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Marching Band 101

Welcome to the Band of Blue Marching Band 101!

This information has been put together by a group of parents with various degrees of experience in the Habersham Central High School Marching Band world. In the many hours spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up kids, and following yellow school buses, we have learned valuable information.

When our children first joined the band, we, of course, wanted to know what we should do. After all, the only people who were even more confused, and looking to us for answers, were our children. We wanted to share with the “upcoming rookie parents” some of the answers to these many questions before we too forget how it felt not knowing what was going on…(of course we still don’t have all the answers)! 

Being a member of the Habersham Central High School Band Program will bring your children an exciting and fulfilling educational experience. They will work hard and experience many triumphs, as well as some disappointments; two things that will prepare them for the real world after high school. 

We sincerely hope this guide will answer some important questions about time management, time commitment, band fees and how to pay for them, fundraising, and uniforms. We would also like to give you some “insider” information on what it takes to be a band student, and a band parent! 

How Will My Child Have Time?


How will our children have the time to go to rehearsals two to three days a week after school, perform at ten to twelve Friday night football games, and compete on Saturdays three to four times a year? How will they have the time to do all of this, within a three-month period, and keep up their grades?? 

TIME MANAGEMENT will be the most important tool that your children will acquire when they become members of the HCHS band program. 

The students quickly learn that they must use every minute of their day wisely. The time not spent in practice has to be spent doing schoolwork, there is no other choice and they know that. At any given time you will find students in the band room, out in the hallway, or in any other space available doing homework. This is taught to them when they first join the program and it is expected of them. Remember that most band members are Honors or AP students.

Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities. 

During the first week of Band Camp, a detailed schedule will be distributed to all band students. It will list every rehearsal, football game, and competition your student will be required to attend the next three months (well, almost every rehearsal). You can also view this schedule on the Band's web site at and on CHARMS (our web-based data system). This schedule will now become a permanent attachment to your refrigerator.  Of course changes can and do occur throughout the season so make sure to check the website regularly. 

Your child will also become punctual. They will be taught the meaning of the phrase...

“If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time; you’re late; and if you’re late it’s unacceptable.”

Finally, your child will learn how to set priorities. No longer will you see your children staring mindlessly at the television, or playing X-Box or computer games for hours upon hours. Band rehearsals and homework will now fill their free time. (If only the band program could teach them to make time to take out the garbage without being reminded 100 times!!!) 

What About Rehearsals?


Rehearsals during Marching Band season are mandatory. One absent member will disrupt rehearsal for all members of the band. To be able to put the best possible musical product on the field, the staff and director need for all members of the band to be present during all scheduled rehearsals. Your membership depends on consistent participation. Management of a band this size is a monumental task and it becomes next to impossible if members of the band are absent. Please help your student make every effort to be there 

How Do Parents Get Involved?


Getting involved in the band program will give you the opportunity to share with your child the last four years of their education, these years that go so fast and are rarely enjoyed by many parents. Your child might say they rather not have you around, but most parents actually learn that in reality they appreciate your involvement and will thank you in the future. 

Habersham Central High School is fortunate to have a wonderful band staff. The band parents are needed to support the director, and help with the details of fundraising, transporting, feeding and watering an organization this size. The band needs parents to be able to function; it is for this reason that we urge you to get involved. Join one of the many committees; we need your help. Grandparents, siblings, or any member of your family can get involved and make a difference. Join the Habersham Band Booster Club (HBBC), it is a great way to meet the parents and the kids your student will be spending much of their time with for the next few months. 

The easiest way to volunteer is by joining the monthly HBBC meetings where you will learn more about the program and where it needs your help. We meet on the first Monday of every month. The large general meetings are prior to each of our concerts.

Don’t just sit in the car, get out and ask, “How can I help?” It is fun and you meet the other parents with the same interests as yours. As a guideline, it is recommended that every family contributes at least 25 hours to the Band Program. 

How Do We Keep Informed?

Make sure to visit our web site at You will find rehearsal times, schedules, photos, and a link to CHARMS (our web-based data system) where you can sign up for volunteer opportunities.  The HBBC will send out frequent emails as well to keep you informed. It is here that you will find the latest information on all upcoming events and fundraising opportunities.

How Do We Pay For This?

