Music

Music is instrumental to ASA’s core curriculum and our music programs are nationally recognized. We find great satisfaction in listening to our students discover the joy of music through learning and rehearsing and performing live. We focus on specific technique taught by master teachers. Students also participate in live ensemble performances. Middle school students are required to study piano and join choir. In high school, they can play an instrument of their choosing. Coursework focuses on personal development, proper technique and ensemble training.

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. In addition to becoming great musicians themselves, ASA students learn about varying musical styles and genres and philosophies.

Middle School sequenceHigh School sequence

Piano Classes

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students and during arts hours for high school students. All piano classes are taught with a group approach and include differentiation for students with more experience. Students work at full-size Yamaha digital keyboards with headphones. Class Piano is not intended to replace private lessons, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.

Middle School Class Piano

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students. 5th grade students focus on basic fundamentals of piano, using the classroom piano book (included in the piano bundle) to practice applying these concepts. 6th grade students explore a wider range of the keyboard and build on the skills developed in 5th grade. 7th and 8th grade students explore practice strategies, musicianship skills, and ensemble playing. A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
Prerequisites: none. All students in grades 5-8 will be automatically enrolled in Class Piano.

Please note: Class Piano in middle school is not intended to replace a private piano instructor, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.

Beginning High School Class Piano

Class piano instruction occurs during 9th period for beginning and early intermediate high school students. Students focus on basic fundamentals of piano including keyboard technique, musicianship skills, theory, ensemble playing and solo literature. Open to all levels of instruction, a piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time. If you have always wanted to study piano as a high school student at ASA, this is your opportunity. Students will receive a regular assessment in this class with a final grade. Students will still be concurrently enrolled in their regular ASA arts program. This is a Pay-to-Play class. Separate enrollment through the office is required.
Prerequisites: none. 9th-12th grades.

High School Class Piano

This class builds on skills and concepts learned in Middle School or Beginning High School Class Piano, including keyboard technique, musicianship skills, theory, solo and ensemble playing. Eligibility for incoming high school students is determined by skill level. Current ASA students not enrolled in High School Piano may audition by appointment each spring for placement the following year. Due to limited seats, priority is first given to upperclassmen.A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is required. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 9th-12th grades.

AP Theory/High School Class Piano

Students enjoy a blend of High School Class Piano and AP Music Theory. Students will study musical skills typical to a first-year college music theory course including aural, written, and analytical skills. Students must pass the exam to earn a point toward their GPA.
Prerequisites: By audition with instructor approval. 9th-12th grades.

Band Foundations 1

This class focuses on the basics of playing woodwind and brass instruments. The students learn how to hold, take care of, and play the instruments, follow a conductor, maintain a steady practice routine, and how to play in a large group with mixed instruments. Students will learn to play scales and musical examples up to 4 flats and 4 sharps. Rhythmically, students will be able to understand and execute eighth note and sixteenth note rhythms in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, as well as syncopated rhythms. Compound meters, like 3/8, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 will also be introduced. There is a strong emphasis on understanding the music theory that applies to what the students are playing.
Prerequisites: none. 5th-6th grades.

Band Foundations 2

This class focuses on expanding technical and rhythmic understanding of selected instrument. Students expand their understanding of playing in large and small groups. Each student will learn to play all major scales 1-2 octaves within the range of their instrument. We will expand our knowledge of compound meters and begin executing them more challenging ensemble pieces. We will also begin talking about more advanced triplet rhythms, i.e. quarter note triplets. There is a strong emphasis on music theory.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval or audition. 5th-6th grades.

Technique– all students enrolling in Band Foundations, Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Chamber Winds will be enrolled in their instrument technique class. This program is divided into four areas: Flute & Oboe, Single Reeds & Bassoon, Brass, Percussion This program is accelerated with an emphasizes on refining fundamental skills including but not limited to breathing, sound production, intonation, finger motion, (both adjacent and non-adjacent), articulation, (both single and multiple), stroke production, registral sound unity, range extension, consistency, musicality, and combinations of the above. Students have the opportunity to work in solo and small ensembles.

