid playing- 1 point; etc.)


     Wind Ensemble is now an audition-based ensemble intended for the serious musician who is ready for a truly advanced curriculum. This ensemble is the pride of our band program here at CMMS; we have a lot of fun and work very hard to produce the excellence in performance which is increasingly becoming the expectation for our band program. Through hard work and determined practice, these students learn the merit of their efforts in the form of more opportunities, memorable performances, invaluable “forever” friendships and the deep joy that only comes through great accomplishment.

     The reasons for these auditions are such:

  1. To create incentive throughout the program to achieve higher standards of excellence in performance.
  2. To ensure all students are placed properly in the program based on their needs as developing musicians (ex: one is not placed in calculus without knowing algebra first; if they were, the student in question would likely be set up for failure)
  3. To establish a culture of healthy competition (which parallels the job market) and supportive cooperation.

Audition materials are available via the “For Students” tab.

NOTE: If a student does NOT audition, he/she will NOT be in Wind Ensemble, even if they were this school year.


  1. Join us on Thursday, January 19th at 6:30 PM as we continue to work toward our goal of a fully functional Band Booster program! We are very near completing non-profit registration and we have many exciting plans in the works!
  2. Consider donating! We are looking for any and all instruments, music, accessories or concert clothing you would be willing to donate. All donations will go directly toward improving our program for your child and generations to come!
  3. Subscribe to this page to receive notifications whenever something new is posted. The more “in the loop” you are, the better!


February 8th, 2017– Manlio Silva Band Tour

     Manlio Silva and Bear Creek High School band students will be visiting Christa McAuliffe for their annual band tour! Each band will perform for each other during regularly scheduled band times, concluding with a rousing rendition of “Let’s Go Band!” led by our incredible Manlio Silva band teacher, Mrs. Kathy Evans.

February 15, 2017- BLC Potluck Social: 1:30-3:30

     Our Band Leadership Council is organizing a potluck social to occur after school in the park directly next to the school! All parents and students are invited to join us and bring snacks, beverages, plastic plates, napkins, utensils, etc. This will be a great time to relax with friends and get to know each other a little better!

March 8th, 2017- Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal: 1:30-3:30 at CMMS

This time, we WILL have a dress rehearsal! Our spring concert program is a bit more extensive and demanding than any of our previous programs, so all students will be required to attend the dress rehearsal to ensure the concert goes smoothly.

March 9th, 2017- Spring Concert: 7:00 PM at CMMS

Join us for a night of leisure and entertainment as our bands perform famous literature from the world of digital entertainment. Featuring music from blockbuster hits (like “Titanic”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, and “The Lego Movie”) alongside some of the most memorable video game and television theme music of the modern era (like the “Super Mario Brothers” theme and the “Pokemon Theme”), this program is sure to be remembered for years to come!


As always, I am available anytime after school if you’d like to drop in and ask a few questions. Otherwise, the room is open for students to practice, ask questions, etc. in the morning, most lunch times and after school. Feel free to email me if there is anything I can help you with!

Yours in music and merriment,

Aaron Fonzi

Director of Bands

Christa McAuliffe Middle School


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