Joseph A. Saenz

Room G204 (Band room)

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesdays 2:45 to 3:15 pm

by appointment only




This course is designed to give the student an enriching and diverse instrumental music education. This class provides a number of performance opportunities for the student in a variety of settings. The daily objective of the course is to foster and promote musical growth through the playing of an instrument by the student. As a member of the instrumental music program, group effort and cooperation is necessary to a successful program. Learned an instrument is a skill-based effort in which each student is expected to show technical and musical growth throughout this course. Practice never has to be daily, but must be regular to allow the repetition needed to correctly progress with the curriculum. 



  • Instrument (See Instrument Selection and Rental page)

  • 2 Pencils in Sheet Protector (GRADED)

  • 1 Black, 3-pronged folder (GRADED) *See Binder Order in Student Expectations

  • Remind 101 App sign-on (codes below, GRADED)

  • Canvas website sign-on (codes below GRADED)

  • Recording Device/App for Makeups (please see Recording Procedures page) (UNGRADED) 

               (Any cell phone, tablet, laptop, computer microphone or hand-held recording device will suffice.)


The Concert Uniform for Beginning Band, Intermediate Band and Orchestra is different from the Concert Uniform for Advanced Band. Please read the section below very carefully as concert uniform components are graded during inspections before all concerts. Concert Uniforms are never used during rehearsals, only for actual performances.


The concert attire for all beginning and intermediate band classes and orchestra is all black, semi-formal dress attire. No color other than black, silver or gold should be seen on your outfit. Long socks/leggings are required for girls and boys, no part of your legs should ever be seen by the audience. If you cannot wear all black due to your religion, please wear a very dark blue bottom(pants/skirt) or shoes.


All black full-length dress or top/bottom combination with skirt or slacks.

Skirts must cover knees.

No shoulders or mid-drift may be seen. Nothing backless may be worn.

No straps, or strapless tops.

Hair, make-up, and jewelry must be MINIMAL and not obvious from off-stage.

No accessories may be worn.


Black button-down dress shirt.

No bow-tie or long tie necessary, but if you want to wear a tie, it must be all black.

Black dress shoes and black socks. 


*Any student not wearing the correct uniform for a performance will received a deduction from their performance grade.


Advanced Band uniforms will be purchased through Cousin's Concert Attire when their team page for us is completed. We are still waiting for that.


Remind101 is the most often used mode of communication from the instructor in our band and orchestra classes. It is a requirement that all students sign on and elect to receive text message reminders for anything important posted by the instructor. It is highly recommended that parents sign on as well, so that they can be updated too.


Please use the codes below to join your CORRECT Remind101 group for assignments submissions. Please double-check that you joined the CORRECT Remind101 group!!!


Join HS Beginning Band (Period 2 & Period 5) Remind101: Text @9ek7383 to 81010

Join HS Intermediate Band (Period 3) Remind101: Text @dehhfd to 81010

Join HS Advanced Band (Period 4) Remind101: Text @87k4db6 to 81010

Join HS Orchestra (Period 6) Remind101: Text @9k48cb to 81010


Canvas is used often by many teachers at Franklin Academy, but for band classes, we only use Canvas for recording submissions. Please use the links below to join your CORRECT Canvas Course for recording submissions. Please double-check that you joined the CORRECT Canvas Course!!!

Join HS Beginning Band (Period 2 & Period 5) Canvas H3LYJX

Join HS Intermediate Band (Period 3) Canvas CDJTF6

Join HS Advanced Band (Period 4) Canvas JAMBKE

Join HS Orchestra (Period 6) Canvas WDC6PN


  1. Always Warm-up individually before a rehearsal.  

  2. If you are not in your seat and ready to play when attendance is taken, you are late.

  3. No talking or playing while the teacher is talking. Raise your hand to be acknowledged.

  4. ALWAYS have a pencil, your binder and instrument for every class!

  5. All backpacks must be placed under your chair at all times. Not on the instrument shelves, or under large percussion instruments, or in the walking areas.

  6. There will be NO eating, drinking, or gum-chewing in class.

  7. No CELL PHONES! If I see one, I will take it. (Phones are returned at the end of the school day, not at the end of the class.)

  8. Only percussion students may touch percussion instruments.

Class Binder Requirements 

Students are expected to maintain a black binder for band or orchestra class. This binder must be brought to class every day and counts towards participation grades like instruments and pencils in the Preparedness category of the Participation Rubric.

 - The Binder must be BLACK with no writing or stickers on the front since we perform with these binders and they must look uniform

 - All items in the binder must be hole-punched and inside the prongs. Anything in the sides of the folder will not be graded for Binder Check grades.