Band Foundations

Foundations is ASA’s ensemble for beginning students of band, as well as those who are learning the basics for performing in a band setting. We focus on the fundamentals: posture, instrument knowledge, note-reading skills and rehearsal technique. Students develop basic musicianship through the practice and performance of concert works & exercises in a large ensemble setting, develop and improve proper playing technique (embouchure, posture, sticking, etc.), and build a positive self-concept and group work ethic through performance.
Prerequisites: None. 7th-9th grades.

Concert Band

Concert Band continues the track started by Foundations, applying note-reading skills, musicianship, rehearsal techniques to increasingly challenging literature. Students will improve basic musicianship skills through the practice and performance of concert works and exercises in a large ensemble setting as well as develop and improve proper playing technique (embouchure, posture, sticking, etc.).
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 7th-12th grades.

Symphonic Winds

Symphonic Winds is our 3rd performance level at ASA. Students who have been promoted to this level have acquired the basic skills for performance as developed in Foundations & Concert Band. The curriculum of this course involves complex works of music, challenging technical repertoire and rhythmic study, and adventurous music. In these classes, students will go from simply working their instruments correctly to approaching them like young artists.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 7th-12th grades.

Chamber Winds

Chamber Winds is our 4th and highest-level band at ASA. Students who have been promoted to Chamber Winds demonstrate a high degree of proficiency on their chosen instrument. In this class, we explore deeper listening, precision of execution, phrasing, balance and blend and interpretive style. Chamber Winds focuses on performing advanced high school and early college level works of significant length and artistic depth. Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 7th-12th grades.

Jazz Band

The ASA Jazz Band consists of saxes, trumpets, trombones and a full rhythm section (drum set, bass, guitar and piano) in a traditional Big Band setting, modeled on legendary acts like Count Basie or Duke Ellington. This group studies and performs a variety of literature from various periods of Jazz performance, ranging from Swing to Bossa Nova, Funk to Fusion and anything else that will enrich the class.
Prerequisites: Entrance Audition / Instructor approval. (Symphonic Winds or higher level required). 7th-12th grades.

Percussion Ensemble

This advanced level performing ensemble focuses on mastery of traditional, non-traditional and world percussion techniques through the study of contemporary percussion ensemble literature.
Prerequisites: Entrance Audition/ Instructor approval. (Symphonic Winds and Chamber Winds level only) 7th-12th grades.

String Foundations 1

Students learn the basics in string technique, music theory as it applies to their string instrument, and ensemble playing. We work on posture, position and note-reading skills. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Classes are separated by instrument.
Prerequisites: none. 5th-6th grades.

String Foundations 2

Students will continue to develop string technique and music theory. Solo and ensemble playing are emphasized, allowing students to use their expanding knowledge of scales, shifting, vibrato, and bowing techniques. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Classes are separated by instrument.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval; audition required for incoming students. 5th-6th grades.

String Orchestra

String orchestra program with concurrent enrollment in either – Violin, Viola, or Cello/Bass Studies A continuation of the ASA Intro courses in violin, viola, cello, and double bass. This course is also for incoming students without prior experience. Students will learn the basics in string technique, music theory for strings, and ensemble playing. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Additionally, students are required to attend one professional classical music concert each quarter. This course includes both full string orchestra and separate technique classes (violin, viola or low strings). Literature is based on ASTA grade levels 1, 1-1/2 and 2.
Prerequisites: None. 7th-9th grades.

Concert Strings

String orchestra program with concurrent enrollment in either – Violin, Viola, or Cello/Bass Studies A continuation of String Orchestra at an intermediate level. Students will learn to play in a large ensemble and understand higher-level string theory. Students will learn shifting, 2 & 3 octave scales & arpeggios. Class will include an introduction of music history. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Additionally, students are required to attend one professional classical music concert each quarter. This course includes both full string orchestra and separate technique classes (violin, viola or low strings). Literature is based on ASTA grade levels 2, 2-1/2 and 3.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval; audition required for incoming students. 7th-12th grades.

