Band Information and FAQ for New Students

Established in 1997, the Hilliard Darby High School Band has earned a reputation for excellence in our community and throughout Ohio. The band provides a comprehensive music education to its students through a wide variety of courses and performing ensembles. In addition to their growth as musicians, band members develop an appreciation and understanding of commitment, pride, discipline, and dedication.

Incoming students join a great group of young people who are active in all areas of our school and successful academically. In fact, the average GPA of the Marching Band is one of the highest, if not the highest, of all student activities each year.

What are the benefits of music education?

Students who are engaged in making and performing music in school receive a number of important benefits, in addition to their musical skills and knowledge.

  • They become part of a group of highly successful and motivated students.
  • They become more engaged in their school, an important factor in overall academic success.
  • They develop strong friendships before their first “official” day of school.
  • Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between a music education and academic achievement.
  • Click here for a short video demonstrating some of the benefits of music to a child’s cognitive development.


What band courses are offered?

Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Concert Band

The core of our curriculum is the concert band program. Concert bands are grouped by ability, through audition. The concert bands will perform 4 or 5 concerts throughout the year, and have a strong history of outstanding ratings at OMEA Adjudicated Events. Membership in a concert band is required for membership in other band ensembles.

Marching Band

The marching band forms the basis of our curriculum during the first grading period. Marching band members perform at football games, band competitions and for school events. Our marching band has a history of excellence, including many awards and Superior ratings in OMEA local and State events.  Membership in Marching Band is a required part of our program (with the exception of Darby fall athletes with practice/performance conflicts, or other students with special arrangements made in advance – FAQs below).

Jazz Ensembles

We offer two jazz bands, Big Band and Jazz Ensemble, grouped through audition. These bands meet 3 times a week during Zero Period. Students will learn jazz styles, scales and techniques for improvisation.  The bands will perform at several events throughout the year. Membership in jazz band is elective. Students must be in a concert band to participate in Jazz Band, unless they play a non-band instrument (piano, guitar, bass).

Percussion Ensemble

Mr. James teaches an after-school percussion ensemble course for credit. Students will participate in concert-style percussion ensembles while gaining an in-depth understanding of percussion technique. See Mr. James for the schedule.

Pep Band

Pep Band performs for select boys and girls basketball games and is an elective activity, offering fun playing in a relaxed atmosphere.

Color Guard

We also offer experiences in Color Guard with the Marching Band in the fall and as a stand-alone activity during the winter. The Darby Color Guard is an award-winning activity that has been recognized across the state for its excellence.

How to Sign Up for Band

Incoming freshmen from Heritage Middle School should request a band class on their course registration. Please request the same name course as the band you are currently in at Heritage (Symphonic or Concert). Cadet Band students should request Concert Band. Placement auditions will be held in the spring for official class placement for next school year. Students may also sign-up for Jazz Ensemble [zero (0) period] and Percussion Ensemble.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is the practice schedule for marching band?

The rehearsal schedule during June and July is rather limited. There are 4 rehearsals before the 4th of July Parade, and one 3-evening marching camp in late July.

New marchers have two additional evening rehearsals in June to 4th-of-july-parade-2learn the basics. Students may be excused from a summer rehearsal due to family vacation. Percussionists and color guard members have some additional practice time, scheduled by their instructors.

There are two weeks of mandatory practices in August. Home Camp runs for 5 days during the first week of August. Students will rehearse each morning and alternating afternoons. Away Camp begins the following week, from Sunday evening to the following Friday. Camp is followed by 4 evening rehearsals during the week before school begins.

Will there be time for family vacations during the summer?
Yes. Students are required to be at summer rehearsals but may be excused from June and July rehearsals for family vacations. We also try to leave several weeks in June and July open, because the directors want to go on vacation, too!

A significant amount of learning occurs during our Home and Away camps and attendance at those is mandatory. Please contact Mr. Kozman if you think you may have a conflict with Home or Away Camp.

What is band camp like?
Band camp is held at the Heartland Conference Center, about 1 hour north of Hilliard.  The camp has excellent facilities, including air-conditioned dorms with game rooms and clean restrooms (!), cafeteria style food, a swimming pool, and an indoor practice room for music and activities.

Students practice music and marching in the mornings and evenings, with free time in the mid-afternoon and group activities in the evenings.  Band camp is hard work, but it is a ton of fun!  Students consistently rate band camp as one of the highlights of the school year.

Check out our camp at

What Is Band Camp Like -SD (480p) from Darby Band on Vimeo.

During School

What is the practice schedule for marching band?
Once school starts the band rehearses after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3p-5p. The band performs at all football games and 4-5 Saturdays throughout the fall.

How will the time commitment of marching band affect my academics?
Experience shows that students who are connected to the school through an activity such as marching band perform better academically than students who aren’t.  The collective GPA of the Marching Band during fall quarter is typically the highest of any school activity. Band students are a peer group that values academic success and learns to make effective use of their time.

What if I don’t know how to march or memorize music right now?
Remember that we are there to teach you the skills you need to be successful.  You will be working with an excellent adult staff and terrific student leaders, all of whom are there to help you learn.

Are there practice sheets in high school?

Will I have an opportunity to play a different instrument in high school?
Every year we look for students who are interested in switching to another instrument to help our band sound its best. We commonly look for students to play tenor and bari saxophone, French horn, baritone and tuba. Occasionally we look for students interested in playing bassoon. The school is able to provide these instruments to a limited number of students. Contact Mr. Kozman if you are interested in a switch.

Is Marching Band a requirement?
Yes, membership in the marching band is a course requirement for high school band, with the exception of fall athletes with practice conflicts, or students with other considerations who have made arrangements with the directors in advance.

I’m thinking about playing a sport in the fall.  How does that work with band
Unfortunately, students who play a fall sport may not have the opportunity to perform with the marching band, because of practice/performance conflicts.  They will still work with the other band students during school, playing our show music, stand tunes and technical exercises.  They will also participate in special clinics for each instrument during class. We transition to concert bands during October. We have a reduced after-school practice schedule that may allow students to participate in both marching band and a fall sport. Please contact Mr. Kozman if you are considering participating in both.

How Much Does Marching Band Cost?
There are costs associated with band. HCSD Pay-to-Play fees are currently $100 and are collected by the district. Band camp is the largest cost, currently $270 for individuals and $220 for siblings. There is an uniform fee of $50 which covers cleaning, repair and replacement. A $75 instrument fee is in place for students playing a school instrument which is used to help maintain the instruments. Freshmen will also need to buy several uniform parts (hats, shoes, gloves, summer uniform).

There are some fundraising opportunities available, but the Music Boosters are somewhat limited in this area due to recent IRS regulations.

Please contact Mr. Kozman with any questions or concerns regarding fees. The Music Boosters are happy to work with parents regarding fees- we do not want financial considerations to prevent a student from participating.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ. What should I do?
I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the opportunities available in the Darby Band. Please contact me through this website or at