Music Department Handbook
Welcome to Piano Lab
Welcome to Piano Lab! Piano Lab is different than Band, Orchestra, or Chorus. In Band, Orchestra, and Chorus (also known as music ensembles), we focus on developing a group of students to perform as musicians in a performing ensemble. The piano is not necessarily and ensemble instrument (though it can be). While the focus of an ensemble is to become proficient together as an ensemble, the focus of Piano Lab is to become proficient as an individual musician. This makes for a much different environment than that of the ensemble classes.
This page will outline the policies for the Piano Lab class. Some of the policies will link to other portions of the Music Department Handbook, while other policies will be specific to the Piano Lab Class. If, at anytime, you have questions, p[ease feel free to reach out to Mr. Roberts for assistance.
Student Records and Expectations
Information regarding student records and expectations can be found here.
Students are responsible for acquiring their Piano Lab supplies by the end of the first week of school. All Piano Lab students should have these supplies in-class everyday:
One inch binder
All worksheets and music given to students must be placed in their binders and should be kept throughout the entire school year.
The Beginning of the Year Participation Fee for Piano Lab is $5.00. Beginning of year fees are due by Friday, September 13, 2019. New students, after the beginning of the year, should submit their fee within the first two weeks of attending Passage Middle School. Please note that no student will be excluded from Piano Lab due to an inability to pay. However, it is required that parents who cannot pay their fees in full by the due date should communicate with Mr. Roberts as soon as possible to make the appropriate arrangements.
We will be using the following textbooks for this class:
Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course by Palmer, Manus, and Lethco. This book will be provided to each group to share during class. If you have a piano or keyboard at home, you are strongly advised to purchase a copy for your own use at home. In addition, if you would like your own copy to use during class, feel free to purchase your own.
Mayron Cole’s Piano Method – Older Beginner Levels 1 through 4. This book can be downloaded for free from Mayron Cole’s Piano Method website: https://www.freepianomethod.com/.
Musician Expectations can be found here.
Daily Participation. Students will be placed in groups of 2 or 3 students during class and will work in these groups, or individually, on written and playing tasks which help them to progress in their piano performance. In addition, students will be required to participate by playing in class-wide groups, playing individually for the other members of the class, and playing for smaller groups of students. Active participate in these tasks are important to maintain proper progress throughout the year.
Assignments and/or Quizzes. Students will be required to complete assignments outside of the piano classroom. Students are NOT required to have a piano or keyboard at home, though, those who do have access to a piano or keyboard at home may find it easier to complete assignments and/or quizzes outside of the classroom. When assignments require the use of a piano outside of the class period, students will be permitted to sign-up to use the piano lab after-school.
Tests, Projects, and Performances. Information regarding major recitals can be found below. Tests will be given at least once per marking period. In addition, when major recitals do not occur in a marking period, projects will be assigned to further student knowledge and progress on the piano. When a major recital occurs in a marking period, it will account for 30% of the overall grade, and tests will account for the other 10%. When a major recital does not occur in a marking period, tests, projects, and performances will all be weighted equally.
Major Recitals. Major recitals will be performed, outside of the school day, in December and May to display student progress to parents and the community. Students are required to attend these performances in-line with the performance guidelines, as outlined in the Music Department Handbook, which can be found at: https://www.passagemusic.org/hb-performances.
Recital Attire: Students should dress according to the following attire guidelines:
Gentlemen: Button-down shirt with a tie and dress pants with dress shoes. Dress jackets are encourage but not required.
Ladies: Dressy blouse with a skirt or a nice dress, with dress shoes. Skirts and dresses must cover the knee upon sitting down.
Outside of the School Day
Practice Outside of the School Day. Because keyboards will NOT be assigned for students to take home, students are not required to practice for a specified period of time outside of the school day for this class. With that said, students who do practice outside of the school day will move quicker than those who do not. Piano Labs will be scheduled after-school to help students to practice outside of the school day…see the information regarding after-school piano labs below.
Students who have access to a keyboard at home, and effectively use it to practice, will become proficient at a faster pace. Parents: If your child does not have a keyboard at home and you would like to purchase them a keyboard, feel free to reach out to Mr. Roberts for suggestions before doing so.
After-School Piano Labs. When possible, Mr. Roberts will set-up after-school piano labs. However, these will be limited, and students will need to sign-up for a scheduled slot, which will also be limited. After-school piano labs are NOT a time for students to get help from Mr. Roberts. Rather, they are a time for students to come and work independently on their keyboards. Students will need to make the appropriate arrangements for the times they are not working in the piano lab, either before their scheduled slot, or after (i.e. working with another teacher, parent picking student up after their slot, etc.). Also, please be advised that during performance season (i.e. before winter/spring concerts, during concert assessment season from January to March), after-school piano labs will be limited.
Extra Help. Students are responsible for communicating their need for extra help with Mr. Roberts. If Mr. Roberts is able to help the student during class, or before homeroom, this will be the most desired solution. It may be possible to arrange for additional help during after-school piano labs, but this must be arranged ahead of time. Otherwise, parents may reach out to Mr. Roberts to arrange for additional help.
Daily Participation: 30%
Students are required to participate fully throughout each class period. Excessive absences could result in make-up assignments to make-up participation grades.
Tests, Projects, & Performances: 40%
Major recitals, outside of the school day, are held in December and May.
Assignments and/or Quizzes: 30%
Written and playing assignments and/or quizzes which show student progress in-class.