Upper School Music

Introduction:

Music at the FultonSchoolat St. Albansis a performance based curriculum incorporating strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and vocals from 4th grade through the senior year of high school. Instruction is focused on student’s exploration of musical skills in terms of tone, pitch, rhythm, musicality, and note recognition. Each class incorporates a broad understanding and appreciation of music including foundations in music theory and music history. Ensembles perform from a wide catalog including Art, Popular, and Folk genres. The aim is to provide the tools and resources for students to achieve the highest level of skill on his or her instrument while also making cross curricular connections through music. At the high school level additional choices of music electives are available for students to explore performing and studying music in a manner that suits his or her particular interests. 

7th & 8th Grade Instrumental Ensemble:

The 7th & 8th Grade Band continues instrumental music study at an advanced-intermediate level and builds upon skills covered in the beginning and intermediate years (4th through 6th Grade). Instrumentation includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion with other instruments included upon approval from the music director including strings and piano. The main objective is to enhance skills, especially tone and musicality, and build cooperation techniques as an ensemble. A playing assessment is required in the 3rd quarter. There are 2-3 required concerts throughout the year as well as extra opportunities at music festivals and school events for performance. 

High School Music Ensembles:

At the High School level student ensembles include Instrumental Music and Vocal Music. Particular sections such as Brass & Winds, Jazz Band, Strings, or Choir are created to accommodate a particular enrollment. Focus is given to advanced techniques and skills and individual expression. Students also perform collectively in a Full Ensemble each semester and present a wide variety of music styles and arrangements. There is a formal performance assessment each semester as well as 3-4 required concerts during the year with additional opportunities at music festivals and community events. 

Music Independent Study:

Students who wish to explore music as an elective outside of an organized ensemble may enroll in an Independent Study that focuses on a particular interest including Individual Technique, Music Theory, Music Technology, or Music Appreciation. Coursework and practice sessions are scheduled twice per week during the elective period and culminate in either a performance or final project each semester. 

Honors Music & Master Class:

Students desiring to elevate their music studies to the highest level and who are interested in pursuing music at the college or university level and in the greater community are encouraged to participate in a Master Class session each week that features guest clinicians, unique performances, individual focus, and extended rehearsal time.  Students who commit to regular Master Class attendance will be designated as Honors Music students.

 

WHY WE STUDY MUSIC

(The Who, What, Where, When, and How)

WHO: EVERY CHILD.  Like athletics, music is an active participatory experience.  Students are not just studying or talking about music, they are doing music.  The Suzuki philosophy of music education states that “every child can learn.”  The aim is not to have students become virtuoso musicians but rather that they understand that with determination and work they can accomplish their goals.  Music becomes an authentic example for him or her that anything is possible.  

WHAT:  A CORE SUBJECT.  Music can be broken down into aspects such as intonation, tone, rhythm, and dynamics.  However what students are actually doing by playing directly relates to all other core subjects.  When they are manipulating their various instruments to produce certain tones they are measuring and evaluating pitch.  It is the very action of physics and science and the produced sound of mathematics.  As they work to produce a clear tone, phrasing, and dynamics they are communicating and telling stories in the same manner as in literature and writing.  Finally, as they experience the wide variety of artistic, popular and folk music they are uniquely interacting with other cultures and bringing history alive.

WHERE:  ON STAGE.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand on the stage and perform.  Music can be both personal and social in its ability to provide students a chance to express themselves and make connections with other people.  The ultimate end of concerts and recitals presents students with the chance to publicly display and execute their efforts and prepares them for performance in any field.  

WHEN:  LEARNING IS ROUTINE.  Reaching the advanced level on a musical instrument is difficult.  The dedication it requires is demanding and continuous.  That is a fundamental lesson of music education. Success requires a daily time commitment whether it is in music or any field.  Not every task will be easy and everyone will inevitably meet a lofty challenge.  Without a routine of practice or process these challenges can become overwhelming.  However, understanding the routine or process allows students to cultivate a sense of productive learning rather than simply the desire of an end result.

HOW:  TOGETHER.  A musical ensemble is a team.  In order for success, every player must be focused on doing his or her part.  That is harmony, and it involves sacrifice and compromise.  Music will not be the only time that students will have to work with peers and produce results.  As a band, orchestra, or other ensemble they must rely on each other to make a great performance and naturally demonstrate leadership and support.