Announcing MMSIMB!

Dear parents/guardians and students of MMSIM,

It is my pleasure to announce that the MMS Instrumental Music Boosters (MMSIMB for short) organization is up and running! MMSIMB is a non-profit, charitable organization of volunteer parents whose sole focus is the logistical and financial support of the MMS Instrumental Music program. While we’ve been doing all of the appropriate governmental paperwork and filings, the members of MMSIMB have already working to assist at the upcoming Winter Concerts and raise funds to support the program.

The current primary financial goal is to fully fund the Knott’s Berry Farm trip for Intermediate Symphony Orchestra and Advanced Symphony Orchestra. The secondary goal is to raise the remaining funds for all of the other budgeted categories that were discussed at the parent/guardian info meeting back on August 31st. The budget and other financial information can be reviewed in the slide deck from that meeting (financial info starts on slide 20). You can contribute right now by clicking/tapping on the “Donate to the program!” button. Depending on how you’re reading this post, the “Donate” button is located either at the bottom of the post (mobile devices) or on the right hand side of the page (laptops/desktops). MMSIMB is a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3, so your donation is tax deductible! The organization’s 501(c)3 status also makes them eligible for corporate donation matching!

MMSIMB will be at the Winter Concerts on December 8th selling concessions before and after each concert. All proceeds go directly to the MMS Instrumental Music program. You will be able to purchase concessions at the concert with cash, card, or contactless/tap payment! You can also speak to one of the booster parents if you’re interested in getting involved with supporting the MMS Instrumental Music program!

PLEASE NOTE: Donating to the program is optional and voluntary. Please see SDUSD’s page on student fee guidelines, specifically Section IV. Donations and Section V. Fundraising, for more information.

SDUSD Middle School Honor Band/Orchestra

Auditions for the 2023 SDUSD Middle School Honor Band/Orchestra are taking place on Thursday, December 1st at CPMA Middle School. The performances will be on Saturday, February 4th at Brown Chapel on the campus of Pt. Loma Nazarene University. Please see the links below for all necessary audition materials and information:

BAND: Audition materials/infoReserve audition time

ORCHESTRA: Audition materials/infoReserve audition time

Info for Student Absences

DEADLINE EXTENSIONS: Extensions are built into every assignment for every student regardless of absences. In each syllabus for all of my classes, students are allowed a seven (7) calendar day window in which students may submit late or retake assignments for full credit. This window starts as soon as the deadline for an assignment passes. Specific dates and times for deadlines are listed for each assignment in Google Classroom.

ASSIGNMENT INFO/DETAILS: Anything and everything that is assigned to students in my classes is posted in Google Classroom. Step-by-step instructions, point totals, deadlines, and more can all be found in each assignment posting. There are no surprise assignments, pop quizzes, or any other graded work that will be left off of Google Classroom.

MAKE-UP PRACTICE/REHEARSAL TIME: Students do not need to make up practice/rehearsal time missed due to 6th grade camp, illness, family vacation, religious holiday, or any other absence from school. Even without a flu outbreak at 6th grade camp, there are too many students, too many absences, and not nearly enough time for me to catch kids up on missed classes outside of class time.

HAVING DIFFICULTY PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENT?: If coughing, respiratory issues, fatigue, or other illness-related complications are preventing a student from playing their instrument, students can request permission from me to record and submit their assignments in percussive mode on SmartMusic while they are sick. This can also apply when an instrument needs to spend some time in the repair shop.  In percussive mode, students can simply clap their hands, knock on their desk, or otherwise percussively perform the rhythms of the assignment to complete it.  Students can select percussive mode in SmartMusic the first time they click the “record” button for an assignment.  The preferred method for asking for permission to record and submit in percussive mode is to send me a private Google Classroom comment on the assignment(s) in question. If you request percussive mode permission via email, please be sure to specify the exact assignment title(s) in which I should expect to hear clapping/knocking/etc. instead of your normal instrument.

Food for Musical Thought


If you find yourself bored and needing a good article or two to pass the time, here are a few from my good friend, Dr. Noa Kageyama, a.k.a. “The Bulletproof Musician.”

What to Ask Yourself After a Failure or Setback

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently

“Perfect” Practice May Be Preventing You from Learning that Tricky Passage

Why Listening to Reference Recordings is an Important Part of Practicing

The Importance of Writing Notes in Your Music (one of my favorites!)

For more delightfully thought-provoking articles about music and becoming a better musician, feel free to browse Dr. Kageyama’s blog, and feel free to email me with any articles you don’t see above that you found to be applicable to middle school musicians.