There are many questions about the economic impact of the Band Program. While our middle school programs traditionally did not have fees, the high school band program is very different. When we hear the bottom line, we sometimes wonder how we are going to be able to raise the funds needed for our children to be able to continue the pursuit of their musical interest. We do not want the economic factor to keep any student from participating in band. Throughout the year there are many opportunities to earn band fees. There have been families that did not pay anything out of pocket for their student to be in band, due to their successful fundraising. We have a fundraising team, dedicated to provide many opportunities to earn band fees. Some of the most successful are the Georgia Mountain Marching Festival, Mattress Sale, 1 Hour Fundraiser, Cheesecakes, Candles, and many other ideas that come up throughout the year. 

The fee schedule is broken down into regularly scheduled payment amounts. You can deposit smaller amounts into your child’s account ahead of the payment due date. This can be done all through the year so you don’t have to come up with all the money at one time. Please see Fee Schedule on our web site. The best way to learn about these fundraising opportunities is by keeping informed; and the best way to keep informed is by visiting the web site and attending the HBBC meetings that take place all year long. Due dates are not flexible, however unique circumstances can always be discussed and worked out with the Band Director or HBBC president. 

Uniforms, Uniforms – What Do They Wear?

Marching Band Rehearsals

Wear comfortable shoes, closed toe, no flip flops. A t-shirt, and shorts are highly suggested. 

Football Games 

Band Uniform parts consist of:
  • Black marching band shoes – These are special marching band shoes that clean up well with shoe polish. 
  • Navy Moisture Wicking Shirt
  • Black, knee-length socks
  • Band Uniform top
  • Band Uniform pants
  • Gray Band Shorts will be worn under uniform for group changes. 
  • Students will change into and out of uniform in the Band Room.
  • Black Gloves

Color Guard uniforms change from year to year.

Tips to remember while in uniform: 
  • No visible jewelry 
  • No make up (Guard is the exception, it is part of the uniform) 
  • Colored drinks, condiments, and any other messy or greasy food should be avoided while in uniform. Clear liquids are highly recommended (H2O is best). 

Helpful Hints to Save You Time and Grief:

  • Make your child responsible for being prepared. The first time they forget something will be the last!!! They learn to be resourceful when they have to be. 
  • At the end of each practice session there are usually announcements – listen up. This is your best opportunity to find out who, what, where and when things are going on. 
  • Network – This is how we meet each other. It is also one of the best ways to get helpful hints on band parenting from others. 
  • Be prepared to cheer! The band loves it when they have their own cheering section.
  • Don’t put uniform items away in the closet or drawers when cleaned. Keep all items (socks, shoes, band shirt, gloves, etc.) in a bag. These tips will save time spent hunting for them each time they are needed. 
  • Keep extra gloves, socks, needle & thread, etc. in your car or purse just in case. 
  • Visit the band web site to stay informed. 
  • Check CHARMS.

Terms and Phrases: 

“Band practice is at 9 o’clock.” “If you are early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late; if you’re late it’s unacceptable.”
  • When you drop your child off at 8:30, there will be students already there, ready to play. At this point, the anxiety level for being late dramatically increases. The band actually takes the practice field for warm-ups around 8:45. This is when your child will be sweating bullets. Always allow extra time. There are no excuses. 

“Where is your dot book?”
  • These are cards that students wear around their necks during band camp that tell them exactly where they stand for different setups. A good place to keep these is in their band bag or music folder. 

“ Where’s my dot?” or “Do we line up on the hash?”
  • This does not refer to insects or food. These terms indicate how the practice field is marked off. Students use their coordinate cards to answer these questions. 

“Are you working the Pit?”
  • The pit is not something bad. It’s a group of percussion instruments that travel on a trailer and are stationary during performances. Parents in the Pit Crew work feverishly to set up and take down the pit in record time, before and after a performance (and you think race pit crews are fast!!) 

“Last Time”
  • This can mean one more time, a few more times, it can mean you’re beginning to approach the road to the last time, or it can mean we’ll keep doing it until you get it right! 

You Know You are A Band Parent When. . . . 

  • You make three more trips than expected to drop off your child with everything they need. 
  • You carry spare white gloves, needle and thread, safety pins, black socks and duct tape in your pocketbook. 
  • You follow buses around all day on Saturdays 
  • You can’t pick your child out of the crowd because they all look alike. 
  • You no longer speak of your child as a fourteen-year-old daughter/son, but as a “freshman trumpet, freshman flute,” etc. 
  • You prominently display a band calendar in the kitchen, have band dates marked on the calendar in your purse and/or have the web site bookmarked on your computer.
  • You know that you will be wearing something Blue, Orange, or Silver(Grey) at every Friday night and on Saturdays. 
  • Early is on time and on time is late.
  • You don’t leave home without cushions to sit on, camera and camcorder! 
  • You are cheering with other band parents.