Instrumental Music

Middle School

Beginning Strings

Beginning Strings introduces students to the violin, viola, cello, or double bass. This class is for students who have no prior experience playing a stringed instrument. Students are provided with a school instrument and daily group instruction. By the end of the year, students will read music written in a variety of styles. Intensive study of music literature, technique, ear training, and music theory make possible a lifelong involvement and appreciation for the discipline of instrumental music. After-school rehearsals, usually one each in the winter and spring, prepare students for the biannual concerts in which they perform.

Middle School Concert Strings

Middle School Concert Strings provides an opportunity for students with previous playing experience on a stringed instrument to further develop technical and musicianship skills. Students concentrate on more advanced technique, including shifting, tuning instruments, vibrato, ensemble playing, altered fingerings, bowing styles, and expressive playing. Technique is taught through carefully sequenced orchestral repertoire. Students learn about different eras and styles of music. Professional conduct and careful listening are stressed to prepare students for future participation in more advanced orchestras. After-school rehearsals, usually one each in the winter and spring, prepare students for the biannual concerts in which they perform. Prerequisite: Audition.

Middle School Symphony

Middle School Symphony is the most advanced symphonic music ensemble on the middle school campus. In this course, students with advanced playing experience rehearse and perform music of various styles and periods. Auditions for this ensemble are held in the spring. Students are exposed to string, wind, and symphonic literature throughout the course, and the classwork provides appropriate challenges and technical difficulties to all members. This orchestra performs in three concerts and participates in a nationally recognized competition or festival. Extra rehearsals outside the classroom, while minimal, are required. Prerequisite: Audition.

Beginning Band

Beginning Band provides an opportunity for students with no prior experience to learn how to play a woodwind or brass instrument, including the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, or tuba. Students learn to care for their instruments. They also learn the fundamentals of music theory and how to read music. Students enrolled in this class are provided with a school instrument, texts for the class, and daily group instruction. By the end of the year, students become proficient readers of music and acquire the proper technique to ensure a lifelong appreciation of and involvement in the discipline of instrumental music. After-school rehearsals, usually one each in the winter and spring, prepare students for the biannual concerts in which they perform.

Concert Band

Concert Band provides an opportunity for students with between one and four years of playing experience on a wind, brass, or percussion instrument to further develop technical and musicianship skills. Auditions for this ensemble are held in the spring, and placement is at the discretion of the conductor. Students learn how to play an instrument in a large ensemble, how to follow a conductor, and what it means to be part of a musical team. Students are exposed to a variety of musical styles, ranging from classical to popular. The repertoire is sequenced so that concepts learned in class are continually reinforced, and students are engaged and challenged. After-school rehearsals, usually one each in the winter and spring, prepare students for the biannual concerts in which they perform. Prerequisite: Audition.

Symphonic Band

Symphonic Band is open to advanced wind, brass, and percussion players whose skill level is beyond the intermediate stages of learning how to play an instrument. Students must have at least two years of playing experience as a member of a large ensemble. Auditions for this ensemble are held in the spring, and placement is at the discretion of the conductor. There is an emphasis on learning how to adjust one's intonation in relationship to others, as well as on interpreting the music beyond the notes printed on the page. Musical expression, phrasing, tone quality, challenging technical passages, and the opportunity to become familiar with classic symphonic-band repertoire are all elements covered in this performing ensemble. After-school rehearsals, usually one each in the winter and spring, prepare students for the biannual concerts in which they perform. Prerequisite: Audition.

Middle School Jazz Band

This course provides an opportunity for students to rehearse and perform jazz and blues in big band and jazz combo settings. The instrumentation for this class includes piano, guitar, bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. The coursework also covers some music theory and basic improvisation skills. Because class time is spent on ensemble work, a strong commitment to individual practice outside of class is essential for all students. There are approximately four after-school rehearsals each semester. Prerequisite: Audition.

Rhythm Section Workshop

This class teaches guitarists, electric bassists, and drummers the fundamental techniques of ensemble rehearsal. Curriculum topics include basic instrument maintenance, intonation, rehearsal techniques, music theory, and playing from written arrangements, as well as learning music by listening to recordings. Prerequisite: Audition.

