At Colorado Honor Band, we have five concert band levels, and our students range from beginners to advanced high school musicians. For a detailed description of each band, please visit our Bands Page.
Student Placement & Progression
A student’s initial placement within our program is based purely upon his or her skill level (not age). Students at each level are given a specific curriculum through which they progress at their own pace. A student may “move up” to the next band level by completing all appropriate curriculum requirements. Students in our three highest bands audition each August for chair placement within their instrument sections.
- Level 1, Beginning Band
This band is divided into several small classes in different locations. Students receive weekly group instruction and one-on-one coaching. (Begins in September and is designed for students with no previous experience.)
- Level 2, Intermediate Band
This band is divided into two or three classes in different locations. Students receive weekly group instruction and one-on-one coaching. (One or more years of experience required.)
- Level 3, Advanced Band
Advanced Band meets every Monday night. Students receive small-group and one-on-one instruction during weekly master classes (divided by instrument) and then converge for a full-group rehearsal workshop.
- Level 4, Symphony Winds
Symphony Winds meets every Monday night. Students receive small-group and one-on-one instruction during weekly master classes (divided by instrument) and then converge for a full-group rehearsal workshop.
During weekly rehearsal workshops, students prepare concert music under the guidance of our experienced music educators. Excellence in performance is the goal at each band level. Students play a wide range of musical styles, master challenging articulation patterns, and develop their “musical ear” by learning play in tune and blending with the other instruments.
- Master Classes
Instrumental specialists teach three levels of master classes for the students in our three highest bands. Students receive one-on-one coaching and group instruction on a weekly basis. These master classes (aka “sectionals”) are divided into the following instrument sections: flutes, double reeds, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, french horns, low brass, and percussion.
Students develop a well-rounded musical foundation by working through our diverse curriculum, which includes music theory, scales, advanced instrumental techniques, articulation patterns, double and triple tonguing, breath control, trills, vibrato, music vocabulary, memorization, conducting, percussion rudiments (percussionists only), and more. Students in Symphonic Band and higher may also participate in our student teaching program in which they mentor our Beginning Band and Intermediate Band students on a weekly basis.
- Honors & High Honors Curriculum Levels
Aspiring students have the option to graduate with honors or high honors by demonstrating a high level of musicianship and by participating in our mentoring program.
- Student Teaching
Students in Symphonic Band and higher who have demonstrated high levels of musicianship and character may request to volunteer as student teachers, mentoring our Beginning Band and Intermediate Band students on a weekly basis.
- Board of Directors Participation
Two or three students each year are selected by an interview panel to participate as temporary members of the CHBA Board of Directors. These students act as liaisons between our students and our board and help plan student-related activities.
- Small Ensemble Performances
Students have the opportunity to form small ensembles of 2-6 students and audition to perform at our fall fundraiser.
The Pop-Rock Ensemble is designed to help students develop a wide range of musical styles as they learn the dynamics of playing in a small ensemble. All students in Advanced Band and higher are welcome! (Rhythm section players must audition.)
Our Saturday workshops are mini music “intensives” designed to enhance students’ musical knowledge in a fun, social environment. We host a Saturday workshop for each band in the fall, and for the first three band levels in the spring.
Summer camp is the most fun event of the year! Every June we hold this five-day, four-night music camp on the CSU Campus in Fort Collins. Students of all levels have a terrific time playing their instruments, enjoying activities at the recreation center, eating in a nearby cafeteria, sleeping in a college dorm, and making lifelong friends. The week culminates in a end-of-camp concert for friends and family.
Seasonal Public Performances
We host three indoor concerts during the school year and several outdoor concerts during the summer. All performances are free and open to the general public. Our winter and spring concerts are great opportunities for younger students to be inspired by the high-caliber performances of our upper-level bands. Most performances in our summer concert series are collaborative efforts with local adult community bands and perfect occasions for a picnic!
Yearly Chair Placement Auditions
Every year in late August, all students in our top three levels audition for chair placement in their respective bands. Each student plays for two faculty members, and the audition includes memorized scales, prepared excerpts, and sight-reading. We release the next season’s audition music in late May.