New Band Parent/Guardian Guide and FAQs

New Band Parent/Guardian Guide and FAQs



Welcome to the Award-Winning Air Academy Band Program!

Many of us remember how confusing it was to navigate through becoming an AAHS band parent/guardian, so we’ve organized this page to help you out! 

 Here are some answers to many of the most commonly-asked questions! 🙂 Some things will change, but we’ll do our best to keep this page up to date.

Please also see PARENT/GUARDIAN RESOURCES for information about how to pay fees, sign up for scrip, and other band activity information.

Table of Contents:

Most of these items are in chronological order, including:

The Biggest Surprise

Band MiniCamp (May/June) Mandatory for all band/guard

Summer Sectional Practices
Drums Along the Rockies (mid-July)
Band Camp (Late July/August) **Mandatory for all band/guard**
Band Picnic (July)
School Year: School Days (mid-August)
School Year: Thursday after-school (During Marching Season, Mandatory for all Band/Guard)
Section Dinners (Starting in August)
Football Games **Mandatory for all Band/Guard**
Marching Competitions (Mandatory for all Band/Guard)
Poster Night (October)
Band Website
Social Media

Before you do anything else:

Great! Now if you want, you can click on these items to jump to information, or start at the top and read all the way through!

“Kadet” : KAY-deht


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We have a band director, Joseph Musick ,

Email Joe Musick

and an assistant band director, Vanessa Cheverez Lyttle

Email Vanessa Lyttle

In addition, Air Academy Bands hires a Color Guard/ Winter Guard Coach/Director, as well as a number of part-time special directors and coaches. All directors are fully screened and background-checked. Part-time coaches/directors are hired to help prepare the marching band for competition.

 The biggest surprise

Many of us were shocked to find out marching band and guard start training the moment the school year ends, and continue activities all summer long.

Some of these are “come if you’re in town,” but some, like the end-of-summer camp for band, are mandatory.

Learning the music and basic marching techniques lead up to band camp where the drill (steps and movements on the field) for this year’s show get memorized.

You’ll be amazed how quickly your student progresses!



Time to focus on marching, memorizing drill, and starting to pull the show together!

Dates will be provided before the end of the 2018/19 school year
Downloadable BASIC checklist:2018 Band Camp Checklist (1)

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“…through the band program, students will gain a sense of belonging, teamwork, time management, dedication, self-discipline, leadership, cooperation and responsibility.” -from the AAHS Band Mission Statement

 Band MINI Camp *2019 dates TBD*

Mandatory for all band/guard

    • Mini band-camp takes place after school lets out for summer 
    • TIMES TBD (usually 8am-4pm) in the bus parking lot at the back of the school
    • Don’t be late. Drop the kids off as early at 7:30am, practice begins at 8:00-sharp!
    • Students learn music and marching skills, and connect with their new classmates!
    • WHEN  you pick students up, for the safety of all students—please DO NOT block the end of the walkway near the band room, watch for pedestrians, and DO NOT park your car except in designated places.


      • Wear comfortable sneakers
      • Wear good wicking socks
      • Wear  a white tee-shirt
      • Bring your instrument (do not bring wooden or expensive instruments, rent them instead!)
      • Have extra reeds, etc. on hand
      • Buy large water jug – personalize it as they all tend to look the same and…DRINK YOUR WATER
      • Bring a sack lunch
      • Bring and wear sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
      • Bring any personal or prescription medications you may need
      • You may want to purchase kneepads (like volleyball team-style) to help when learning drill
      • NOTE TO BARITONE(TROMBONE) MELLOPHONE(FRENCH HORN) and CONTRA(TUBA) PLAYERS: FOR MARCHING BAND We will use Air Academy horns for your marching instruments. Tubas and baritone/trombone players should bring a mouthpiece if you have one.



