Music

We find great satisfaction in listening to our students discover the joy of music through learning and rehearsing and performing live. Coursework focuses on personal development, proper technique and ensemble training. Students explore cultural and historical context within selected concert repertoire ranging from traditional classical, movie, video game, world, and popular music styles. Students develop the fundamentals of technique, music theory, performance, technology, composition, arranging, and critical listening.

Some other musical high notes of the program: Students enjoy regional, statewide and national experiences beyond the classroom. ASA’s extensive partnership network gives us special access to master classes, lectures, and presentations from local, national, and international guest artists. Students explore creative design through notation, audio, and beat making software. In addition to becoming great performers, ASA students learn about varying musical styles, genres, and philosophies to influence and inform their own creative projects.

Middle School Arts sequenceHigh School Music sequence

MIDDLE SCHOOL

BAND FOUNDATIONS 1

The students learn how to hold, take care of, and play the instruments, follow a conductor, maintain a steady practice routine, and  play in a large group with mixed instruments. Students will learn to play scales and musical examples up to 4 flats and 4 sharps, rhythms from whole notes to sixteenth notes, and simple and compound meters. Students in Foundations 1 and 2 routinely collaborate.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 5th/6th

BAND FOUNDATIONS 2 

The students learn how to hold, take care of, and play the instruments, follow a conductor, maintain a steady practice routine, and  play in a large group with mixed instruments. Students will learn to play scales and musical examples up to 4 flats and 4 sharps, rhythms from whole notes to sixteenth notes, and simple and compound meters. Students in Foundations 1 and 2 routinely collaborate.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 7th/8th 

BAND FOUNDATIONS 3

Each student will learn to play all major scales, expand their knowledge of compound meters and rhythms, and begin executing more challenging ensemble pieces. Students in Foundations 3 and 4 routinely collaborate.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th/6th

BAND FOUNDATIONS 4

Each student will learn to play all major scales, expand their knowledge of compound meters and rhythms, and begin executing more challenging large and small ensemble pieces. Students in Foundations 3 and 4 routinely collaborate. Students in Foundations 4 also have the opportunity to work side-by-side with students in the high school program.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 7th/8th 

HIGH SCHOOL

BAND FOUNDATIONS

Students will develop basic musicianship skills through the practice and performance of concert works & exercises in a large ensemble setting with an emphasis on acquiring the fundamentals of posture, instrument technique and knowledge, note-reading skills, listening skills, and positive individual and group work ethic techniques.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 9th-12th

CONCERT BAND

Emphasis is placed on reinforcing the fundamentals of posture, instrument technique and knowledge, note-reading skills, listening skills, and positive individual and group work ethic techniques.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

SYMPHONIC WINDS

The curriculum of this course involves more complex works of music and technically challenging repertoire. In these classes, students will go from simply working their instruments correctly to approaching them like young artists. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

CHAMBER WINDS

In this class, we explore deeper listening, precision of execution, phrasing, balance, blend, and interpretive style. Chamber Winds focuses on performing advanced high school and college level works of significant length and artistic depth. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

BAND TEACHING ASSISTANT

This course is designed for student mentors to share their knowledge and skill, as well as learning to direct small and large ensembles. Teaching Assistants will work with teachers to provide the optimal learning environment for the students. In addition to their daily tasks, they cultivate leadership skills and promote a positive culture and community within string classes. Teaching assistants receive feedback through rehearsal process, complete lesson plans and self-reflections, and conduct student ensemble performances throughout the school year.

Prerequisites: Participation in Chamber Winds, application, and letters of recommendation

Grades: 12th

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

This is a chamber jazz ensemble, a big band with the opportunity for unconventional instrumentation. In addition to traditional Jazz instruments, this course allows ‘non-traditional’ strings, orchestral woodwinds, and brass to participate. The curriculum focuses on skill building in the broader field of Jazz performance. Students will study jazz style, theory, improvisation, and listening skills. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 7th-12th

PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE

An advanced level performing ensemble focusing on mastery of traditional, non-traditional, and world percussion techniques through the study of contemporary percussion ensemble literature.