Symphony Orchestra

Full orchestra program with concurrent enrollment in either – Violin, Viola, or Cello/Bass Studies This course includes string orchestra, full orchestra (with winds, brass & percussion) and instrument specific technique classes (violin, viola or low strings). This is an upper-level performing ensemble with emphasis on shifting, 3 octave scales, arpeggios, vibrato, and advanced bowing techniques. Students study advanced music theory and historical performance practices. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Additionally, students are required to attend one professional classical music concert each quarter and write a concert reflection paper each semester. Private lessons are strongly encouraged for all members. Literature is based on ASTA grade levels 3-1/2 and above (including traditional concert literature).
Prerequisites: Instructor approval; audition required for incoming students. 7th-12th grades.

Chamber Orchestra

This advanced string ensemble performs music from the standard concert string orchestra and chamber music literature. Chamber music is an integral part of the program. Assessment includes periodic practice checks, comprehensive playing exams, and public performances. Additionally, students are required to attend one professional classical music concert each quarter and write a concert reflection paper each semester. This course includes string orchestra, full orchestra (with Symphony Orchestra, and select winds, brass & percussion) and instrument specific technique classes (violin, viola or low strings). Literature is based on ASTA grade levels 4 and above. Private lessons are strongly encouraged for all members.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval; audition required for incoming students. 7th-12th grades.

The choral arts curriculum is designed to help students develop skills in regular practice, focused concentration, performance, and teamwork. Students in 5th-8th grade will be assigned a class in the choral arts department as part of their arts study. The school may waive a choral class for 5th-grade students that require an academic bridge class.

Singing is a life-long skill that is enjoyable, and fosters ear training, intonation, breath support, and confidence in oneself. ASA requires that all students in middle school, regardless of experience and ability, take a choir class. The voice, just like the human body, matures and develops at an individual rate. Our goal is to place students where they will achieve the most success for their current individual development and encourage vocal progress moving forward.

Vocal Foundations 1

This beginning-level class offers the building blocks for proper vocal technique, music reading skills, and working within an ensemble. Students will be assessed individually and corporately through class participation, tests and quizzes, performances, and one-on-one evaluation.
Prerequisites: None. 5th-6th grades.

Vocal Foundations 2

A continuation of Voice Foundations 1 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: Audition only, instructor approval. 5th-6th grades.

Vocal Foundations 3

A continuation of Voice Foundations 2 with a further application of proper singing techniques. Students learn vowel production, consonant production, 3- and 4- part singing, and further application of music markings. These objectives are used to apply to the various genres of music performed.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 5th-6th grades.

ASA Singers

The development of musicianship, overall confidence, breath support combined with basic components of healthy singing, are priority benchmarks of this course. 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. We emphasize listening, healthy vocal technique, sight-reading, theory, along with good rehearsal etiquette. Music in a variety of genres will be introduced.
Prerequisites: None. 7th-12th grades.

Advanced Treble Choir

This is an ensemble of sopranos and altos in 7th-12th grade. This choir focuses on a deepening application of proper singing techniques and music theory. Students continue to learn correct vowel production, consonant production, breathing technique, expressiveness, and 3 to 4-part choral repertoire. Daily sight singing and music literacy are priorities. Students will have an increased competence in note-reading, rhythm reading, score awareness, symbolic notational devices, and music directions written in other languages. Students perform with artistic integrity, giving careful attention to accuracy of pitches, rhythms, dynamics, and articulations. Repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied works from the Renaissance to the current century.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval. 7th-12th grades.

Mixed Ensemble

Prerequisites are a vocal technique, which demonstrates breath control and good intonation, sight-reading ability with solfege, and concentration in rehearsal. Goals at this level are increased vocal technique including the ability to control longer phrases, improved intonation, sight-reading, rhythm reading, score awareness, notational devices and notational devices. Repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied works from the Renaissance to the current century.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 7th-9th grades.

Bel Canto

This is a treble choir (sopranos and altos). Students build upon their foundation of correct vowel production, consonant production and 3- to 4-part singing, sight singing and music literacy. Students will have an increased competence in note-reading, rhythm reading, score awareness, symbolic notational devices, and music directions written in other languages. Students perform with artistic integrity, giving careful attention to accuracy of pitches, rhythms, dynamics, and articulation. Repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied works from the Renaissance to the current century.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 8th-12th grades.

