No More Morning Music

Trumpet+player+Logan+Villalobos%2C+sophomore%2C+rehearsing+through+the+marching+band%27s+field+show+called+%22Homesick.%22

Photo by: Haelley Hogan

Trumpet player Logan Villalobos, sophomore, rehearsing through the marching band's field show called "Homesick."

Cam High’s music program has switched marching band from zero to seventh period Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in order to fix a plethora of scheduling conflicts.

Mr. Daniel Cook, band director, said that this change alone has allowed for a more efficient jazz and marching band class. When Cook arrived at Cam High at the beginning of last  year, he wanted to make the change after noticing that the most productive rehearsals were held after school, and that attendance of zero period was low. “Every other successful program does not rehearse zero period,” he said. “Now I have more people show up to rehearsals [later on in the day] because zero period is not a friendly time for high school students.”

The changes were also provoked by the need for sufficient time for all music classes. In prior years, Marching Band was first semester zero period, while Jazz Band was second semester zero period. On this schedule, Jazz Band was crammed into one semester, not allowing time for the in-depth instruction it requires, according to Cook. Jazz is now a year-round zero period class after the changes were approved. “Now, it’s just the jazz kids who have to [show up zero period], but they are far more committed since they are students who are in multiple music classes or who would already be here due to carpooling,” said Cook.

Some students felt the need for the switch was due the conflict between second period symphonic band and AP Chemistry“Yeah I like the changes, but I do know that some other kids had to switch out of band because of AP Chemistry,” said sophomore Montana Barnett.

Over the summer, countless meetings with the assistant principals and a few with Dr. Kim Stephenson were held to avoid conflict with other electives, AP, and honors courses. “I was the driving force behind [the decision], but I didn’t make it by myself,” he said.  Cook had to plan out every aspect of the class with the school and district administration, including instruction hours, before the change was approved.

After the changes had been finalized, some were worried that they would cause more problems than they would fix. “It was difficult and we tried,” Cook said. “But it was not possible to avoid conflict with other classes.”

This new change has cut rehearsals from 12 to 8.5 hours per week. Due to after school rehearsals, it now cuts into homework time and other after school activities. However, many students said that if you work hard, it’s worth it. “I’m not a morning person so I personally like it […] but what’s the point of it if there is not even an hour of practice in the morning to get stuff accomplished,” said senior Natalie Sheehan.

Despite notable benefits and positive feedback from band students, not everyone is pleased about the new period. “I don’t like the new change,” said sophomore Dante Bernhardt. “Zero period was nice and chill, and always a promise I would get to first period on time. I almost quit this year, but [I stayed because] Mr. Cook is the best.”

Cook has also encountered difficulties with the switch. “We have to use rehearsal time to load and unload the [band] truck instead of practicing,” he said. “I also don’t have as much time to plug in announcements or show judges’ tapes, but it’s so much better on so many levels.” The tapes are videos of the band’s performance that Cook uses to critique his students and fix mistakes.

There was an estimated five percent growth in the band department this year due to the new scheduling, according to Cook.