Prerequisites: Symphonic or Chamber Winds with Instructor approval. 

Grades: 9th-12th grades.

MIDDLE SCHOOL 

DOLCE

This choir class offers the building blocks for proper vocal technique, music reading skills, basic music theory, and building skills needed  to work  within an ensemble. Students will be assessed individually and corporately through class participation, tests and quizzes, performances, and one-on-one evaluation. 

Prerequisites: None

Grades: 5th-8th

CANTABILE

A continuation of  Dolce Choir with a further application of proper singing techniques. Students learn vowel production, consonant production, 2 and 3 part singing, and further application of music markings. These objectives are used to apply to the various genres of music performed. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

VOCES

This choir includes not only treble voices, but changed and changing voices as well as students begin working on soprano, alto, tenor, and bass repertoire. Students in Voces have usually had at least some experience in a choral classroom before. In addition to musical building blocks taught in the previous choirs, there will be quite a bit of emphasis on the historical context of the music sung, as well as increased music theory and sight reading practice. Students with changing voices will be placed in this group as well as others ready for the challenge of a mixed chorus setting.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

CANTUS

The development of musicianship, overall confidence, breath support combined with basic components of healthy singing, are priority benchmarks of this course. This performance ensemble is a treble ensemble made up of students who have been recommended for this course. A high expectation of rehearsal etiquette, sight reading, and aural skills are required to participate in Cantus.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

HIGH SCHOOL 

ASA CHORAL UNION

This performance ensemble takes vocal technique a step further as students learn 3 and 4-part music in a mixed (SAB and SATB) or treble (SA and SSA) voice setting. This is a large ensemble which, as the year progresses, may meld into three smaller ensembles, depending upon interest and ability. Emphasis on listening, healthy vocal technique, sight-reading, and theory will be emphasized along with good rehearsal etiquette. Music in a variety of genres will be introduced. 

Prerequisites: None

Grades: 9th-12th

CONCERT CHOIR

Prerequisites are a vocal technique, which demonstrates breath control and good intonation, sight-reading ability and concentration in rehearsal. Goals at this level are increased vocal technique including the ability to control longer phrases, improved intonation, sight-reading complex melodies, and understanding of music theory as it applies to the pieces sung. . The repertoire is expanded to include works by major composers. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

CHAMBER SINGERS

Singers are assigned only by audition and the recommendation of both artistic and academic staff. Prerequisites include a vocal technique which is able to adjust to different styles of singing, strong sight reading skills, accurate intonation, and vocal flexibility.  A high degree of musicianship is expected in this choir.  Repertoire consists of a wide variety of choral literature from the last five centuries. Members are expected to participate in outside performances and represent the school in a professional manner. 

CHOIR TEACHING ASSISTANT

Select students will serve as student facilitators in the classroom assisting in project based learning, assisting peers in skill development and acquisition, and providing support as needed to the teacher. Students will work in small groups or lead specific ensembles. Students will also have specific written work to complete as part of the course that will include practice lesson planning, self-reflection, and research based content that pertains to the coursework of the class. Prerequisites: Participation in Chamber Singers, application, and letters of recommendation

Grades: 11th/12th

MIDDLE SCHOOL 

GUITAR FOUNDATIONS 1

Guitar Foundations 1 offers Middle School students the opportunity to study beginning classical guitar (fingerstyle) technique, 1st position note reading skills, in addition to introductory solo and ensemble skills.  Students are required to have a nylon-string, classical guitar for classroom and home use.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 5th-8th

GUITAR FOUNDATIONS 2

Guitar Foundations 2 offers Middle School students a continuation of their classical guitar development by performing in-depth study of important didactic works of the early 19th century, performing 1st position, 1 to 2 octave, Major and Melodic Minor scales with cadences in all keys, slurs (hammer-ons and pull-offs), in addition to continued solo and ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

