Southeast Polk High School Instrumental Music Handbook



Each student is assigned an individual or small group lesson time. Lessons are 15 – 20 minutes long and will occur at least once every two weeks. Lesson weeks are labeled as “BLACK” and “GOLD.” Students will have an assigned lesson on the same day and same period during either the Black or Gold week.

Lessons will be scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays of each week and Wednesdays are left open for excused lesson make-ups.

In order to give students the opportunity to be involved in the scheduling process, each are given their preference as to which period works best for their lesson time. We do our best to accommodate everyone. We are very flexible and understanding when conflicts arise as long as they are communicated to us at the time of their occurrence. If a student has an excused absence, he/she may sign up for a Wednesday make-up lesson on the schedule posted weekly on the band office door. The make up must be done during the two week rotation of the missed lesson. Unexcused absences may not be made up (single exception below). Excused absences include illness, field trips, tests in class and the student being prohibited to attend by the teacher.

Unexcused Lesson Forgiveness

If a student missed a lesson for an unexcused reason(“I forgot…”), s/he may make ONE up for a grade per semester. Each subsequent unexcused lesson will result in a grade of zero. Lessons are included in RAM Plan attendance for all band classes. If a student misses more than two lessons per semester he/she will not be RAM Plan excused from their band final exam. If a student makes up the EXCUSED lesson on the following Wednesday, their absence will be Ram Plan excused.

Outside of School Private Lessons

Private lessons are of vital importance to the development of a musician. Students who study privately are encouraged but are not required to attend lessons at school. Those students studying privately will be required to turn in a form filled out by their private instructor, prior to each grading period, in order to receive credit toward their lesson grade for taking private lessons.

A hard copy of the form can be found on Mrs. Meunier’s bulletin board or a copy of it can be printed off from the SEP Band website.  In the menu, go to Students > Private Lessons > Select Correct Form.

If you are interested in taking lessons from a private instructor, please contact either Mr. Gerth or Mrs. Meunier for names and numbers of qualified teachers. The growth in excellence of the SEP Band Program over the years can be largely attributed to the increased number of students taking private lessons.



All SEP band performances are required. Though some performances are graded ie) home concerts, marching band performances, jazz band performances and some are not, the attendance policy remains the same. Some examples of performances that are not graded but required would be pep band, show choir band or musical pit band performances. In order to have our most successful performance results, we must have all members present putting forth their best effort. The SEP Band attendance expectations are as follows:

Excused Absences:
Absences such as family emergency or illness are considered excused absences. In all cases, directors should be notified in advance of the absence via phone, email or writing from a parent or guardian. If the circumstance does not allow contact before the absence, communication should be made as soon as possible. Students will be allowed to make up missed points. He/she must speak to the director immediately​ upon their return about making up those points in their grade. The make up work needs to be done within the week following a missed a performance.

Unexcused Absences:
Unexcused absences include simply not showing up, forgetting the performance, work… Students will not be allowed to make up lost points due to unexcused absences.

Make up assignments for missed EXCUSED absences:
Students must see Mr. Gerth or Mrs. Meunier immediately following a missed performance. They will be required to write a one page summary of two band articles found in magazines in Mr. Gerth’s office. Again, these should be turned in within a week of the missed absence.


All students are required to wear concert uniforms for each performance. Detailed instructions are given as to how the uniforms are to be hung and cared for at home

Concert Band and Symphonic Band students are required to wear black shoes, long black socks, and nothing of color underneath their white shirts. Girls should wear nude or white undergarments and boys should wear t-shirts with no writing on them under. 

Wind Ensemble girls should wear black hose with black shoes and boys should wear black shoes and long black socks. Students not in uniform will NOT be allowed to perform. See more regarding band uniforms below.


The Southeast Polk Band Department is comprised of four curricular concert ensembles as well as a variety of extracurricular ensembles.

CONCERT BAND (Any interested student)

Concert band meets every day 6th period. Incoming freshmen should register for this ensemble. The school year is spent in a concert ensemble performance setting. Freshmen have the option during the spring semester to audition for other high school ensembles.