 - The Binder Order has 5 sections that do not necessarily have to be separated by a divider or labeled, but the items within must follow this order:

Section 1 - Class Documents (Course Outline, IB Reflection instructions, Rubrics)

Section 2 - Reference Documents (Fingering Chart, Scale Sheet/Rudiments, Proficiency Packet

Section 3 - Warm-ups (Chord Progressions, Lips Slur Packet, Ultimate MB Warm-ups)

Section 4 - Performance Repertoire (Songs learned in class, Concert Songs, Districts music)

Section 5 - Process Journal: Notes (video notes, board notes, notes sent on Remind101), Reflection Reports



During Emergency Drills (fire drills, tornado drills, code black, etc) 

   1. Students may not talk at all!

   2. Students must stay calm and wait for instructions from the teacher

   3. If instructions are given, students must follow them exactly as specified

                Drills are to be taken VERY seriously! Poor behavior during a drill may warrant a demerit and/or referral!

If these expectations are not met, there will be disciplinary actions taken:

  1. Students will receive a verbal warning 

  2. Parent Contact and/or Demerit

  3. Referral (referred to administration) 


​Below are the category percentages for assignment types. It is the student’s and the parent’s responsibility to keep track of grades on PowerSchool. For more information on PowerSchool, please visit the Franklin Academy Website.


        High School Grading Scale:

           Projects/Performances – 30%

           Classwork/Participation - 25%

           Tests - 20%

           Quizzes – 15%

           Homework – 10%


Projects (Performances) grades will include after-school rehearsals, concert performances, school events, district evaluations, field trips, and any group recordings or collaborative projects.

All students will participate in the Winter Concert, Spring Concert, and the rehearsals for those concerts that happen beforehand. 

Q1 Projects

- No projects for Beginning Band, Orchestra, or Intermediate Band. 

- Advanced Band may perform pep rallies, festivals, or trips. (1 Proj Grade each)

Q2 Projects

- 1-2 Rehearsals for Winter Concert (1 Proj Grade each)

- Winter Concert (3 Proj Grades)

Q3 Projects are different for each class

- Beginning Band and Orchestra: Group PowerPoint Video - INSTRUCTIONS

- Intermediate Band: Group Composition Performance Video - INSTRUCTIONS

- Advanced Band: Districts rehearsals, District Recital, and MPA - INSTRUCTIONS

*Quarter 3 Video Projects are to be submitted via Google Drive link, not via Canvas.


Q4 Projects

- 1-2 Rehearsals for Spring Concert (1 Proj Grade each)

- Winter Concert (3 Proj Grades)

Quizzes will include Rhythm Quizzes and Sightreading. All quizzes will be performed individually in class. 

Tests will include Scales Tests and Proficiency Tests. Scales tests will be performed individually in class, and Proficiency Tests will be video recorded at home and submitted to Canvas.

The schedule of assignments is available on the Course Outlines on the top of this Syllabus Page. The Rhythm Drills sheet and Scales sheets are found under the Resources tab. The Proficiency Tests are available in the online music library. This means that all students have access to their materials for Scales Tests, Rhythm Quizzes, and Proficiency Tests at the start of the year!

Absences/Makeups: Students who are absent the day of a playing test will make up their tests/quizzes by recording at home, due on the same date the test/quiz is given by midnight. All makeups for legitimate absences will be for full credit as long as they are submitted by midnight on the same day. A day late would be a B, two days late would be a C, etc.

- There are no REDOS allowed for any performances or recordings. Once the student performance is complete or the video submitted, their grade will be given from that performance or video.

- Any student who declines to perform in class on the required test/quiz date, who is PRESENT in class, will NOT be allowed a make-up and their grade will remain a 0%. (It is imperative that all students at least TRY!)

​Midterm Exams and Final Exams are a separate from the Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 gradebook and worth 30% of the Semester Grade for Fall and Spring. Midterm Exams and Final Exams are comprised of scales already learned and tested on in class and are to be performed individually in class on the Midterm/Final exam assigned day. Any makeups for a Midterm or Final Exam must be performed in front of the teacher after school by appointment. Video recordings are not permitted for Midterm or Final Exams. Midterm and Final Exam assignemnts are found on the second tab of the Course Outline document.

