WRHS Music Department Program Guide
Courses and Faculty

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Music Department Courses and Faculty

Semester-long Courses

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First Semester

Second Semester

Music Beyond School Day Courses

Music Department Faculty

WRHS Music Program

The Wachusett Regional High School Music Department's curriculum focuses on the concept that any student expressing desires to enrich his/her education through music may do so. The curriculum's principal concentration is performance, supporting 12 ensembles – each performing at least four times per year. Eight other courses encompass diverse areas of music study to broaden the student experience. The emphasis in the music courses is on individual as well as ensemble musical development. All the courses provide preparation for continuing performance as well as a lifelong understanding and enjoyment of all areas of music.

Improve Your Singing  (Grades 9-12) 2½ credits  (Second semester)
This course will explore the voice using a variety of mediums of vocal music such as folk, light classics, jazz, Broadway, and easy rock. Breathing techniques, vowel and sound production, posture, projection, warm-up exercises, intonation and clarity of diction will be covered in classroom. Each song sung will be studied not only from singing aspects, but also from word meaning and motivational ideas behind the music. Students will be expected to practice their music at home and perform this music in class. Music will be sung mostly in English. Specific pronunciation guides will help with proper pronunciation of the text. Any students interested in choral singing, solo singing, jazz/rock singing or singing for one’s own enjoyment are urged to take this course.

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The History of Music Through Listening (Grades 9-12) 2½ credits  (First semester)
In this class, students learn about music from the following musical style periods: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. Students will not only develop a vocabulary of musical terms but will also develop listening skills allowing them to hear and discuss music intelligently with others. No prior musical training or knowledge necessary.

American Popular Music of the 20th Century (Grades 9-12) 2½  credits (Both Semesters)
A general and introductory course offering students an overview of the diverse popular musical styles of the late 19th and 20th century - from the “Blues” through current Rock and Roll.   No prior musical training or knowledge is required. The course will include a great deal of listening to analyze and compare the many styles. 

Introduction to Electronic Music (Grades 9-12) 2½  credits  (Both Semesters)
An introductory course offering students "hands on and project based experiences" in the use of recording equipment, microphones, mixers, midi keyboards and synthesizers. Students will complete a research project in the first term on a related topic. Students will also develop basic music reading and piano skills needed for second quarter projects. During the second quarter students will have the opportunity to create music in many styles and idioms using computers and different music software.  No prior musical training or knowledge is required – only a willingness to experiment and try new ideas.

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Beginning Piano (Grades 9-12) 2½  credits  (Both semesters)
This course is a ‘hands on’ class designed for students who have had little or no prior piano instruction and would like to learn how to play the piano. The course will include familiarization with the keyboard, music reading, basic theory, playing single note melodies as well as melodies accompanied by chords. By the end of the semester students should be able to play well-known songs. Student progress will be measured and graded by periodic performance exams.

Intermediate Piano (Grades 9-12) 2½ credits (Second semester) (Prerequisite: Minimum grade of 90 in Beginning Piano or piano proficiency exam)
This course is for students who want to further develop their skills from the beginning piano course or from prior piano experience. Students taking this course should already be proficient in reading basic music notation and playing songs utilizing hands together. In this course, students will continue to master the techniques of playing, learn many pieces of various styles, increase music theory and reading vocabulary, improve sight-reading skills, and perform both major and minor scales. Class participation and the ability to work independently is a must, as students will learn and perform individual pieces during class as well as group pieces with other students.

Beginning Guitar (Grades 9-12) 2½  credits  (Both semesters)
This course is a ‘hands on’ course designed for students who are interested in learning to play the guitar and have had no prior experience. The course will include familiarization with the guitar, music reading and basic theory, playing single note melodies as well as chords. By the end of the semester students should be able to play several popular songs. Student progress will be measured and graded by periodic performance exams. 

Music in Film (Grades 9-12) 2½ credits (Both semesters)
This course provides an overview of the world of film music integrated with reading musical notation and using musical composition software including, but not limited to, GarageBand and Noteflight. Many aspects of film music will be discussed, including history, famous composers, the process of film scoring, and how music and its relationship to film have changed throughout the last century. Instructional methods will include reading, lecture, group discussion, projects, and film viewing.

