We're all into the mess of trying to get our instruments together. Here are some important new developments that you really should know:

  • For those of you selected to play clarinet, plastic mouthpieces are fine. Don't worry about spending the extra money on a hard rubber mouthpiece. It used to be that these were included in the rental instrument for no extra fee. Please don't worry, whatever comes with your instrument will work great. But don't forget extra reeds! You'll definitely be needing lots of these!
  • Palm Winds from Cascade Music in Marysville - this is a new brand to me and I was unaware that it was being carried by this location. Feel free to give this brand a try. If they recommend it to beginners, it means the supplier is willing to stand behind this product. Any problems will then be dealt with by the renting location.
PLEASE feel free to call or email me with any questions you might have as we get rolling.

Other notes:
  • Yes, this concert attire is important. Everything has a purpose in this department including how nice we look at performances.
  • Performances are MANDATORY. Please don't forget to put them on your calendar.
  • I know it's costing a lot out of the gate right now, but the investment is SO WORTH IT! Your students are already having a great time!


Farewell 8th graders...

Thank you so much to all of our 8th grade musicians - you all have created a new idea of musical excellence here at Port Susan. You will definitely be missed!

Beginning BandBeginning Band 8th graders - they certainly helped teach the rest of the squirts a thing or two!

Brandon Porter and Tasha Danner

Choir 8th graders - keep singing pretty!

Kelsey Hettinger, Kylee Schafer, Silvie Emnott, Alyssa Sanford, Mariah Orcutt, Natasha Strand, Phillip Geralds, Taylor Huff, Ashley Beard, Jordan Bister, Alexis Chavez, Selena Mercedes, Courtney Isaksen, Megan Cruise, Amanda Marriner, and Noelle Morgenstern.

Symphonic Band

Symphonic Band - Good luck in high school!

Luke Bennett, Mackinley Heuer, Tom Marcinyshyn, and Jimmy Glunt.

Wind Ensemble

Wind Ensemble - you guys have some so far in two short years. I'm so proud of you! Keep loving music!

Alicia Apolista, Nick Eckley, Jericho Broadfood, Jose Orozco, Kyle Wood, Lynnaea Bonnefield, Shawna Keniston-Lundberg, Mikel Levi, Kyssandra Richards, Madie Henry, Jordan Wasmund, Jimmy O'Brien, Harold Spaulding, Maddi Palmer, Malia Dagdag, Lauren Allison, Chase Lauinger, Davis Crouch, Joey Anderson, Alex Colcol, Ben VanSant, Griffin Beeston, Dunte McNeal, Anela Cole, Becca Bachand, and Luke Brown.

If any of you would like to see the rest of the pictures I took (individual pictures in class or the ones from promotion) email me and I'll send you what I have of you.

Have a great summer kids - I hope you all continue with music in your lives, one way or another. Come back and visit!! -Wilkerson




Practice record minutes go up this month. SB/WE requirements are now 45 minutes per 5 times each week, and BB is now up to 30 minutes. Our music is getting more difficult, and we are playing more of it necessitating more time being spent at home.

I know life is busy with a million different commitments, but please remember that this is a class you have committed to and has work to be done at home just as your other classes. You all have signed and have a copy of the grading policy for this class. Put in the time and you will see that it really is worth the effort!

Our next concert is in a few short weeks - February 4th @ 7pm. Let's keep up the hard work and make it a good one!



As you've noticed by now, practice records are a HUGE part of your grade, students. Parents, PLEASE make sure you are seeing this assignment every week of the month and help your student get it in ON TIME!! I give them three (3) days to turn it in before it no longer counts for their grade. I know students are practicing, but they still need to get their homework in on time. This is an important skill that we work very hard on learning in middle school. My policy is non-negotiable unless the student is ill or not present on the due date.