Teaching through the arts motivates children and increases their aptitude for learning.
~ Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind, 2001

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    • Sectional Practices  during the summer TUESDAY evenings (other times for color guard) *subject to change* at AAHS--if you’re in town, your student is invited to attend! (Your student should check with their section leader to know for sure what time sectional rehearsal will be.)
    • Percussion and Guard often have additional practice on different days of the week
    • Students use this time to learn and memorize music for marching season
    • There is a 2-3 week break midsummer

Drums Along the Rockies

    • An event students are encouraged to attend  at Mile High Stadium(JULY 14, 2018)
    • Drum corps travel the US to compete
    • Students purchase tickets to go watch the competition
    • Link:

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“Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society.”
~ H. Con. Res. 266, United States Senate, June 13, 2000

Summer Band Camp 2019 DATES TBD

Mandatory for all band/guard

    • Takes place at the END OF SUMMER, about three weeks before school starts 
    • 8am – 4pm Mon-Fri *subject to change* 
    • Where:  in the bus parking lot at the back of the school, don’t be late.
    • You can drop the kids off as early at 7:30am

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    • Wear comfortable sneakers
    • Wear good wicking socks
    • Wear AAHS Marching Band practice shirt (parents/guardians: HINT buy at least 4 of these shirts as they will get dirty and smelly – fresh one for each day! Extra practice shirts will be sold on Tuesday and Wednesday (July 31, Aug 1) 2018 watch for the table!
    • Bring your instrument (people often rent lower quality instruments for marching, because they get a lot of hard use…no wooden instruments, please!)
    • Have extra reeds on hand
    • Bring and fill large water jug, and DRINK YOUR WATER – personalize it as they all tend to look the same
    • Bring a sack lunch
    • WEAR sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
    • Bring personal or prescription medications with you (for your use only!)
    • Optional: wear kneepads…we rehearse on asphalt!
    • NOTE TO BARITONE(TROMBONE) MELLOPHONE(FRENCH HORN) and CONTRA(TUBA) PLAYERS: FOR MARCHING BAND We will use Air Academy horns for your marching instruments. Tubas and baritone/trombone players should bring a mouthpiece if you have one.

Band Picnic

    • Who? Band students and FAMILIES
    • When? Where? What to bring? *2019 date TBD
    • Each family is usually asked to bring items to share (like six-pack of cold drinks, entrée to feed 4 and either a salad or side dish or veggie tray)
    • BRING CHAIRS/Blankets!
    • Band Kids will eat first, then parents
    • While you’re there, you can (BRING YOUR CHECKBOOK!)
      • Order marching shoes (new) or find a pair of used ones
      • Buy spiritwear (t-shirts and more!)
      • Meet other families in the band
      • Ask questions at the Q&A table

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“[…]students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no arts participation.”
~ College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2000

School year: School Days

  • Students will need to bring a SACK LUNCH on band days, as rehearsals often continue into much of the lunch hour
  • Wear comfortable shoes suitable for marching, every day
  • Some sections have sectional rehearsals on other nights of the week, talk to your section leader so you know to add these to your calendar

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School year during MARCHING SEASON: Thursday Practices

Mandatory for all band/guard

    • Once school starts, almost every Thursday…. band practice takes place from 3-8:30pm until Marching season is over
    • Students need to wear white band shirt, have marching instrument and tennis shoes
    • Come watch them – they usually do a run-through of what they learned the last 15-30 min of practice before 8:15pm – you can videotape and take photos (don’t post videos online until after our first competition, please!)
    • Location for this after school rehearsal is in the bus parking lot
    • Kadet Krew often sells band gear Thursday evening – get your shirts, sweatshirts, hats—pick up items from your online order: CLICK HERE FOR BANDGEAR INFO

Section Dinners: THURSDAYS (during Marching season)

    • On almost all Thursday band practice nights, each section eats dinner together in the cafeteria around 4:45-5:30pm
    • Section parents organize this
    • usually parents are asked to sign up to contribute items for dinner: bring main dish, sides, drinks, paper products, utensils

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“College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts for performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol-related problems.”
~ Houston Chronicle, January 11, 1998