​Classwork (Participation) will be graded every day, but will be combined for one weekly grade given at the end of each week. Regardless of the class schedule, all participation grades for all band classes will be put in on FRIDAYS. Graded components for Participation include but are not limited to:

   1. Having your instrument in class (instrument is properly maintained and playable)

   2. Playing your instrument (seated and ready to play when required, staying focused, and giving 100% effort throughout the lesson)

   3. Music preparedness (having music reviewed and prepared before the lesson)

   4. Material preparedness (having the student's binder, all music, binder materials, and pencil)

   5. Taking video notes, board notes, or notes given on Remind101.


Any student missing materials will have points deducted from their Participation Grade. If a student loses sheet music or printed material, they make check the extra music bins and resource bins for copies. If copies have run out, the student must print their own materials in time for the next binder check, material check, or surprise music check. If a student forgets their instrument at home, they will receive a 0% for the day in participation. The student may "air play" for a 50% for that lesson, but writing assignments will not be given since worksheets or reports cannot substitute for a lesson of playing an instrument.

Damaged Instrument Policy - Any student with an instrument in the repair shop may request up to a week excused of Participation grade penalties.This request must come from a parent/guardian via EMAIL. Any extension for the duration of the repair will require an emailed copy of the repair invoice with dates. It is the family's responsibility to take the instrument to the repair shop immediately as soon as the damage is identified. 


Homework for band/orchestra is comprised of PRACTICING regularly, IB Reflection Reports, and Binder Checks (which are to be prepared at home). Although the regular at-home practice is not graded, lack of at-home practice will severely negatively impact the students' playing tests and quizzes as well as class participation. Reports and Binder Checks are usually pass/fail grade with a letter grade off each day late.

[ADV BAND ONLY] Honors Students – Students who have Band 5 and Band 6 on their schedule are considered Honors Band students as they are getting Honors Credit. These students must follow this order of requirement for their district solo performance in February in order to receive the honors credit at the end of the year:


1. Solo Chosen by August 23rd (email title and composer/arranger to Mr. Saenz)

2. Solo purchased and submitted to Mr. Saenz for piano part copying by Sept 2nd.

3. First half of solo recorded and submitted for a grade to Mr. Saenz via Google Doc link by November 15th

4. Second half of solo recorded and submitted for a grade to Mr. Saenz via Google Doc link by December 15th.

5. $50 provided by check or money order to the piano accompanist by February 1st.

6. Schedule after-school appointment with Mr. Saenz to work on solo by February 1st.

7. Schedule after-school 30 min rehearsal with piano accompanist by February 1st.


(Band 5/6 Honors is only for Juniors and Seniors, but Freshmen and Sophomores are more than welcome to do solos for districts and must follow the above order of requirements to succeed at districts. After-school appointments with Mr. Saenz will be prioritized after the Juniors and Seniors. Piano accompaniment rehearsals will be scheduled accordingly)


Please see Rubrics page for detailed grading specifics. 

- All graded after school rehearsals are mandatory.

- All missed graded rehearsals and performances will require an alternate assignment to make up the points regardless of the reason for missing.

- The alternate assignment for a graded rehearsal will be 3 recorded sightreading excerpts from the method book, chosen by the director according to class pacing.

- The alternate assignment for a graded performance will be 5 recorded sightreading excerpts from the method book, chosen by the director according to class pacing.

- Alternate Assignments will receive no higher than an 85% for missed Audience Presentation standards required for performances.

- The alternate assignments for the dress rehearsals and concerts are SEPARATE. If the student misses both the dress rehearsal(s) AND concert they will need to record and submit all alternate assignments required for the total of missing project/performance grades.

Extra Credit will NOT be offered at the High School level for Franklin Academy.

Please see Recording Procedures tab for more information on how to record. 

Midterm/​Final Exam Makeups: If a student is absent on the day of the Final Exam, they must makeup the final during the schedule Final Exam makeup day. If the student cannot makeup the final on the assigned makeup day, they will receive a 0% for the final. No other makeups may be scheduled other than on that assigned make up day. 

​NOTE:  If you are absent or have extenuating circumstances that delay your submission of work, a "0%" will be entered in the gradebook, not as a final grade, but only as a reminder to get it done. I do not leave empty grades in the gradebook once an assignment is graded for that class. 



