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MISSION: To lead an educational partnership with the Community, maintaining an environment that challenges all students to reach their potential as lifelong learners and responsible members of society.

Music

Bethel Park School District Music Curriculum
Mission:

The study of music provides many facets of knowledge and levels of appreciation, which stimulates self-control, individual expression, self discipline and an appreciation for the arts and diverse cultural experiences.

Music at all levels is a dynamic, participatory experience that acts as a fundamental building block in education. The Bethel Park School District Music Department adheres to the guidelines provided by the National Standards and Pennsylvania State Standards for the Arts.

Research confirms that music enriches students’ lives, promoting team building, creativity, higher-level thinking, and the development of motor skills. The Music Department of the Bethel Park School District is dedicated to providing music experiences that foster individual and community growth, recognizing that music is at the core of human existence.

Description:

Students in grades K-12 actively engage in a comprehensive musical program which balances musical theory, composition, and performance. Courses commencing in the elementary grades promote the acquisition of musical vocabulary, creation and performance of vocal and instrumental compositions, and the development of a strong knowledge of musical history and its impact on the development of cultures. Many electives are also offered to complement the personal interests and career aspirations of the students.

Michael Petrossi
Music Curriculum Facilitator
412-854-8677

Elementary Music:

“Performing, creating and responding to music are the fundamental music processes in which humans engage. Students, particularly in grades 1-4 learn by doing. Singing, playing instruments, moving to music, and creating music enables them to acquire musical skills and knowledge that can be developed in no other way. Learning to read and notate music gives them a skill with which to explore music independently and with others. Listening to, analyzing, and evaluating music are important building blocks of musical learning. Further, to participate in a diverse, global society, students must understand their own historical and cultural heritage and those of others within their communities and beyond. Because music is a basic expression of human culture, every student should have access to a balanced, comprehensive, and sequential program of study in music.”                  

Music Educators National Conference

In addition to participating in a required general music curriculum that meets these objectives, students have the option beginning in grade three to participate in an elective instrumental music program. Third grade students are able to participate in the Orchestra/Strings program while forth grade students can participate with the Concert Band/ Wind & Percussion.

Middle School Music:

“The period represented by grades 5-8 is especially critical in student’s musical development. The music they perform or study often becomes an integral part of their personal music repertoire. Composing and improvising provide students with unique insight into the form and structure of music and at the same time help them to develop their creativity. Broad experience with a variety of music is necessary if students are to make informed judgments. Similarly, this breadth of background enables them to begin to understand the connections and relationships between music and other disciplines. By understanding the cultural and historical forces that shape social attitudes and behaviors, students are better prepared to live and work in communities that are increasingly multicultural. The role that music will play in students’ lives depends in large measure on the level of skills they achieve in creating, performing, and listening to music.”

Music Educators National Conference

Middle level students continue to participate in a required general music curriculum that meets these objectives. Fifth through eighth grade students also have the option to continue to pursue musical studies within the Orchestra/ Strings or the Concert Band/ Wind & Percussion programs.

High School Music:

“The study of music contributes in important ways to the quality of every student’s life. Every musical work is a product of its time and place, although some works transcend their original settings and continue to appeal to humans through their timeless and universal attraction. Through singing, playing instruments, and composing, students can express themselves creatively, while a knowledge of notation and performance traditions enables them to learn new music independently throughout their lives. Skills in analysis, evaluation, and synthesis are important because they enable students to recognize and pursue excellence in their musical experiences and to understand and enrich their environment. Because music is an integral part of human history, the ability to listen with understanding is essential if students are to gain a broad cultural and historical perspective. The adult life of every student is enriched by the skills, knowledge, and habits acquired in the study of music.”

Music Educators National Conference

Bethel Park School District requires a minimum of two (2) credits in the Fine/Practical Arts for graduation. Courses offered within the Music Department meet these graduation requirements. A variety of vocal and instrumental courses are offered to complement each student’s personal interests and musical pursuits.

Course Offerings:

Freshman Girls’ Choir
Grade 9
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

This class is for 9th grade girls who are either continuing their vocal development from middle school or singing in a choir for the first time. This class performs a varied repertoire of three part treble music. Freshman Girls’ Choir class focuses on beginning sight-singing skills. Students sing at two mandatory performances per year along with two mandatory after school rehearsals prior to each concert. Grading is based on in-class singing tests, written quizzes, daily participation, and combined rehearsal concert attendance.

Sophomore Girls’ Choir
Grade 10
Levels 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

This class is for 10th grade girls who enjoy singing a varied repertoire of three part treble music. A continuation of vocal training and music literacy prepares students to advance into Concert Choir and/or Top 21. Sophomore Girls’ Choir sings as two mandatory performances per year along with two mandatory after school rehearsals prior to each concert. Grading is based on in-class singing tests, written quizzes, daily participation, and combined rehearsal/concert attendance.