Here are a couple FAQs that hopefully will help you out with any ambiguity:

  1. What is required in a practice record?
    1. Students are required to practice a certain number of minutes (different between beginning band & SB/WE) five (5) times a week. It doesn't matter to me which days of the week these are. I completely understand how busy lives can be. Please be assured that as long as the minutes are getting done during the week, that's great by me.
    2. The number of minutes required per week needs to be fulfilled during that one week time period. There are no "rollover" minutes from week to week. Just like you would never want to cram for a big final test or a playoff game, the same works for music. We need to be constantly and consistently practicing a building the right muscles as we go.
  2. My student has told me in the past that "mental practicing" is allowed. What is this?
    1. "Mental practicing" is what the students can count for practice minutes when they're not using their horn. This method of practice is what they are to use when they are sick, travelling, forget their horn at school, or, for those of you with star athletes, what they can do in the car in between practices. Mental practicing entails spending time in the book working on the brain parts of music learning. Saying the note names and doing the fingerings of the notes, clapping and counting the rhythms, and any combination or versions of the sort. They should be doing this form of practicing anyway as the beginning steps of learning new music before they try to play it. The combination of both the mental and physical work ensures a much higher retention rate as well as faster learning overall.
      1. You said when they're sick...they have to practice then too??
        1. Obviously there is a line to student capability. If they are too sick to keep their eyes open, of course they don't have to practice. But if they are capable of doing make-up work for their other classes, I expect them to be doing the make-up work for mine as well. If the student can barely take a breath without coughing, for goodness sakes please don't play! This is the time for mental practicing! They lose far less time and have much less catch-up to do if their brains and fingers already know where to go in the new music. All the other muscles will catch up quickly when the student is healthy enough to play.
  3. When are practice records due?
    1. Practice records are ALWAYS due the first Monday of the month. The students have until the following Wednesday to turn them in for full credit. All practice records have the due date printed on the bottom as a reminder.
  4. What do I do if I've lost my practice record?
    1. I have extras made already in the classroom. Pick up one during class!
    2. OR, on the homepage of this site, I've attached the practice record document. All you need to do is download it and print out the appropriate record for your class.
    3. OR, make your own and have your parent sign it.
    4. OR, just bring in a signed note by parent/guardian saying you did indeed practice.
PLEASE DO NOT try to fool me by forging these signatures. I wasn't born yesterday, and you spending time in detention as well as getting a zero anyway isn't worth it.

Any other questions? Please call or email me BEFORE the assignment is late and I'll be happy to help!

This month's practice record is ORANGE. Keep an eye out!

15 days 'til Thanksgiving.



Sorry to do this to you so close to the concert, but I need to change the show-up time for musicians.

  • PLEASE HAVE STUDENTS TO THE BAND OR CHOIR ROOM BY 6:15PM. We need to take formal pictures for the yearbook.

Thank you!!


It's about that time!

We're coming to it...the first concert of the year! Here's a few quick reminders as we get closer:

  • Don't forget the proper uniform - black on bottom, long-sleeved white on top, gentlemen need to have long ties. Please no sneakers, jeans, sweats, or t-shirts. Nice please - we want to sound as good as we sound!
  • Invite everyone! Your families are just as proud of you as I am - let them here what all your squeaks and squawks all quarter have been working towards! (Parents - it really means a lot to your student to have your support. Please plan to attend the entire concert.)
  • ALL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THE ENTIRE CONCERT!! If you need to leave early, I need a parent excusal beforehand. All of the ensembles at Port Susan have been working very hard - just like you! You need to show them your support.
  • the Jazz Bands WILL NOT be performing at this concert. As we're just getting started, we're going to wait for our concert until a later date. I'll let you know when that is soon!
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. IF YOU ARE GOING TO MISS THE CONCERT, I need to know NOW. Not after you get back. Not showing up to a concert without a parent excusing you ahead of time will result in a zero for your concert grade.

Thanks everyone - and keep practicing!

10 rehearsals 'till the concert....20 days 'till Thanksgiving.


Jazz Band Schedule - week of 10/12

Thank you so much to all of you who have shown up faithfully every morning for jazz rehearsal! We only have a couple more days of this every day stuff and then we'll be settled into our two ensembles.

