Williamsville Central School District

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HS Music Course Descriptions

Music In Our Lives

This course is designed to meet the New York State Regents Requirement for one unit of art/music credit for those students who do not participate in a major performing ensemble. Students will develop skills in critical listening and elements of music theory via electronic keyboards. A rich history of rock music is a primary focus, along with discussion and analysis of current pop music and industry trends. No prior experience in music is necessary for enrollment in this course.

Music In Our Lives II

Using foundations covered in Music in Our Lives, this course will focus on listening to and evaluating music from popular culture. An in depth study of popular music releases, favorite artists, and music industry developments are the primary facets of this course. In addition, rock history is explored from the 1960s – onward.
PREREQUISITE: Music In Our Lives

Music Theory

The Music Theory course is designed to enhance music skills and basic music fundamentals. The essential aspects of melody, harmony, rhythm, and form are studied. Throughout the course of the year students will study basic notation, scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, cadences, non-chord tones, form, part-writing and analysis of a score. Aural dictation and ear training are also an integral part of the course and will be taught throughout the year. Individual creativity is nurtured through both rhythmic and melodic composition. This course is highly recommended for students in a musical ensemble, and is a prerequisite for AP Music Theory.
PREREQUISITE: Although there is no prerequisite, it is suggested that a student have some musical knowledge and/or participate in an ensemble.

AP Music Theory

The goal of this course is to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand and describe the basic materials and processes of music that is heard or presented in a score. Students will be required to read, notate, perform and compose music. Musical skills will be developed through listening exercises, sight-singing examples, written exercises, analysis, and an exposure to a variety of musical styles. Students will take the Advanced Placement examination in May. This is a College level course and should be treated as such.
PREREQUISITE: Music Theory

Non-Auditioned Band (each high school has unique names for each band)

The instructional program focuses on improving musicianship through developing students’ senses of tonality, meter, and technique, and through the analysis of musical structure and style. Students will have opportunities to compose, arrange, conduct and take part in seminars with critiques by performers, composers, arrangers, and teachers.  Emphasis will be placed on individual growth, broad in scope and content that meets the diversified needs of today’s instrumental music student. Diligent practice is expected and private lessons are encouraged. Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class. Each student will be eligible for and have the opportunity to audition and perform in festivals sponsored by Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education. This includes opportunities for scholarships where applicable.
PREREQUISITE: Ability and desire to develop musicianship, read music and perform at an appropriate level on a wind, brass, or percussion instrument. Open to students in grades 9-12.

Auditioned Band (each high school has unique names for each band)

This is an advanced level ensemble that starts the year with challenging music and continues throughout the year striving for musical excellence.  The instructional program focuses on improving musicianship through developing students’ senses of tonality, meter, and technique, and through the analysis of musical structure and style. Students will have opportunities to compose, arrange, conduct and take part in seminars with critiques by performers, composers, arrangers, and teachers. Emphasis will be placed on individual growth, broad in scope and content that meets the diversified needs of today’s instrumental music student. Members are strongly advised to study privately. Those who do are considered first for this ensemble. Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class. Each student will be eligible for and have the opportunity to audition and perform in festivals sponsored by Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education. This includes opportunities for scholarships where applicable.
PREREQUISITE: Open to students in grades 9-12 who play a wind, brass, or percussion instrument. Audition is required.

Non-Auditioned Chorus (each high school has unique names for each chorus)

This is a non-auditioned ensemble which meets daily. It is designed to encourage all students who have an interest in developing their skills in group singing. It will help develop the student’s knowledge of choral literature, music theory concepts, sight singing, and to enrich their love of music. Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class. Repertoire is selected to provide sequential, systematic concepts and performance skills associated with varying musical content and style. Each student who participates in this organization will be eligible for and have the opportunity to audition and perform in festivals sponsored by Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education.

Auditioned Chorus (each high school has unique names for each chorus)

This is an auditioned ensemble which meets daily and offers students a variety of enriched musical opportunities. Students will enhance their knowledge of choral literature, music theory concepts, and will achieve a higher degree of perfection in the  performance and understanding of the choral repertoire. Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class. Repertoire is selected to provide sequential, systematic concepts and performance skills associated with varying musical content and style. Each student in this ensemble will have the opportunity to audition for and participate in festivals sponsored by the Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music  Association, and the National Association for Music Education. This includes opportunities for scholarships where applicable.

Note: High school choruses meet every day with the exception of certain men’s and women’s ensembles which meet every other day.

Non-Auditioned Orchestra (each high school has unique names for each orchestra)

The non-auditioned orchestra is comprised of violin, viola, cello, string bass, wind, brass, and percussion players grades 9-12. The instructional program includes the development of skills in the following areas: tone production, phrasing, bow control, rhythmic and aural acuity, and the advancement of technical skills such as shifting, vibrato, and correct posture. The orchestra also offers the student the opportunity to gain better understanding and appreciation for orchestral literature, the self-discipline to practice at home and the ability to be creative through music.  The program will culminate in public performances. Students will also have the opportunity to compose, arrange, conduct and take part in seminars by performers, composers, arrangers and teachers. Emphasis will be placed on individual growth that meets the needs of today’s instrumental music student.  Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class, and there are opportunities to play in small chamber groups. Each student who participates in this organization will be eligible for and have the opportunity to audition and perform in festivals sponsored by the Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education. This includes opportunities for scholarships where available.
PREREQUISITE: The ability to read music and perform satisfactorily on a string instrument.

Auditioned Orchestra (each high school has unique names for each orchestra)

The auditioned orchestra is comprised of violin, viola, cello, string bass, wind, brass and percussion players grades 9-12 by audition. The instructional program will culminate in the public performances of literature demonstrating skill development at an advanced level. Students will have the opportunities to compose, arrange, conduct and take part in seminars with critiques by performers, composers, arrangers and teachers. Emphasis will be placed on individual growth, broad in scope and content that meets the diversified needs of today’s instrumental music student.  Weekly group lessons are a part of the curriculum for this class, and there are opportunities to play in small chamber groups. Each student who participates in this organization will be eligible for and have the opportunity to audition and perform in festivals sponsored by the Erie County Music Educators Association, the New York State School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education. This includes opportunities for scholarships where available.
PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level, open to students grades 9-12 who play a string, wind, brass and percussion instrument. Audition is required.

Introductory Jazz Improvisation

This course focuses on the study of jazz music. In this course, students will develop repertoire of jazz tunes, blues, Latin, etc. Through ear training, transcription, historical study, jazz theory, development of executive skills (technical facility), and self-analysis, students develop the tools to become creative problem solvers and jazz artists. Performance opportunities are afforded to all students. The course meets every other day and students receive ½ credit.

Intermediate/Advanced Jazz Improvisation

This is the next course sequentially in the Jazz Improvisation curriculum. The content presented is similar to the introductory course; however, the concepts are studied in greater depth. Students may take this course each year upon recommendation. The course meets every other day and students receive ½ credit.
PREREQUISITE: Introductory Jazz Improvisation

Jazz Ensemble
                                                                          
The jazz ensemble performs at all major concerts and many school functions. Students must have experience with jazz and entrance to the ensemble is by audition. Repertoire includes works by major big band composers and student composers, and explores all styles of jazz. A major guest artist is featured with the ensemble each year.
PREREQUISITE:  Audition                                                                     

Jazz Band
                                 
This group meets weekly before the regular school day begins. Students of all levels are welcome as long as they have a strong desire to learn and experience jazz music. The band plays at all major concerts each year, and major styles and composers of jazz are studied.