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Fundamentals of Musicianship (CPA, Grades 10-12) 5 credit
This course includes the study and development of practical skills in reading, writing, and sight-singing music, musical signs and terms, intervals, triads, major and minor scales, key signatures, meter, rhythm, and harmony. Students will develop an ability to identify musical pitches, both singularly and in combinations through melodic and harmonic dictation. It is strongly suggested that students electing this course also be enrolled in a performance course. This course is the prerequisite for Advanced Musicianship.

Exploring Fine Arts: Music (Lifeskills, Classroom Learning Assistants) 2½ credits (Second semester)
In this class, students will gain an introductory knowledge to the world of music through a variety of means. Students will learn about composers, musical notation, composition, instruments, performance, and musical forms through projects, demonstrations, lecture, games, and movement. A small number of music students will be accepted into the class as classroom learning assistants.* These students will assist with the general administration and occasional instruction of the class. Students with an interest in music education, special education, and music therapy are encouraged to apply through Naviance.

 

Advanced Musicianship  (H or AP, Grades 11-12) 5 credits (Prerequisite: Minimum grade of B in Fundamentals of Musicianship)
This course pursues the advanced study of theory, harmony, form and analysis, composition, and ear training. The course provides substantial preparation for a music theory course at the freshman level in college. It is strongly recommended that students electing this course be enrolled in a performance course. Students may earn college credit by taking the course at the AP level and scoring well on the AP Music Theory exam.

Wachusett String Orchestra (CPA, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Prerequisite: Audition required for placement)
The String Orchestra is for intermediate players. This ensemble studies and performs standard high school string orchestra repertoire. Rehearsals focus on technical development, tone production, bowing techniques, intonation, musical terminology and balancing the ensembles’ sound. Musical development is reinforced through individual instruction and daily practice. Private lessons are encouraged but not required. Participation in several performances each year is required. Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the Orchestra Director.

Wachusett Chamber Orchestra (H, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Prerequisite: Audition process for placement)
The Chamber Orchestra is the Honors string orchestra for advanced performers. This ensemble studies and performs selections from the difficult levels of the high school string orchestra repertoire. Students are required to take private lessons, and are encouraged to participate in the solo and ensemble concerts. Participation in several performances each year is required including quarterly concerts held at the high school, festival performances, and the "Madrigal Dinner." Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the Orchestra Director.

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Concert Bands GREEN AND WHITE (CPA, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Audition required for placement)
The Concert Bands, the “Green Concert Band” and the “White Concert Band”, are for intermediate players. These ensembles study and perform standard high school band repertoire. The ‘Green Band’ and ‘White Band’ have no association with the academic Green House or White House. The names of the groups merely reflect school colors. Therefore, a student could be in the Green House but be in the White Band and vice versa. Rehearsals focus on technical development, tone production, intonation, musical terminology and balancing the ensembles’ sound. Musical development is reinforced through individual instruction and daily practice. To ensure that both Concert Bands (Green and White) are equal in size, instrumentation, and performance ability, students who are already members of one of the concert bands must designate on their course registration form the band to which they belong. (Green or White). All incoming freshmen should select “Green Band” for registration purposes. Individual student placement for each group will be done after the placement auditions. Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the Director of Bands.

Wind Ensemble (H, Grades 9-12) 5 credit (Audition required for placement)
The Wind Ensemble is the Honors concert band for advanced performers and is comprised of a specifically balanced instrumentation The ensemble studies/performs selections from the difficult levels of high school band repertoire. Students are required to take private lessons, participate in solo and ensemble performances and engage in daily practice. Participation in several performances each year is required including quarterly concerts held at the high school, festival performances, the "Madrigal Dinner", and all varsity home football games. Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the Director of Bands.

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Concert Chorus (CPA, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Audition required for placement)The Wachusett Concert Chorus is open to students of beginning to intermediate vocal backgrounds.  Rehearsals focus on technical development, tone production, breath support, intonation, musical terminology, sight reading and balancing ensemble sounds.  Musical development is reinforced through individual instruction and daily practice. This chorus offers emphasis on performing standard choral music of many periods and styles. Participation in several performances each year is required, including quarterly concerts held at the high school.  Solo singing in class is required and participation in voice recitals is strongly encouraged. In addition to developing the concept and skills of artistic singing, this chorus can prepare students for entrance into the Wachusett Chorale, the Wachusett Singers and the Wachusett Chamber Choir. Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the choral instructor at the high school.