GUITAR FOUNDATIONS 3

Guitar Foundations 3 offers Middle School students a continuation of their classical guitar development by performing in-depth study of important didactic works of the late 19th century and early 20th century by Francisco Tarrega and Emilio Pujol, multi-positional 2-3 octave Major and Melodic Minor scales with cadences in all keys, harmonics, complex slurs, in addition to continued solo and ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

GUITAR FOUNDATIONS 4

Guitar Foundations 4 offers Middle School students a continuation of their classical guitar development by performing an, annually alternating, in-depth study of important didactic works from the 16th-18th centuries and the late 20th century to the present day.  Students will spend one year in Guitar Foundations 4 studying arrangements and transcriptions of vihuela de mano and baroque guitar music.  Students will then spend a second year in Guitar Foundations 4 studying modern guitar works by Leo Brouwer and Reginald Smith Brindle.  During both years of study students will also continue their technical development with 2-3 octave multi-positional Major and Melodic Minor Scales, ornamentation, and technical studies by Abel Carlevaro.  Additionally, students will continue ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

HIGH SCHOOL 

INTRODUCTION TO GUITAR

Introduction to guitar offers High School students the opportunity to study beginning classical guitar (fingerstyle) technique, 1st position note reading skills, in addition to introductory solo and ensemble skills.  Students are required to have a nylon-string, classical guitar for classroom and home use.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 9th-12th

CLASSIC GUITAR

Classic Guitar offers High School students a continuation of their classical guitar development by performing in-depth study of important didactic works of the early 19th century, performing 1st position, 1 to 2 octave, Major and Melodic Minor scales with cadences in all keys, slurs (hammer-ons and pull-offs), in addition to continued solo and ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

ROMANTIC GUITAR

Romantic Guitar offers High School students a continuation of their classical guitar development by performing in-depth study of important didactic works of the late 19th century and early 20th century by Francisco Tarrega and Emilio Pujol, multi-positional 2-3 octave Major and Melodic Minor scales with cadences in all keys, harmonics, complex slurs, in addition to continued solo and ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th 

MODERN GUITAR

Modern Guitar offers High School students a two year program that continues their classical guitar development by performing analternating in-depth study of important didactic works from the 16th-18th centuries and the late 20th century to the present day.  Students will spend one year in Guitar Foundations 4 studying arrangements and transcriptions of vihuela de mano and baroque guitar music.  Students will then spend a second year in Guitar Foundations 4 studying modern guitar works by Leo Brouwer and Reginald Smith Brindle.  During both years of study students will also continue their technical development with 2-3 octave multi-positional Major and Melodic Minor Scales, ornamentation, and technical studies by Abel Carlevaro.  Additionally, students will continue ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

WORLD GUITAR

World Guitar is the highest-level class that the Guitar Department offers.  High School students in this class have studied classical guitar music from all of the major periods and are prepared to continue their development by dedicating each year to the study of either a specific composer, a specific period of time, or a guitar style from a specific region or country of the world.  Additionally, students will continue ensemble development.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

This is a chamber jazz ensemble, a big band with the opportunity for unconventional instrumentation. In addition to traditional Jazz instruments, this course allows ‘non-traditional’ strings, orchestral woodwinds, and brass to participate. The curriculum focuses on skill building in the broader field of Jazz performance. Students will study jazz style, theory, improvisation, and listening skills. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 7th-12th 

ELECTRIC GUITAR

Students will work to acquire basic and intermediate levels of playing on the electric guitar through a variety of styles such as early blues, early rock, country-blues, classic rock, modern rock, and jazz.  Proper technique, positioning, and performance practice will be emphasized.  Students in this class will learn about the history and explore stylistic musical examples and repertoire for the guitar ranging from the 20th to the 21st century.  There will be a strong emphasis on music theory, which will apply to what students are playing.  Students will learn picking and comping techniques unique to electric guitar styles.  Students will also participate in an electric guitar ensemble, collaborate with other guitar classes, perform in large ensembles, and smaller ensembles such as duets, trios, and quartet settings, along with collaboration with other departments.

