The whole point of standard instrument departures or standard terminal arrivals is to make your life and a controller’s job easier when operating in and out of a busy airport. In theory, ATC plugs you into a standard departure and standard arrival and then leaves you alone. In theory, you follow the vertical and lateral path on the procedure so ATC does not have to say much of anything other than “Climb via the [SID’s name and number].” The same should hold true when ATC says, “Descend via the [STAR’s name and number].”
Oh, if it were only that simple. ATC often does intervene while you are on a SID or STAR. The following articles discuss how, why, and what to do when you are issued a modification.
For a complete hands-on course in copying SIDs and STARs as well as ATC modifications to those procedures, take a look at my online course Clearance Magic. The units on copying SIDs and STARs is part of a larger program on copying all types of ATC clearance.