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The Basics

Mt Carmel Practice Log
This guide is designed to give parents of Band and Color Guard students an overview of the program. For additional information please explore our website.

The Basics

Band is open to all interested students who play a band instrument, including brass, woodwind, and percussion. Orchestra is open to all orchestral string instruments.


Students are expected to play at a good level of proficiency, as the program is focused on learning to play as an ensemble, not on learning beginning basic music skills. Taking private lessons outside of school is strongly encouraged.

Color Guard Team/Winter Guard (also called Tall Flags/Dance Props) is open to any student at Mt. Carmel that is interested in dance, movement and choreography while using a variety of props such as flags, imitation rifles, and sabers. The Guard Team wears a variety of costumes to enhance the visual representation of music and performs with the Marching Sundevils during the fall trimester. When the fall season ends, the team becomes Winter Guard for Trimesters 2 and 3. The class is now called Dance/Props and works on a new show that is performed with recorded music, competes with other schools at Winter Guard shows around San Diego which are held in different school’s gymnasiums.

We have a motto that says: The Marching band is like a cake, Color Guard is like the icing on the cake…a cake without icing is boring and icing without the cake is just too sweet…you can’t have one without the other!

GuardStudents enroll in “Marching PE”=Colorguard/Tall Flags trimester 2 and 3 and receive Physical Education credit for 1st Trimester.  For more information, go to the “Color Guard” links on MCHSBAND.COM

Marching Season -August through November

All Band and Color Guard students participate in Marching Band during this season. There are two performance “events” for marching bands: the street march (Parade) and field show (football halftime show). During the marching season, the marching band is focused on learning the music and marching/choreography for these two events. This music is performed during field competitions and Parades on Saturdays, and also non-competitive events such as football halftime shows which are normally on Friday evenings. Marching band is much like a sport, and very exciting for the students and parent spectators alike!

Both street and field marching involves precision marching and maneuvering, in addition to playing music! Much of the instruction during the marching season focuses on this aspect.

For some of the street marching competitions, only the auditioned “competition block” of students will be marching. This block is selected prior to the initial competition based on proficiency with both music and marching skills.

A “weekly schedule” listing the week’s events will be available on Mondays before each major event. Check this website and Mr. McPherson’s Learning Point page for events each week during the season.

Jazz Band – There are two outstanding jazz bands at Mt. Carmel: Jazz A(advanced- by instructor invitation only) and Jazz B which is open to all band students. Jazz bands rehearse two to three times a week and are an extracurricular activity. The bands rehearse in the mornings before school and usually begin at 6:15 AM to 7:15 AM.

The bands rehearse before school because so many students have such busy schedules after school and there are fewer conflicts at this early time. After a couple of weeks, students get used to getting up early and quickly adjust to this schedule in order to have the jazz experience.

The Jazz program is supported by our music boosters, and a jazz donation of at least$75.00 per year is requested to keep this fine program vibrant for our jazz students. The Jazz bands perform at several concerts during the year and at least one or two jazz festivals. Students who wish to learn jazz improvisation in depth, should study with a jazz coach.

The Incredible Pep Band – The pep band is open to all band musicians in the program and performs for some basketball, football, assemblies and special community events.

Members are responsible for learning all the pep band tunes and need to be available when the pep band is needed to perform. This is a really fun group to be a member of and also a great social activity for students.

String Orchestra – This class meets during the school day during period 4, and is made up of all the orchestral string instrumentalist at Mt. Carmel. There are more than 40 string musicians that play violin, viola, cello and string bass.

The first trimester is spent working on specialized string skills and eventually working toward playing outstanding music from the orchestral repertoire. During trimesters 2 and 3, students will combine with the full Symphony Orchestra and rehearse Tuesday evenings from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM to prepare for festivals and concerts. The most advanced orchestra students may be asked to play in the school’s musical and other advanced ensembles throughout the year.


As with all our music programs, students in orchestra are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to take private lessons! See this website for a list of recommended private instructors.