Concert Choir

Prerequisites are a vocal technique, which demonstrates breath control and good intonation, sight-reading ability with solfege on melodies outlining the tonic triad in major and minor modes, and concentration in rehearsal. Goals at this level are increased vocal technique including the ability to control longer phrases, improved intonation, sight-reading melodies more complex melodies. The repertoire is expanded to include works by major composers.
Prerequisites: Audition only, instructor approval. 9th-12th grades.

Chamber Singers

Singers are assigned only by audition and the recommendation of both artistic and academic staff. 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.
Prerequisites: Experience in vocal technique, different styles of singing, strong sight reading skills, accurate intonation, and vocal flexibility. Audition only. 9th-12th grades.

Intro to Classical Guitar

Introduction to Classical Guitar offers 5th and 6th grade students the opportunity to study classical guitar in a group setting. Students will need to provide a nylon-string guitar and supplies. The majority of the instruction will be in classical music and learning to play finger style. This introduction course includes music reading, classical guitar technique, and ensemble work. This class occurs during the regular arts block in the morning. Students that elect this class will be concurrently enrolled in choir and piano. This is a Pay-to-Play class. Separate enrollment through the office is required.
Prerequisites: None. 5th-6th grades. Limited enrollment.

Guitar Foundations 1

Multiple Sections – see below for requirements

This is a beginner’s level group guitar class that explores the fundamentals of classical guitar technique, reading of standard music notation in treble clef, playing through 2nd position, the performance of two, three, and four-part ensembles, learning basic articulations and dynamics, basic strummed and plucked chords, understanding and playing of basic left and right-hand fingerings, major and minor one octave scales in 1st position, and participation in four school concerts a year. In-class participation as outlined on the participation rubric is consistently expected. Required: Students must purchase a nylon string classical guitar and foot stand for participation in class.
Prerequisites for 5th & 6th grade students: Audition only.
Prerequisites for 7th-9th grade students: none. 7th-9th grades. Limited enrollment.

Guitar Foundations 2

A continuing class in classical guitar techniques with an emphasis on ensemble work, beginning study of solo repertoire, continued exercises in sight-reading through 3rd position, and advancing performance. Students further the study of classical guitar techniques, intermediate ensemble and solo repertoire, playing through 5th position, two octave major and minor scales, some advanced articulations and techniques, and participation in four school concerts a year. In-class participation as outlined on the
participation rubric is consistently expected.
Prerequisites: Placement by ASA faculty through previous class experience or new student audition. 7th-12th grades.

Guitar Foundations 3

A continuing class in classical guitar techniques with an emphasis on more advanced ensemble work, study of solo repertoire, continued exercises in sight-reading through 4th position, and advancing performance. Students will further their study of classical guitar techniques, intermediate to advanced ensemble and solo repertoire, playing through 6th position, two octave major and minor scales, some advanced articulations and techniques, and participation in four school concerts a year. In-class participation as outlined on the participation rubric is consistently expected.
Prerequisites: Placement by ASA faculty through previous class experience or new student audition. 7th-12th grades.

Guitar Foundations 4

An ensemble class in classical guitar with more individualized instruction and emphasis on advancing ensemble playing, study of solo repertoire, sight-reading through 5th position, and performance. Students continue to perfect their classical guitar techniques, study more advanced ensemble and solo repertoire, playing through at least 9th position, two and three octave major and minor scales, more advanced articulations including specialized techniques, and participation in four school concerts a year. In-class participation as outlined on the participation rubric is consistently expected.
Prerequisites: Placement by ASA faculty through previous class experience or new student audition. 7th-12th grades.

Advanced Guitar Ensemble

This classical guitar ensemble class emphasizes advanced performance techniques, including extensive study of solo repertoire, sight-reading through 7th position and playing in all positions of the fingerboard, and performance. Participation in at least four school performances a year, and outreach performances is required. In-class participation as outlined on the participation rubric is consistently expected.
Prerequisites: Audition only for incoming students, students placed by instructor. 7th-12th grades.