  • EVERYONE comes to rehearsal Tuesday and Wednesday. The final ensemble lists will be decided after rehearsal Wednesday morning and then posted for the school day. After the groups are decided, and from here on out:
    • JAZZ ENSEMBLE will be meeting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings
    • JAZZ LAB BAND will be meeting Tuesday and Thursday mornings
Keep plugging away! You who are learning new instruments are doing a fabulous job - I will be asking many of you to join the jazz ensemble in recognition of your hard work! Thank you so much, parents, for your patience as figure out these logistics. Your students are having a great time and so am I!

Recap - EVERYONE to rehearsal thru Wednesday, JAZZ LAB on Thursday, JAZZ ENSEMBLE on Friday.


Jazz Band - 7th/8th Only

Many of you have been chomping at the bit for jazz band to get started this year...finally, it's time!

Here's what you need to know:
  • Jazz band will meet BEFORE SCHOOL. Yes, that's right, early. Until I know for sure how many people are committed to our jazz program, I will need ALL STUDENTS to come every day of the first week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • FIRST REHEARSAL is Tuesday morning, October 6th at 6:30am. Please make a good effort to be on time. We will be discussing the further logistics of this program at our first meeting. The remaining rehearsals of the week will be Wednesday starting at 8:15am, and Thursday at 6:30am.
  • If we have enough interest, there will be two (2) bands - a Jazz Ensemble, for those students with a little more experience and that are willing to work hard on more advanced techniques, as well as moving faster through them onto more challenging music; and a Jazz Lab Band comprised of beginners to jazz looking to try something new, and perhaps needing to switch instruments to do so.
Since this is a new thing for Port Susan, we're going to be taking it slow and ironing out the wrinkles as we go along. Please be patient and supportive of each other - find carpools!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call, email or come see me students! (and parents too!)

37 days 'till Thanksgiving. :)


Getting going...

We're up and rolling! Everyone is getting started on pieces for the first concert and today, 9/21, marks the first day of instruments for the beginning band students! Very exciting yes, but please please PLEASE be patient as I work meticulously to ensure all students are taking care of their new instruments properly. As I said at the beginning of the year, the first sounds we make aren't necessarily the prettiest, but they improve quickly - don't be discouraged!

For those of you that this stuff is old hat for, I encourage you to not become slack and forget about all the hard work we accomplished last year. You still have to practice, and practice hard, to get a great sound - it's not going to happen by itself! To help those of you that have a black hole for Practice Records in your lives, I've uploaded a copy of the document onto the main page of this site. Feel free to download and print as needed. They are specific for the month we're in and I will be updating them as new ones come out.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns anytime!

First concert is October 29th - make sure you get your concert attire squared away NOW - DON'T WAIT!!

45 days 'til Thanksgiving...


It's a new year!

Welcome back everyone - and hello to all the new faces! I'm excited for all that this new year is going to bring. I hope you all had a fantastic summer full of sunshine and fun - I certainly did!

Please make sure you check the calendar for upcoming events - concerts, festivals, due dates for homework, etc. I will do my best to keep this updated to help us avoid any confusion (or missing practice records.)

A reminder for parents and students: all performances are MANDATORY. These are the final tests for band and choir. If you don't show up, it's a big ol' zero - please plan ahead to attend and put the dates on your calendars NOW. If you are going to be absent from a performance, I need to be notified at least one month in advance by written note or email from a parent/guardian, unless in the case of an emergency of course. As I tell the students, if you're throwing up, please don't come and share. :)

Another note concerning concerts: proper performance attire is part of your performance grade. Back to school sales are the perfect time to take care of this uniform! We wear nice black on the bottom, and white on the top - black socks/stockings and shoes. Gentlemen need to have long ties that come at least to the belt. Ladies, if you wear a skirt, it must come below your knees when sitting. Everyone - shirts need to be long-sleeved. Ladies, I will accept 3/4 length sleeves as long as they come below the elbow. These strictures help us to look as nice as we plan to sound, and avoid distracting our audience from why they're really there - to hear our beautiful music!

Thank you so much for joining, or continuing in the Port Susan Music Department - we wouldn't have as great a time if we were missing any of you! Keep visiting the site for more updates and postings on the going on as we begin again!

55 days 'til Thanksgiving...:)