SYMPHONIC BAND / MARCHING BAND​ (grades 10 – 12, freshmen by audition)

During the fall, members of the Symphonic Band form the Southeast Polk Marching Band, also known as “The Marching Rams”. It is a curricular course that meets 1st period every day. During marching season, students rehearse starting at 6:45 am Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and non-late start Wednesdays. Rehearsals on late start Wednesdays typically begin at 8:00am. Students are required to perform graded playing exams, attend all home football games, contests and scheduled parade performances. At the conclusion of the marching season, this ensemble becomes the symphonic band, one of the three performing concert ensembles at Southeast Polk High School.

OPTING OUT OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION: Marching band is an activity that SEPHS recognizes as an “opt-out” PE activity. Students should obtain a form from the counseling office to be completed and returned before the start of the school year if they choose to opt-out. If a student chooses not to opt out of PE, they ​must not​ take early bird PE during the first semester.

WIND ENSEMBLE (by audition only)

The Wind Ensemble is the most select instrumental concert ensemble at Southeast Polk High School. This group is made up of the program’s finest musicians. The ensemble meets 3rd period every day and performs a higher level of literature in the concert band setting year round.

JAZZ ONE​ (by audition only)

The Jazz Band is an auditioned group composed of all grade levels. Any student playing trumpet, trombone, saxophone, drum set, piano, bass or guitar is welcome to audition. This is a curricular course that meets every day 8th period. The Jazz Band performs concerts and competes in area and statewide competitions each year.


Students must be enrolled in a curricular band class in order to be involved in extra-curricular bands.


The pep band is an optional extra-curricular auditioned group. In November, students who are interested in pep band meet before and after school for scheduled rehearsals. Attendance to these rehearsals is a vital component to the selection process. Selected students are required​ to attend all assigned home basketball games.


The show choir band is an extracurricular group that accompanies the show choirs during their performances and contests. This is an auditioned group and students are ​required​ to attend all functions and rehearsals in order to be considered for membership. Band ONLY rehearsals take place generally from mid October through December on Wednesday’s after school.


Jazz II is open to all students interested in learning about and playing jazz. This group is auditioned in late September and meets before school from 6:45-7:40am on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as Wednesdays as needed from mid October through early March. This is a non-credited course. Jazz II will travel with Jazz I to select competitions and festivals, and will perform at concerts when active in the school year.


Pending enough interest to fill a third band, Jazz III is offered for those who wish to have an introduction to the jazz art-form and have the opportunity to perform with a Jazz ensemble. This group is auditioned in late September and meets before school from 6:45-7:40am on Tuesdays and Fridays. Those students not accepted into Jazz II are automatically placed in Jazz III. This is a non-credited course. Jazz III will perform in select competitions and festivals, and will perform at concerts when active in the school year.

*Students enrolled in the auditioned Jazz I group are not eligible to perform in Jazz II or III on an instrument in their original instrument’s family. They may, however, perform on a secondary instrument in a different section if interested and proficient. The band director reserves the right to make a determination of a student’s proficiency.


All students are welcome to perform in graduation band. A sign up to participate is typically posted in early May. Students will be expected to attend approximately 5 rehearsals, before and after school, and they must be available to perform for graduation. Students received letter points for participating in graduation band.


Students are highly encouraged to participate in solo and small ensemble festival. Late each winter and into the spring, students may prepare a solo on their instrument or group themselves with other students in duets or small ensembles. The date of the SEP festival varies each year, but is normally in late February. Wind Ensemble students are required to participate in the SEP festival and it is a graded performance. Please check the band calendar for more information.


**Freshman band students should come to their first lesson with the materials they were using for lessons in the 8th grade.**

The directors will then make a determination as to which lesson materials will be the most appropriate for the student’s developmental level. The texts below are recommended for advancing high school instrumentalists.