Wachusett Chorale  (CPA, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Audition required for placement)
The Wachusett Chorale is open to students of intermediate to early advanced vocal backgrounds.  Rehearsals focus on technical development, mature tone production, breath support, intonation, musical terminology, sight reading and balancing ensemble sounds.  Musical development is reinforced through individual instruction and daily practice.  This chorus offers emphasis on performing standard choral music of many periods and styles.  Participation in several performances each year is required, including quarterly concerts held at the high school.  Solo singing in class is required and participation in voice recitals is strongly encouraged.  This chorus can prepare students for entrance into the honors choral programs.  Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the choral instructor at the high school.

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Wachusett Chamber Choir  (H, Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Audition required for placement)
The Wachusett Chamber Choir is for the advanced choral singer. The choir performs the most difficult grade of choral music of the major periods of musical history, as well as popular and show literature. Students are required to take private lessons, participate in solo and ensemble performances, participate in a public recital, and engage in daily practice. Participation in several performances each year is required, including quarterly concerts held at the high school, festival performances, the "Madrigal dinner", all home varsity soccer and basketball games and special appearances given throughout the year.  Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the choral instructor.

Wachusett Singers  (H,  Grades 9-12) 5 credits (Audition required for placement)
The Wachusett Singers is for the advanced choral singer. The choir performs the most difficult grade of choral music of the major periods of musical history, as well as popular and show literature. Students are required to take private lessons, participate in solo and ensemble performances, participate in a public recital and engage in daily practice. Participation in several performances each year is required including quarterly concerts held at the high school, festival performances, the "Madrigal Dinner," all home varsity soccer and basketball games, and special appearances given throughout the year.  Students should arrange an audition prior to scheduling their courses (Auditions are traditionally held in late February/early March.) for placement in the appropriate orchestra. Audition materials are available in February from the choral instructor.

Private Instrument and Voice Lessons  (Grades 9-12)
The Music Department is pleased to offer private lessons on all instruments and voice through the Artist-In-Residence Program. Professional musicians teach half-hour lessons on a weekly basis in the WRHS Music area. Lessons may be arranged by contacting the Administrative Assistant for the Arts. Students may also choose to study privately with a professional musician who may not be associated with the Artist-In-Residence Program but is sanctioned by the WRHS Music faculty. (Please see the Music faculty for information concerning this matter.) Students may receive independent study credit for lessons after successfully completing one school year of weekly lessons monitored by the professional music teacher. Progress reports from the instructor will be required as proof of regular lesson attendance. There will also be an expectation of daily home practice of approximately one half hour per day. Specific expectations differentiating between the CPA and H levels may be obtained from the Music Department faculty.

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Honors Jazz Ensemble  (Independent Study Credit, Grades 9-12)* 2½  credits – Full year (Audition required for placement)
Prerequisite: Audition required as well as enrollment in one of the instrumental ensembles that rehearses during the school day.
The Honors Jazz Ensemble meets each Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. from mid-September through June. Membership is determined by audition. Attendance at every rehearsal is required. If a student misses three (3) rehearsals, he/she will be dropped from the ensemble. Students are expected to learn individual parts in preparation for rehearsals, take private lessons on the instrument and listen to recordings of a variety of jazz artists to further their understanding of jazz style and nuance.  Participation in several performances each year is required including quarterly concerts, festivals and community events. Auditions are held in September and audition materials are available from the band director at the high school.

Jazz Ensemble II  (Independent Study Credit, Grades 9-12)* 1¼  credits – Full year
Jazz Ensemble II meets each Wednesday evening from 7-8:30 from mid-September through June. Attendance at every rehearsal is required. If a student misses three (3) rehearsals they will be dropped from the ensemble and fail the class. Students are expected to learn individual parts in preparation for rehearsals. Participation in several performances each year is required, including quarterly concerts, festivals and community events. Private lessons are not required for members of Jazz II, but strongly recommended.

Honors Jazz Choir (Independent Study Credit, Grades 9-12)* 2½ credits – Full year (Audition required for placement.) Prerequisite: Audition required as well as enrollment in one of the performing groups that rehearses during the school day (band, choir, or orchestra).
The Honors Jazz Choir meets each Monday evening from 6-8:30 P.M. from mid-September through June. Attendance at every rehearsal is required. If a student misses three (3) rehearsals, he/she will be dropped from the ensemble. Students are expected to learn individual parts in preparation for rehearsals, to take private voice lessons and to listen to Jazz music as much as possible. Participation in several performances each year is required, including quarterly concerts held at the high school. Auditions are held in September and audition materials are available from the choral instructor at the high school in June of the prior school year.

*Please see the description of Independent Study courses in the full WRHS Educational Guide.

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