|About Band at North Ridge
The Band Program
Sixth grade is a new beginning for your child. No longer is he/she an elementary student but a true "middle-schooler"
now. You will see a significant change in your child during these special years. It seems that when the 6th graders enter
they still seem very young. So innocent and full of life. This is the perfect time to get them involved in one of the best
programs North Ridge has to offer and learn the gift of music to last a lifetime.
The North Ridge Band is comprised of four different bands: Beginner, Concert, Symphonic, and Honors Band.
Beginner Band is for those who are starting from scratch. Our directors will be working closely with each child to ensure
that they are learning the proper technique of playing the instrument of their choice. In the beginning you will hear some
"interesting" sounds coming from your child's instrument. But by the Winter Concert they will be performing as a whole
concert band. You will be amazed by their progress! Major focus points are posture, breathing, reading rhythms
accurately, reading musical notation and developing listening skills.
Concert Band is made up of mostly 7th graders and is under the direction of James Smith and Jessica Shadman. This
class is for students who have completed Beginner Band or incoming students who have demonstrated that they are
ready for this class. This class picks up where Beginner Band left off, further exploring new rhythms, styles and
developing the young musician. Having completed at least a year of study, the students are expected to be able to tackle
some concepts on their own.
Symphonic Band is made up of 7th and 8th graders and is under the direction of Jessica Shadman. This class is for
students who have completed Concert Band or Beginning Band and have demonstrated that they are ready for this class.
This class picks up where Concert Band left off, further exploring new rhythms, styles and striving to attain the quality of a
"varsity" level ensemble. Students in this band are expected to study their music and instrument diligently to prepare for
Honors Band or High School Band in their near future.
Honors Band is made up of mostly 8th graders and is under the direction of James Smith. This is the most advanced
group at North Ridge Middle School. By this time, students have learned most of what they need to know to play in this
band, so instruction moves away from the basic elements of music to concentrate on the more abstract concepts of
musicianship. This is where we put all of the pieces of previously learned knowledge together to make great music.
Preparation for a successful experience in the Richland HS Band Program and beyond begins to be cultivated in this
environment. The Select Band performs for the student body, community and at local festivals and concert halls such as
the Murchison in Denton.
James Smith is a 1998 graduate of Texas Christian
University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He
served as a graduate teaching assistant in band at the
University of Kansas from 1999-2000 and earned his
Master's of Music Education degree from the University of
Texas at Arlington in 2010.
Mr. Smith is in his 12th year of teaching at North Ridge
Middle School in the Birdville ISD. His bands have
earned consistent “Sweepstakes” at UIL contest and special
recognition at other festivals including “Best in Class” and
“Grand Champion” awards. Mr. Smith was named 2009-
2010 "Teacher of the Year" at North Ridge MS and also
Birdville ISD's Middle School Teacher of the Year.
Other educator awards include BISD's "A Touch of Class
Award" and the Jack Harvey Fellow Award (2010-2011)
presented by Weatherford College to exemplary teachers.
Professional and academic affiliations include Texas
Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters
Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Delta Pi, Golden
Key National Honor Society and Kappa Kappa Psi.
Evan Blackard is the Percussion Coordinator for the Richland High
School Cluster in North Richland Hills, Texas. His duties in the cluster
include overseeing the percussion elements of the bands at North
Ridge Middle School, North Richland Middle School and Richland
High School. He has overseen the percussion element in two middle
school State Honor Band finalists, two high school State Honor Band
finalists, two UIL State Marching Contest finalists and two Bands of
America Grand National Finalists.
Mr. Blackard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the
University of North Texas and is an active clinician, adjudicator and
arranger in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition to the Richland
Cluster, Evan has taught with the University of North Texas, The
University of Texas at Arlington, and the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle
Corps. Mr. Blackard is an endorser of Innovative Percussion products.
Jessica Shadman is in her fifth year as the Assistant Band Director at
North Ridge Middle School. Her responsibilities at North Ridge include
conducting the Honors Band, co-teaching the Symphonic Band and
teaching all beginning woodwind classes.
Mrs. Shadman holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from
Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Prior to her position at North
Ridge, Mrs. Shadman was the Assistant Director of Bands at Armstrong
Middle School in Plano and Director of Bands at Crosstimbers
Intermediate School in Mansfield. Her bands have earned consistent
Division I ratings at UIL Concert and Sight Reading contest as well as
“Best In Class” awards at metroplex band festivals. Professional and
academic affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas
Band Masters Association and Mu Phi Epsilon.