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Grade 7 and Grade 8 Band


Symphonic Band is open to all District 36 students in grades 7 and 8 who can pass a basic audition on a band instrument. We meet several different times each week. A full schedule includes three parts:

  • During the Class Day, Ensemble, twice per week FLEX. Tuesday Flex Period, 2:55pm to 3:30pm and Friday Flex Period, 2:55pm to 3:30pm (sometimes FLEX swaps to W Th)
  • During the Class Day, Lessons, once per week. Rotational schedule as posted
  • Before School, Sectionals, one session before school each week. WOODWINDS: Mondays, 7:30am to 8:20am; PERCUSSION AND BRASS: Wednesdays, 7:30am to 8:20am


Message From Mr. Vowles and Mr. Chester

Dear Band Parents and Students,

Welcome! We are looking forward to working with all of our students and parents during the coming year and have put together this handbook to clearly define various aspects of our program. For those of you returning to the band program, much of this information will be familiar. However, this guide will prove a convenient resource throughout the year.

Please give special attention to the complete calendar. It is very important that you plan now to avoid any future conflicts with performance and other band events. Every student is vital to the success of our band and we must have each member present at all performances and rehearsals. The band program continues to grow in quantity and more importantly in quality. We believe this is mainly due to the fine support and cooperation of our students, parents and staff. Thank you for your continued support of music education in Winnetka and as always, feel free to call us or email us at any time.


Stephen Vowles and Andrew Chester

Concert Dress

The following list is considered the uniform for ALL CONCERTS:

  • White Collared Dress Shirt or White Blouse
  • Black Pants or Black Skirt
  • Black Socks
  • Black Dress Shoes (NO GYM SHOES OF ANY KIND)
  • Long Neck Tie (if you wear a dress shirt. Not required if you wear a blouse.)

Attending a concert in inappropriate attire may result in the student not being allowed to perform with the group.

Private Lessons

Private lessons are not required by the district; however they are strongly recommended and do provide students with invaluable one-to-one instruction. Currently, more than 50% of Washburne/Skokie students study privately. With the help of private lessons students will be able to increase their technique and appreciation of music. They will also improve the performance of the group through their individual efforts. The district has a list of recommended instructors. Please contact Mr. Chester or Mr. Vowles for this list!

Please check the online calendar regularly. We may add other performances and practices as we progress through the year. Our team success depends on having everyone at every practice and performance.

Grade 7 and Grade 8 Small Group Lessons (during school 30 minutes rotating times once per week)

7th and 8th graders will continue to receive small group lessons as a part of their instruction. Lessons will take place this year on Mondays and Wednesdays (30 minutes) during the school day on a rotating schedule. Consideration is given to accommodate for tests, quizzes, and important material covered in class. A copy of the lesson schedule and its rules of operation will be given to each student and teacher at the end of September. Please ask for a copy if your child does not bring one home. In the event of a conflictr with a test, lab, or field trip, please message Mr. Chester on Schoology so that he can set you up with a Friday make-up lesson.

Grade 7 and Grade 8 Sectionals (before school 7:30am once per week)

7th and 8th graders will continue to receive sectionals as a part of their instruction. These like-instrument group rehearsals will take place this year on Mondays and Wednesdays before school. Monday: Woodwinds, 7:30am. Wednesday: Brass and Percussion, 7:30am.

Required Materials

Supplies like reeds and oils are available at Washburne and Skokie at a very discounted rate.

  • Pencil
  • Student instrument
  • Schoology access
  • Ensemble music and folder
  • Woodwinds: Three good reeds, cork grease, and a cleaning swab.
  • Brass: Slide grease and valve oil
  • Percussion: Drum sticks, mallets, stickbag, and a drum pad and mallet kit for home practice.

TO PERFORM AT A HIGH LEVEL WE NEED ALL OF YOU PRESENT... ALL OF THE TIME! Rehearsal time is very important to the success of the band. We need to make full use of every minute. Please remember that our before school rehearsal starts promptly at 7:30 a.m. This means that we expect you to be ready to play at 7:30 a.m.; you should arrange to get to school at least ten minutes prior to allow time for putting your instrument together and other pre-rehearsal preparation. No one should be absent from band unless they are absent from school. Please arrange for help sessions, etc. at times when we do not have band rehearsal. If missed rehearsals become a problem we will call home to discuss the situation. Excess absence may result in suspension from future performances.

Summer Music Camps

Summer camps provide an excellent opportunity for young musicians to develop their talents and work with accomplished music teachers and performers from around the country. Numerous camps are located throughout the Midwest. Scholarships are available for interested students. Please see us for more information.


Students are expected to provide their own instruments. Percussionists must provide their own sticks, mallets, and stick bag. It is extremely important that all of our students play on quality instruments in order to ensure the highest degree of success as performers. Before you buy or rent an instrument, please call us. We would be happy to suggest a reputable retailer. Many of our students rent from Quinlan and Fabish Music Company.

Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) District Concert and Jazz Bands

Seventh and Eighth grade students are eligible to audition for the ILMEA All District Bands. These are honors bands made up of outstanding middle school musicians from throughout northern Illinois. The events are not mandatory, but are a tremendous performance opportunity and we strongly recommend participation. (Participation in District Jazz Band is restricted to jazz ensemble instruments). The dates for District Band activities are listed in the calendar

If you would like to play in Jazz Band on Drum Set, Guitar, Bass, or Piano, we can direct you to some good teachers at New Trier High School and in the area so that you can audition for the separate group when you are ready. See Mr. Vowles or Mr. Chester for more information.

  • To learn more about the overall Band program, visit the main Band page
  • To learn more about the Washburne Jazz Ensemble or the Lion Jazz Ensemble, visit the Jazz Programs page
  • To see student testimonials or look at the choices of instrument available, to learn in Band, visit the Instruments Page