Concert Choir
Grade 9-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

This class is for 9th – 12th grade boys and 11th – 12th grade girls who enjoying singing four part mixed music. An advanced level of repertoire including major choral works is performed. A continuation of vocal training and music literacy is stressed in every class. Concert Choir sings at two mandatory performances each year along with two mandatory after school rehearsals prior to each concert. Grading is based on in-class singing tests, written quizzes, daily participation, and combined rehearsal and concert attendance. Girls with limited singing experience should consider registering for Sophomore or Freshman Girls’ Choir. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Top 21
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Audition

10th – 12th grade boys and 11th – 12th grade girls are eligible to audition for this ensemble. A high level of vocal ability, sight singing skills, a positive attitude, and a serious group commitment are required of all members. Entrance to this group is by audition only. Auditions are held during the spring (April-May) for the following year. Top 21 requires concurrent membership in Concert Choir. Top 21 performs at numerous school and community events and requires evening and weekend hours to fulfill performance requests. This select vocal group participates in the annual Spring Music Department Trip. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Freshman Concert Band
Grade 9
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Audition or Middle School Band Director’s recommendation

9th grade students will further ensemble playing skills on band instruments (winds and percussion) through classroom instruction and school and public performance. Freshman Concert Band will prepare a minimum of three mandatory performances per year plus and adjudication festival. Preparation for mandatory performances will include at least one mandatory after school rehearsal prior to each performance. Grading is based on in-class performance, in-class individual playing tests, daily participation and combined, after school rehearsal/concert attendance.

Freshman Stage Band
Grade 9
Level 1-3
Semester Course – ½ Credit
Prerequisites: Middle School Band Director’s recommendation or permission from director

9th grade students will develop their musical skills and techniques through small group instruction with special emphasis on the jazz idiom. Instrumentation includes saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Freshman Stage Band will prepare a minimum of two mandatory performances per year. Grading is based on in-class performance, in-class individual playing tests, daily participation and combined, after school, rehearsal/concert attendance. Wind and percussion instrument students must be enrolled in either Freshman Concert Band or Concert Band.

Stage Band
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: 9th grade Stage Band Director’s recommendation

Stage Band is open only to musicians concurrently enrolled in Symphonic Band, Concert Band, or Symphony Orchestra. A balanced instrumentation of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, guitar, bass and drum set will be maintained, limiting players in each section. An audition score of 60 is required and the music level will be difficult (standard high school) to very difficult (college). Improvisation will be a part of the class curriculum. Activities include Invitational Concerts, Dinner Dance, Telerama, and participation in the annual spring trip. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Freshman Strings
Grade 9
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Audition or Middle School Orchestra Director’s recommendation

Students will further ensemble playing skills on string instruments through classroom instruction and school and public performance. Grading will be based on classroom performance, attendance, participation and outside practice in addition to the mandatory after school rehearsals and performance.

Orchestra
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

All string players will be assigned to this class except those students who have passed the audition for Symphony Orchestra. Students will further ensemble playing skills on string orchestra instruments through classroom instruction and school and public performances. Grading will be based on classroom performance, attendance, participation, and outside practice in addition to the mandatory after school rehearsals and performances. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Symphony Orchestra
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Audition

String, wind, and percussion players must audition and achieve a score of 55 out of 70 to register for this class. Since balance with the strings is essential, only a limited number of wind and percussion players will be accepted. Wind and percussion players must also be enrolled in Symphonic Band or Concert Band. In addition to school or public performances, this class is a vital part of the Spring Broadway musical production and also participates in the Spring Music Trip. Grading will be based on classroom performance, attendance, participation, and outside practice in addition to the mandatory after school rehearsals and performances. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Concert Band
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Entering sophomores must have the recommendation of 9th Grade Band Director.

All sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be assigned to one of the two sections of Concert Band unless they have passed the Symphonic Band audition. No audition for Concert Band is required. Ability should be on the intermediate level. The music will be of moderate difficulty. In addition to performance music, the class will concentrate on improving the fundamental principals of music: tone, technique, rhythm, scales, articulation, dynamics, and interpretation. 

Due to the nature of this course, students are required to attend, as part of their grade, after school combined Concert Band rehearsals before each performance during the school year. Grading will be based on classroom performance, attendance, participation, and outside practice in addition to the mandatory after school rehearsals and performances. 

Symphonic Band
Grade 10-12
Level 1-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Audition

All members must pass a competitive audition with a minimum score of 55 points out of a maximum of 70. Symphonic Band members’ musical ability must be on the advanced level, with the students being able to perform with exceptional control and expression of their instruments. College and advanced high school literature will be performed. Due to the nature of this course, all performances are mandatory and students will perform during the annual spring trip. Students who achieve a score of 60 or better may also choose to participate in Orchestra (Winds or Percussion) and/or Stage Band as a second elective. This course can be used to fulfill the senior project requirement.

Music Appreciation
Grade 9-12
Level 1-3
Semester Course – ½ Credit
Prerequisite: None

This course offers students an opportunity to study the development of music as an art form. Students will investigate the development of music through history and relate musical structure and content with expression of mankind through societal development. Although all musical styles will be studied, an emphasis will be placed on modern American music, and the influence music from around the world has had on America’s music. An understanding of the nature of basic parts of music, such as rhythm, melody and harmony, as well as the relationship of music to other art forms (dance, architecture, visual arts, literature and drama), will be presented. A basic understanding and appreciation of musical values in composition, regardless of personal likes or preferences, will be stressed. This course is open to all students. No prior musical background is required.

Music Technology
Grade 9-12
Level 3
Semester Course – ½ Credit
Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation

This is an introductory course in music technology or “electronic music.” Music technology is a “hands on” creative music course exploring all the possibilities for music theory, performance, arrangement and composition made possible through the use of computer technology. Students will learn to operate synthesizers, both keyboard and modular, as well as develop and increase computers skills using the Macintosh platform while learning to use music software programs such as Sibelius (notation), Garage Band (digital sequencing and MIDI recording), Pro-Tools (multi track acoustic recording) and Band In a Box (accompaniment generator). Students will be exposed to and use all techniques and systems currently in use in the music industry. Students should be computer literate and have a basic knowledge of music notation. Independent studies will be offered in accordance with the board policy.