Prerequisites: None; additional fee required (Pay-to-Play)

Grades: 9th-12th

MIDDLE SCHOOL

PIANO FOUNDATIONS 1

MS Piano Foundations I is a group instruction course designed for students with little or no experience. Students will learn hand position, correct posture, and basic foundational skills in playing. Students will gain an understanding of music notation, theory, and technique. Students will work individually and in small groups to learn, create, and perform for one another.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 5th-8th

PIANO FOUNDATIONS 2

MS Piano Foundations II is a group instruction course designed for students with one or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in MS Foundations I. In addition to basic foundational skills, students will expand their use of the keyboard, develop coordination between the hands, and begin to harmonize using a lead sheet.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

PIANO FOUNDATIONS 3

MS Piano Foundations III is a group instruction course designed for students with two or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in MS Foundations II. Students will develop independence as they listen to, analyze, and create their own music. Students will expand their understanding of harmony and use it in a variety of musical styles.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

PIANO FOUNDATIONS 4

MS Piano Foundations IV is a group instruction course designed for students with two or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in MS Foundations III. Students will broaden the technical, theoretical, and musical skills learned previously.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

HIGH SCHOOL

PIANO ARTISTRY 1

HS Piano Artistry I is a group instruction course designed for high school students with little or no experience. Students will learn hand position and posture as well as foundational skills in playing. Focus includes an understanding of music notation, theory, and technique. Students will work individually and in small groups to learn, create, and perform for one another.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 9th-12th

PIANO ARTISTRY 2

HS Piano Artistry II is a group instruction course designed for high school students with one or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in HS Piano Artistry I. Students will expand their use of the keyboard, develop coordination between the hands, and begin to harmonize using a lead sheet.  Focus includes both solo and ensemble playing.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

PIANO ARTISTRY 3

HS Piano Artistry III is a group instruction course designed for students with two or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in HS Piano Artistry II. Students will develop music literacy as they listen to, discuss, and analyze musical examples. Students will gain an understanding of chord function, identify chords in musical examples, and create their own music compositions.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

PIANO ARTISTRY 4

HS Piano Artistry IV is a group instruction course designed for students with three or more years of experience. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in HS Piano Artistry III. Students will learn more advanced technical, theoretical, and musical skills. Focus includes advanced repertoire and harmonization.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

PIANO ARTISTRY 5

HS Piano Artistry V is a group instruction course designed to provide an advanced level of instruction. This course is a continuation of the skills acquired in HS Piano Artistry IV.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

This is a chamber jazz ensemble, a big band with the opportunity for unconventional instrumentation. In addition to traditional Jazz instruments, this course allows ‘non-traditional’ strings, orchestral woodwinds, and brass to participate. The curriculum focuses on skill building in the broader field of Jazz performance. Students will study jazz style, theory, improvisation, and listening skills. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 7th-12th

Students alternate between instrument sectional classes and orchestra rehearsals. Assessments include periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, group and individual creative projects, and public performance. Students submit at least one concert reaction each semester with online and in-class concert opportunities.

Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass

MIDDLE SCHOOL

STRING FOUNDATIONS 1

Students will develop basic musicianship skills through the practice and performance of concert works. Focus is given to basic musicianship, posture, position, note-reading, and aural skills.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 5th-8th

STRING FOUNDATIONS 2

Solo and Ensemble playing are emphasized, allowing students to use their expanding knowledge of scales, shifting, vibrato, and bowing techniques.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

STRING FOUNDATIONS 3

This class focuses on shifting skills, 2-3 octave scales and arpeggios, advancing bowing techniques, and musical expression.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

STRING FOUNDATIONS 4

This is an upper-level performing ensemble with emphasis on shifting, 3 octave scales and arpeggios, vibrato, advanced bowing techniques and musical expression. Students in Foundations 4 also have the opportunity to work side-by-side with students in the high school program.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 5th-8th

HIGH SCHOOL

STRING ORCHESTRA

Designed for incoming students with no prior experience and students developing basic musicianship skills or for students interested in learning a second instrument.