Attendance for each class will be taken after the first 5 minutes of class. Each student will have exactly 5 minutes to set up their instrument, warm up and be ready to start playing immediately after attendance. If a student is NOT in their seat and ready to play by the time I take attendance, they will be marked “Late.” ATTENDANCE AT ALL PERFORMANCES, AFTER SCHOOL REHEARSALS ARE MANDATORY! Students will be graded for ALL required events. All dates are set up in advance on the Calendar to allow family events, appointments, or vacations to be cleared or planned around the dates. Not having transportation is an unacceptable excuse to miss a rehearsal or a performance. You will, in most cases, have at least two weeks’ notice of any upcoming performance or rehearsal. All students will have a minimum of 2 concerts for the year and 1-2 after school rehearsals for these concerts. All scheduling conflicts must be discussed with me and approved by me ahead of time. Refer to the previous Make-ups & Late Assignments Policy section for missed after-school rehearsals/performances.



"IB" stands for "International Baccalaureate" and is the abbreviation for the non-profit educational foundation serving students aged 3 to 19. International Baccalaureate. IB programs aim to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. ​

In an IB instrumental music class:

- students will engage in discussions about musical concepts, techniques, theory, and music history.

- students will consider the role of music in local and global contexts.

- students will respond through a reflection process before, during, and after assignments, tests, performances and other projects. 

- students will analyze and decipher their own progress based on research-driven standards and rubrics.

- students will seek out multiple instructional perspectives to gain a broader appreciation for their art form.

- students will discuss and reflect on the I.B. aims, objectives and rubric criteria.


​Music USA Festival @ Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure, Orlando 

All students in a music class or music after school are eligible to attend the Universal Orlando trip. Information for this trip will be updated on the Universal Orlando Trip tab.

​Solo & Ensemble  participation offers more experiences for our musical students. Students participate in competitions and festivals to learn new and fun music, work with recognized conductors and other band/orchestra students, and to build upon their Student Resumes for college.

​Individual rehearsal time will be used to coach soloists and small ensembles nearer to the competition dates. Rehearsals with the accompanist will be scheduled outside of regular rehearsal times and will be determined by the student and the accompanist. Accompanist fees are to be paid by the student.

All students, regardless of years in band/orchestra are welcome to participate. You do not have to do a solo, you can do a duet, trio or quartet and there are easy beginner pieces available!

All advanced band students will participate in a section ensemble depending on their instrument type. They will be placed in either the Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Double-Reed Trio/Quartet, Saxophone Choir, Brass Choir, or Percussion Ensemble.

*All Honors Band students (Band 5 and Band 6) are required to do a minimum Grade 3 solo as part of the honor requirement. 

District MPA Evaluations – The Advanced Band will attend the District evaluations in February. Select members of the Intermediate band may be asked to assist in the performance by learning the music and attending the rehearsals. Members of the Intermediate band who assist at districts will receive community service hours for all rehearsals and event day. Those dates will be located on the Calendar tab. Parents will be notified of all the requirements ahead of time. These events will be field trips since they occur during school hours, so parent chaperones will be needed. Chaperones for these events will need to be cleared at the front office before the field trip date and will receive service volunteer hours for assisting.


All band/orchestra students are required to perform in the school concerts. The students will have a minimum of 2 mandatory concerts, one in the fall and one in the spring along with rehearsals for the concerts beforehand.

Any rehearsal or performance assigned to a class or all classes on the band/orchestra Calendar (see Calendar page) and are listed as "mandatory" must be attended in order to get the grade for it. Please see Rubrics page for grading policies for concerts and rehearsals. 

Students must be dressed and ready to perform an hour before the concert when we do Inspections. Inspections is when I grade for attendance, concert uniform, instrument condition, band/orchestra binder, and music. 

XI. CONCERT ETIQUETTE(for audience members)

Student concerts are the culmination of many weeks of demanding preparation. A portion of that preparation involves instruction in the appropriate types of behavior while in performance. In an effort to provide both performers and audience with an enjoyable concert experience, we offer these guidelines for audience behavior. By observing these, everyone contributes to the success of the concert. 

       1. It is important to attend the entire concert out of respect to the efforts and dedication of all those involved. If a guest must leave or enter while the concert is in progress, please do so only during the applause between selections.

​       2. Please refrain from conversation during musical selections. 

       3. Young children develop audience habits early. Please help them to understand and follow the "no noise during the performance" guideline. That may necessitate removing them from the concert hall for a time.

       4. Applause at the end of a jazz solo is appropriate to the style, but it is not commonly expected during a band solo. In the same manner it is usually appropriate to hold applause in a multi-movement selection until the whole piece has concluded.

The Franklin Academy musical community deeply appreciates your attendance at our concerts. We understand that many people attend in support of a specific person. Please remember that while your person may have completed his/her contribution, someone seated next to you could be listening intently for another special person's performance. Please help everyone enjoy all performances by respectfully adhering to these guidelines. 

We encourage you to revel in the efforts and achievements of all the performers.