  • Flute​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Flute Vol. I, pub. Rubank
  • Clarinet​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Clarinet Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Reeds: Vandoren V-12, strength 3 or 3 ½ (No RICO Brand reeds​)
  • Bass Clarinet​ – Introducing the Alto or Bass Clarinet, pub. Rubank
    Reeds: LaVoz, strength medium or medium hard or Vandoren strength 3
  • Saxophone​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Saxophone Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Reeds: Vandoren Classical; Vandoren strength 3 or 3 ½ (No RICO Brand reeds​) Vandoren Java jazz; Rico Jazz; Rico Jazz Select
    Mouthpieces: Selmer Super Action-80; Selmer Super Action-90; Meyer; Otto Link; Beechler
  • Horn​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Horn Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Mouthpieces: Farkas medium to medium deep
  • Trumpet – ​Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Trumpet Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Mouthpieces: Bach; Schilke 4, 5 or 6 1/2AL or equivalent Valve oil
  • Trombone/Baritone​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Trombone/Baritone Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Mouthpieces: Bach; Yamaha, Schilke Size: 4 or 5. Slide cream & a small spray bottle
  • Tuba​ – Intermediate Method OR Advanced Method for Tuba Vol. I, pub. Rubank
    Mouthpieces: Conn Heleburg Valve oil
  • Percussion – Fundamental Studies for Mallets, by Garwood Whaley
    The Logical Approach to Snare Drum Vol. 1 by Carl Perkins Additional material will be assigned as needed.
    Recommended Equipment: Percussionists will be required to purchase sticks and mallets through the school.


Please note: not all of these fees may apply to your child. Your child will be notified if and/or when a fee will apply to them.



Instrument Rental Fee
(for those without their own instrument. Does not include percussion)


Instrument Rental Fee
(each instrument after the first rented)


Percussion Usage Fee
(paid by all percussionists)


Marching Band Shoes


Marching Band Gloves


Marching Band T Shirt


Pep Band T Shirt




A Band Awards Banquet is held in May to honor and celebrate the year and also recognize the achievements of groups and individuals. During this event, students receive awards chosen for them by their classmates as well as band letters and national awards. All family members are welcome and encouraged to attend this event.


During the spring semester, auditions will be held to select students for these positions for the following year’s marching season. Members chosen for these positions will be selected based on their leadership skills, performance and marching ability, and overall attitude. Informational material for these positions will be distributed prior to the auditions. Squad leaders selected will need to attend a one-day summer leadership camp. Drum majors will need to attend a one-day summer leadership camp as well as a three-day drum major camp.


Band Officers will act as a decision-making body for various ensemble issues. They also help with the day-to-day functioning of the band. These positions include: President, Vice President, Secretary, Librarian and Class Representatives.


There are several honor band opportunities throughout the year. They include the South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association Honor Band, Drake University Honor Band, Drake Jazz Honor Band and the Iowa State Honor Band. Honor bands are an excellent opportunity for students to rehearse and perform with some of central Iowa’s finest musicians. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for honor bands as they are posted. Information for these honor bands will be distributed when it becomes available. Students who wish to be considered MUST be available for all rehearsals and performances of the particular honor band opportunity.


Students may audition for the Iowa High School Music Association All-State Festival in the fall. Students are required to prepare all of the major scales and chromatic scale, two required etudes, and an individually selected solo. Auditions are held the third weekend of October at the district audition site. If a student is chosen for this high honor, the All-State festival is held in November in Ames. Only a select number of the most advanced and mature players from each district are selected for this ensemble.


The Band Boosters are an organization whose purpose is to aid and support the band program at Southeast Polk High School. We are seeking band parents to join this organization and help our program grow and prosper.

The following committees are open to any parent/guardian interested in helping the band program:

  • Uniform Committee
  • Awards Banquet Committee
  • Marching Band Chaperone Committee
  • Concert/Jazz Band
  • Chaperone Committee
  • Equipment Committee
  • Marching Band Hospitality Committee
  • State Fair Parking & Water Sales Committee
  • Fall Fundraising Committee
  • Concert Band/Special Event Hospitality Committee
  • Spring Fundraising Committee
  • Please see the band calendar for booster meeting dates. All meetings are 6:30pm in the SEP High School Band Room S122.


