Band & Orchestra are performance-based ensemble classes consisting of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. Though scheduled and structured somewhat differently*, both Band and String Orchestra are yearlong courses that focus on the development of individual and ensemble musicianship. Note reading, rehearsal/practice techniques, tone development, and technical facility will be established through rehearsals and concert performances. A solid musical foundation will be accomplished through the study of quality grade-level literature.
 
Students are expected to commit to consistent, individual practice of at least 120 Minutes per week. Establishing good practice habits early in instrumental music reinforces technique learned in the weekly lesson and establishes a foundation upon which new techniques can be more easily learned. The lack of a consistent practice regimen can result in lack of progress and could cause the student to feel unsuccessful.
 

*Middle School Band is taught by grade level (6,7,8) during the school day on Tuesday and Thursday as part of the students' "specialist" schedule. String Orchestra meets before school (zero hour), 8:30-9:25 Tuesday and Thursday. The students are assembled in various ensemble configurations for performances throughout the year. 

Curriculum, Progress, & Grading

Students are assessed by a variety of means, in a variety of contexts. The primary emphasis of the courses are developing a solid technical and aesthetic foundation so students learn the skills necessary to perform, create and respond to music in a sensitive and reflexive manner.  Repertoire is chosen from a wide variety of musical styles with a strong emphasis on the "classics" and American music.

Four quarterly units will be studied, as defined by MPS Focused Instruction. Units covered will happen concurrently and chronologically. The curriculum is cumulative and cyclical in nature, spiraling into deeper focus as more experience is gained. To put it another way, as knowledge and ability are gained we continue adding layers to our musical “cake” emphasizing different aspects for assessment each quarter. Units include: Foundation for Performance, Music Theory, Create-Perform-Respond, and Becoming an Artist.