Football Game Nights

Mandatory for all band/guard

    • Friday night football HOME games (and ONE Thursday night, 2018) – the band plays pep songs in the stands and performs show at halftime (for a number of games)
    • **NEW for 2018***AAHS BAND Students WILL STAY AT AAHS after school to rehearse on the nights of football games when we’re scheduled to perform
    • Students WILL BE FED DINNER ABOUT 5pm, get into uniform, then perform the halftime show
    • Tickets are around $5 for adults to get in
    • Band students must stay until the end of the game* Unless otherwise directed*, 
    • Band students will be dismissed at the end of the game to put away equipment and go home
    • STUDENTS: Wear warmer clothes under uniform or send with “hot hands/feet”
    • Generally they get 3rd quarter of game “off” to go buy snacks
    • Parents/guardians, friends & family—If you attend the game, please stay for the entire game

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Marching Competitions


**Mandatory for all band/guard**

      • BAND STUDENTS will generally need to be at the school by 7:30-8 am of a contest day, depending on destination (find out specific time at Thursday practice and watch your weekly email and the band FB page.)
      • Students need to arrive at AAHS wearing uniform (wearing bibs and jacket in dress bag) with instrument, and white band practice shirt
      • Students must wear LONG black socks with band shoes (no ankle socks)
      • The band will usually practice before leaving for competition
      • Students ride to destination, together, in buses will be assigned a specific bus number for the whole season
    • Parents and Families are encouraged to attend competitions.  

      • Tickets are purchased to either watch Prelim or Finals or Both.
      • Plan to pay using cash (those lines are shorter than the credit card lines) and are approx. $15-25
      • “PRELIMS”?
        • all bands compete in their school category (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A or 5A).  We are 4A.  
        • After all bands have competed at PRELIMS, they have a Drum Major Retreat, where all the drum majors line up and do their school salute.
        • Places are then announced
        • Finalists are announced and the times that they will perform.  
          • Usually 50% of the registered bands compete in finals
          • The Stadium is then cleared of spectators, and you come back later for Finals
      • “FINALS” –
        • the finalist bands will compete in the order dictated at Prelim awards (and it’s usually last-place to first-place order (AAHS is usually one of the last bands to perform)
        • After all bands have competed, they will either have a full retreat (each band comes out to the field) or a Drum Major Only Retreat
        • They will then announce placements, caption awards and 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners.
        • BAND STUDENTS will  be bused back to AAHS where they will be expected to help unload , put away equipment, and clean the buses before they are dismissed

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CBA Marching Affairs – Scores for competitions found here

“[…]the friendships that I have made here and everything that I have worked toward to help build the success of this program has not only taught me to be a better musician, but a better friend, student, daughter, and leader. Being part of this marching band is a gift I will never be able to fully repay, and has given me a purpose in life greater than myself. This activity is something that I want to continue doing throughout my life and help other kids just like me in the future, achieve. ” -2017 AAHS Band Student

Social Media and PHOTOS

    • Follow the band on FACEBOOK –this is a great way to get information, see photos and videos, get updates on ETA to return to the school
    • If you have photos you’d like to share, you’re encouraged to use the band SMUGMUG account, where high-res photos are available to share.
    • NOTE: ALL Photos must be taken in public locations and meet school, social media, and legal best-practice guidelines, and will be reviewed
    • Photos submitted must be about the band
      • Facebook – @airacademyband

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Poster Night

      • The week of  State competition, parents make (or have made) posters with your child’s photo (still or action shots) and something about the show name.
      • We place these all down the walls of the band hallway  
  •  This is supposed to be a secret for the freshmen
    • Some people get really artistic with this (lights, full size professional posters or you can be simple – just make one because kids are really bummed if they can’t find their poster.
    • Walgreens is a great option for those who are craft or time-challenged
    • The morning before State competition, the parents line the road, holding the posters to cheer the kids on to State
Poster Night

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 “Marching band has really helped me through everything, whenever I feel down I know I can count on my band friends to help put me back up again.” –2017 AAHS Band Student


“The greatest thing about marching band is that no matter what section you’re a part of, you get constant encouragement from everyone in the band.”-2017 AAHS Band Student 

 Band Website

Important pages:

      • Calendar of events throughout the year

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“Marching band is amazing because not  only have I learned discipline and perseverance, but I have also met a new set of friends who are basically my siblings. These are the bonds that I treasure the most, because my bandmates are there for me on any day, good or bad , and we will do whatever it takes to help each other succeed.” -2017 AAHS Marching Band Student