Students new to McKinley or the instrumental programs who wish to learn to play an instrument will be assigned to Beginning Band. They will learn how to read music, be introduced to music theory, and be assigned an instrument.
Students are expected to complete practice cards documenting their practice time outside of school and complete writing assignments.
Beginning Band students will play only in the Spring Concert.
Once students have mastered the basics of music literacy and skill, they are promoted by invitation to Intermediate Band. This may take place at the end of any semester and is not determined by a student's grade level.
Students moving into Intermediate Band are encouraged to develop a mastery of their principal instrument through practice outside of class and if desired, private lessons through the Community Music School of Webster University.
Some students may also begin to learn a second instrument. Intermediate Band students usually perform in the Fall and Spring Concerts.
Advanced Ensembles and Combos
Students who show exceptional abilities are promoted to Wind Ensemble. They may also be invited to join the Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, or Percussion Ensemble. These are advanced bands and require a high degree of commitment from students.
These bands compete in a variety of festivals locally and out of state throughout the year. Students are required to participate in fundraisers to help cover the costs associated with the festivals. Scholarships are provided based on financial need and availability of funds.
It is not uncommon for students in Wind Ensemble to be members of Webster University's Young Persons Concert Orchestra, Compton Heights Band, and the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.