Music Department

Band – Wind Ensemble

1 Year | 1 Credit

A performing ensemble selected by demonstrating proficiency in NYSSMA level solo III or higher as well as knowledge of major scales and/or teacher recommendation based on proper instrumentation. The class is for the study of contemporary wind instrumental music and standard symphonic literature (NYSSMA level 3-5). Evening concerts are required during the school year. 

All performances are graded, therefore, if a student is absent, a written excuse and makeup performance will be required. An end of year exam and/or approved portfolio assessment or project may be required. Students are required to attend lessons on a rotating basis during the school day. Participation in marching band is required.

All students registered for this class is required to take marching band as marching band is considered co-curricular.

Band – Symphonic

1 Year | 1 Credit

A performing ensemble that meets every day which is open to students who have successfully completed the middle school band program and/or have achieved basic proficiency of their instruments equivalent to NYSSMA level II or higher. Symphonic band performs a wide variety of repertoire ranging in style and time period and prepares literature ranging from NYSSMA level II-IV. Students who wish to enter symphonic band with no prior training must seek private or outside instruction and demonstrate a basic proficiency of the instrument for the band director before being registered for the class.

Evening concerts are required during the school year. All performances are graded, therefore in the case of an absence, a written excuse and make-up performance are required. All students, including those who take privately will be required to complete performed assessments throughout the year and an end of the year performed exam. Students who do not study privately are required to attend lessons on a rotating basis during the school day.

All students registered for this class is required to take marching band as marching band is considered co-curricular.

Marching Band

Marching Band is a co-curricular requirement of all students registered in 1820 or 1830. Performances will include halftime shows for football games and parades and community sponsored events. 

Afterschool practices are required on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00pm-5:00pm
Reasonable accommodations will be made for students involved in extracurricular activities, i.e. clubs, sports. Students with after school jobs should schedule hours after 5:00 p.m. Marching Season is usually completed by November 30th of each year, except in occasional instances in the spring of each year when a performance is scheduled.

It is required that students attend summer marching band camp, which begins two (2) weeks prior to the start of the school year. Band uniforms will be supplied by the Greater Amsterdam School District. Students are required to provide band shoes and a cap. These may be purchased from the music department suppliers. Students are required to have their own instruments except for percussion and large wind instruments. Students are required to take band class to be admitted into marching band.  Students wishing to participate in the marching band and who are not registered for a band class may get permission from the band directors for unavoidable extenuating circumstances.  These students have attempted to register for band in their schedule and are unable due to core class/special program conflicts.

Chorus – Mixed (9-12)

1 Year | 1 Credit

A chorus of high school men and women who will study SATB NYSSMA Level 3-4 choral literature of the various time periods, as well as vocal techniques and production. All chorus students should have had choral experience at the middle school level. Evening concerts are required, and occasional afterschool rehearsals are necessary. Students will be graded on class participation, concert attendance and voice lessons. Students will have the opportunity to participate in various community performances, music competitions both local and out of town. Students will need to purchase required concert attire for formal performances and competitions. It is expected that students will put in extra time for these events as they are part of their grade.

Missed performances need written excuses. This can include both weekends and after school. All choir students are expected to participate in chorus fundraisers. An end of the year exam and/or approved portfolio assessment/performance or project will be required.

Chorus – Select (9-12)

1 Year | 1 Credit

A choir of advanced high school men and women who will study all styles of choral literature. They will concentrate on NYSSMA grade level 4 and 6. Students will develop knowledge of solfege, and will study advanced voice techniques. 

This group will have a demanding concert schedule, and all performances are required. It is expected that these students will participate in both group and solo competitions. Students will be graded on class participation, concert attendance and voice lessons. 

Entrance into this class is by AUDITION ONLY. Auditions will be held during the previous school year. Accommodations can be made for talented eighth grade students and new students to audition for possible entry. An end of year exam and/or approved portfolio assessment/performance or project is required.

Music Theory I

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

Theory I is a formal and comprehensive course concerning the principles of the written and aural aspects of music.

Topics included are:

  1. The foundations of music
  2. Major and minor scales and key signatures 
  3. Intervals 
  4. Rhythm and meter 
  5. Triad and seventh chord construction 
  6. Understanding melodic and harmonic structure through basic roman numeral analysis 
  7. Understanding theory as it relates to history and culture.

An end of the year exam and culminating composition/arranging project are required.

Prerequisite: Students must have experience reading music through a prior music course or private instruction

Music Theory II

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

Theory II is a continuation from Theory I including:

  1. Advanced Rhythmic Concepts
  2. Harmonic Principles
  3. Part Writing
  4. Creative Assignments
  5. Advanced Ear Training and Sight singing Skills. 

Any students contemplating a college major or minor in music should take both Music Theory I and II.

An end of year exam and/or approved portfolio assessment/performance or project is required.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Music Theory I.

NOTE: Music Theory I and II is a requirement for a 5-unit sequence

History of American Pop and Rock Music

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

In this half year course, students will explore the history of American Rock, Pop, and Hip Hop music through a wide variety of listening, time period specific texts, in class projects, and a focus on digital media sources. From America’s rich musical roots in Blues, Jazz, and Rock through the birth of Hip Hop, Rap, and today’s rich current musical soundscape; students will explore it all.

No prerequisites are required other than an interest and love of music.

Jazz Improvisation and Techniques

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

In this half year course, students will explore the fundamentals of Jazz Improvisation. We will be discussing improvisational techniques such as scales, modes, patterns and transcription. Students will explore the fundamentals of jazz through kinesthetic learning as well as aural dictation.