Prerequisites: none

Grades: 9th-12th

CONCERT STRINGS

This class focuses on shifting skills, 2-3 octave scales and arpeggios, advancing bowing techniques, and musical expression.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

This is an upper-level performing ensemble with emphasis on shifting, 3 octave scales and arpeggios, vibrato, advanced bowing techniques and musical expression. This class has the opportunity to collaborate with the winds, brass, and percussion students to perform full orchestra repertoire.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

This advanced string ensemble performs music from the standard concert string orchestra, full symphony, and chamber music literature with opportunity for student-led projects.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 9th-12th

STRING TEACHING ASSISTANT

This course is designed for student mentors to share their knowledge and skill, as well as learning to direct small and large string ensembles. Teaching Assistants will work with teachers to provide the optimal learning environment for the students. In addition to their daily tasks, they cultivate leadership skills and promote a positive culture and community within string classes. Teaching assistants receive feedback through rehearsal process, complete lesson plans and self-reflections, and conduct student ensemble performances throughout the school year.

Prerequisites: Participation in Symphony or Chamber Orchestras, application, and letters of recommendation

Grades: 11th-12th

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

This is a chamber jazz ensemble, a big band with the opportunity for unconventional instrumentation. In addition to traditional Jazz instruments, this course allows ‘non-traditional’ strings, orchestral woodwinds, and brass to participate. The curriculum focuses on skill building in the broader field of Jazz performance. Students will study jazz style, theory, improvisation, and listening skills. 

Prerequisites: Instructor approval; evaluation required for incoming students

Grades: 7th-12th

Music and Movement is based on Dalcroze Eurhythmics instruction. It is a way of moving, experiencing, and learning music with the body. Students in this program experience and express music through movement, games, and social interactions through discovery-based learning. Students experience the music first, and then discover concepts that they can apply to any expressive practice. Music and Movement  encourages self expression, improvisation, and (above all) a joyful learning experience.

Students develop deep fundamentals with rhythm, pitch, and expression, and a strong baseline knowledge of musical concepts that translate exactly into music classes, ensembles, and personal practice. Students develop deeper abilities to move, control, and express with the body. Students increase ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally, follow visual and aural cues, and work as individuals and in an ensemble. Students work together in a safe, non-judgmental environment where experimentation and improvisation are encouraged and celebrated.

Music and Movement is in the Life Skills course rotation for all 5th and 6th grade students.

Prerequisites: None

Grades: 5th/6th

This program of performing arts preparatory study is designed and designated for students who are planning on professionally pursuing the performing arts, and who will be majoring in their specific area of artistic concentration in institutions of higher education. This course is designed to support students in the rigid and detailed college application and preparation process for performing artists. Students interested in the areas of arts performance, education, and therapy work with a mentor to work on the requirements to complete regular college applications alongside specific arts school applications, audition preparation and practice, and robust and challenging career-specific interviews.

Prerequisites: Application and Interview

Grades: 12th

ASA Seniors have the opportunity to apply and earn this recognition from the Arizona Department of Education for inclusion on their ASA diploma. The Arizona Arts Proficiency Seal is awarded to graduating high school students who complete the Seal of Arts Proficiency Pathway through ASA.  The pathway is designed to celebrate students who complete a rigorous, standards-based, and high-quality arts education course of study throughout their high school education. All students select an arts teacher as their mentor to meet the requirements and complete an arts capstone project. Seniors have the opportunity to receive the Seal of Arts Proficiency in multiple disciplines.

Grades: 12th