    1st Year Award
    (100 Points)

    2nd Year Award
    (+150 Points)

    3rd Year Award
    (+200 Points)

    4th Year Award
    (+250 Points)

    All awards will be presented at the Band Awards Banquet. Letter points will be awarded for participation in the following:

  • Private Lessons on primary instrument 50 / semester
  • Private Lessons on non-primary Instrument 25 / semester
  • Piano Lessons 25 / semester
  • All State Audition 40
  • All State Recall 10
  • All State Alternate 15
  • All State Accepted 30
  • All State Jazz Band Audition 30
  • All State Jazz Band Accepted 30
  • SCIBA Honor Band Audition 20
  • Other Honor Bands 10/ per day
  • Attend Public Performances (NOT your own) 5 / performance
  • Pep Band 25 (points deducted for tardies and unexcused absences)
  • I rating @ Solo & Ensemble Contest 40 / solo 30 / ensemble
  • II rating @ Solo & Ensemble Contest 30 / solo 20 / ensemble
  • III rating @ Solo & Ensemble Contest 20 / solo 10 / ensemble
  • Accompanist – Solo & Ensemble Contest 10 / student
  • Musical Pit Orchestra 25
  • Regular Church Band Musician 15
  • Community/Municipal Band 25
  • Band Booster Meeting Attendance 5 / meeting
  • Summer Band Camps (non SEP) 10 / per day
  • All State Preparation Clinics 5/ per clinic
  • Youth Symphony 50
  • Drum Major 75
  • Squad Leader 50
  • Band Officer 15
  • Band Work 2 / hour
  • State Fair Water Sales 10 / shift
  • State Fair Parking 15 / shift
  • Show Choir Band 50
  • Jazz II 25
  • Jazz III 25
  • Graduation Band 5
  • Jazz Combo 5
  • Multi Instrument (different family) 5 **for example, a flute player learning the tuba receives letter points, but an alto sax player playing the bari sax (which is in the same instrument family) does not.

    The SEP Band program uses two sets of uniforms: one for marching band and one for concert band. Uniforms are worn during performances, are fit at the beginning of each year, and are tailored to fit each student. The uniform for each group is as follows:

    Marching Band​:
    School provides:​ Marching Band uniform top, pants, shako (hat) or beret (sousaphones).
    Student provides:​ black shoes (purchased by student)​, long black socks and white gloves (purchased by student)​.

    Concert Band and Symphonic Band:
    School provides:​ white tuxedo shirt, black tuxedo pants, black bow tie and cummerbund.
    Student provides:​ black socks and black shoes.

    Wind Ensemble:
    School provides:​ Black Tuxedo coat, white tuxedo shirt, black tuxedo pants, black bow tie and cummerbund for men, black formal dress for women.
    Student provides:​ black socks/hose and black shoes.

    After the alterations to the uniforms have been made it is the responsibility of the student to keep and maintain his/her uniform. Uniform parts with the exception of the white tuxedo shirt are NOT to be dry cleaned or laundered IN ANY WAY. These items are professionally cleaned once per year to maintain the life and longevity of each piece. The white tuxedo shirt may be laundered. If a stain occurs and it is unable to be removed, it in the STUDENT’S responsibility to reimburse the school for its replacement.




    Marching Band Coat


    Marching Band Pants


    Marching Band Shako


    Shako Plume


    Band Garment Bag


    Tuxedo Coat 


    Tuxedo Pants


    Tuxedo Shirt


    Formal Dress


    Bow Tie





    Marching uniforms will be stored at school. Concert uniforms will be checked-out to students after any alterations have been made, and kept at home. Keep in mind that loss or damage is the responsibility of the student and/or band family.

    After each use,​ properly re-hang​ your uniform and allow to air out. DO NOT allow the uniform to sit in a pile at the bottom of the garment bag, and do not allow a wet uniform to hang in a tightly zipped garment bag. Doing so is considered negligence, and can result in professional cleaning and pressing fees assessed to the student. Do not iron any part of the uniform at any time.

    If you have concerns about the condition of your uniform, please contact the band office as soon as possible for help with the issue.


    Instrumental Agreement
    This agreement needs to be filled out by all Percussionists and students who are using a school-owned instrument.  Agreements can be found under the Student section in the Menu on the site.

    Band Uniform Agreement
    All students must fill out the Band Uniform Agreement form.  It can be found under the Student section of the website.

    Handbook Agreement
    Once you have read this handbook, you will need to turn in a form notifying us that you understand this information.