IMG_9851
IMG_9740
IMG_9945
IMG_9798
IMG_9942

Upper School

Symphony

Symphony is an advanced class for string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players with their own instruments (exceptions are granted for cello, bass, low brass, and percussion). The repertoire is drawn from a wide range of styles and periods, and original (i.e., nonsimplified) editions are used. Symphony students perform in three concerts during the school year. A few after-school rehearsals are added the week before concerts. Because of ensemble balance requirements, students who audition for Symphony must be prepared to honor the commitment that participation in this program entails. Prerequisite: Audition.

Camerata Strings

This is a performance-oriented course for string players with their own instruments and at least one year of instrumental training. Most members of the group will have had at least three years of ensemble experience. Basic performance skills include tone production, intonation, style, technique, and ensemble balance. The ensemble works frequently in sectional rehearsals, but students also receive individual coaching. A few after-school rehearsals in preparation for concerts, of which there are usually two, are required. Prerequisite: A middle school instrumental music performance ensemble course taken in ninth grade.

Wind Ensemble

This course is for wind and brass players with their own instruments and at least one year of instrumental training. Most members of the group will have had at least three years of ensemble experience. Basic performance skills include tone production, intonation, style, technique, and ensemble balance. The ensemble works frequently in sectional rehearsals, but students also receive individual coaching. A few after-school rehearsals in preparation for concerts, of which there are usually two, are required. Prerequisite: A middle school instrumental music performance ensemble course taken in ninth grade.

Jazz Band

This course is for experienced to advanced players. Each spring, students may audition for this class—a band molded from a traditional big-band set-up (five trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, piano, bass, drums, and guitar). Students who feel qualified on nontraditional instruments (e.g., strings, mallets, Latin percussion, etc.) may also audition for placement consideration. The course of study for the ensemble includes advanced high school and college repertoire, student-written pieces, and commissions from professional jazz writers. In-depth areas of jazz and "commercial music" performance skills (tone quality, intonation, sectional balance, improvisational techniques, and style) are the major focus of the coursework. The class studies big-band charts and classic recordings representing various historical periods and styles of jazz. Additional after-school rehearsals may be scheduled for concerts, recording sessions, and extra performances. The Harvard-Westlake Jazz Explorers, the school's top jazz combo, is selected from members of the Jazz Band. Additional small combos may be formed at the instructor's discretion. Prerequisite: Audition.

Studio Jazz Band

Designed for the intermediate-to-advanced jazz player, this is a performance-oriented class for brass, woodwind, keyboard, and rhythm-section players who desire an intensive experience studying jazz music. Students who wish to eventually place into Jazz Band should audition for this course. Classwork focuses upon performance skills, ensemble techniques, reading, improvisation, and specific jazz techniques and styles. The materials are chosen from standard big-band arrangements and combo charts. The class provides a unique opportunity for individuals to develop their overall playing skills while working in alternating settings of a twenty-two piece jazz band and jazz combos. Advanced members of this class may audition for the smaller combos that rehearse during class time. Selection for placement in these smaller groups can be competitive. Studio Jazz Band and its small combos perform in several concerts during the school year. Additional after-school rehearsals are scheduled before concerts and as needed. Prerequisite: Audition.

Jazz Ensemble

Designed for the less-experienced jazz player, this is a performance-oriented class for brass, woodwind, keyboard, and rhythm-section players who have had at least two years of instrumental training. Students who wish to eventually place into Studio Jazz Band or Jazz Band should audition for this course. Classwork focuses upon performance skills, ensemble techniques, reading, improvisation, and specific jazz techniques and styles. The materials are chosen from standard jazz repertoire and classic big band arrangements. The class provides an opportunity for students to develop their overall playing skills while working in a small jazz band. Advanced members of this class may audition for smaller combos that rehearse during class time. Jazz Ensemble performs in several concerts during the school year and additional after-school rehearsals are scheduled as needed. Prerequisite: A middle school instrumental music performance ensemble course taken in ninth grade.

Jazz Rhythm Section

This class is for students who play rhythm-section instruments (piano, bass, drums, or guitar). It is a beginning-level course on the fundamentals of good rhythm-section playing. Issues such as timekeeping, functional musical literacy, transcription, and modern performance practices are emphasized. Much of the class is dedicated to learning scales, jazz harmony, and improvisational techniques. Enrollment may be limited.

_DSF0810
_DSF0945
DX1_9206