The Music Department


To graduate, all students must complete one unit of credit in either Art or Music. A sequence in Music must include one unit of Music Theory.

Music  Technology   I

Music Technology will be a full-year course for one credit. This course will fulfill the fine arts credit needed for graduation. Music Tech is a course open to all students in grades 9-12; regardless of prior musical knowledge. The course will explore many concepts in creating music using technology. This is a project-based course and will require students to work independently at times; building their time management skills. Topics within this course include (but are not limited to): The basics of a sound system, audio effects, MIDI sequencing, Audio sequencing, Composing and Arranging Music, Podcasting, Remixing, Film Scoring, Live Sound, and Live Performance using Technology.

 MUSIC THEORY (Grade 10-12)

1 Unit of Credit

Music theory is the entry level course that introduces students to notation, harmonic structure, ear training and dictation. Students will be introduced to music history elements such as form, texture and style based upon how they relate to the units of theory skills. Students of music theory will be asked to learn piano skills, composition, and music analysis techniques. Music theory emphasizes the fundamental principals of music including pitch, rhythm, harmony, form, and the historical application of these principles. Enrollment is suggested for students in grades 10-12 who are currently studying an instrument or voice privately or within one of our school ensembles.


1 Unit of Credit

Advanced Placement Theory is a structured college level music theory and history course for the musician who plans to pursue a post secondary degree in music or who has strong individual performing skills. Students will work on mastering skills and concepts based upon the written principles of traditional western music including of: key signature identification, chord and interval structure, four part harmony rules, motive and phrase analysis and overall music format and style. Students will develop strong aural and audio skills through melodic dictation, rhythmic dictation, harmonic dictation, and sight singing. As a final course requirement students will be asked to analyze and compose individual music compositions with the content learned from this course.



1 UNIT OF CREDIT- Grades 9-12

This ensemble has no audition requirement and all students who have played in the Middle School Band are welcome (If you haven’t played in the Middle School Band but have continued to practice on your own time, an evaluation of your skills will be required by the band director) As a member, the student will continue to develop musical skills that will assist him/her in their personal growth as an instrumentalist and ensemble member. Students must exhibit a strong sense of pride and commitment and be prepared to work toward the success of the ensemble at all times. Symphonic Band meets every day. All instrumental students enrolled in this course are required to attend small group lessons that meet at least five times per quarter. This ensemble will participate in two mandatory post-session rehearsals and two concerts.



½ UNIT OF CREDIT- Grades 9-12

Placement in this group is by audition only. Lab band is made up of 15-20 rhythm section instrumentalists (guitar, bass, drum-set and piano) as well as vocalists. Small rock bands will be formed within the Lab Band class. Students will learn how to work with other musicians in a rock band setting; learning cover songs, writing originals and arranging medleys. The Lab Band performs together twice a year in the spring; a benefit rock concert in March where students choose a charity of their choice and an outdoor courtyard concert in May.



1 UNIT OF CREDIT- Grades 9-12

Placement in this group is by audition only. Wind Ensemble is made up of advanced instrumentalists. The ensemble meets daily and plays music from NYSSMA Levels 4-6. Public performances are scheduled twice a year in the winter and the spring. Wind Ensemble also attends a competition event each spring. Because of the emphasis on individual parts regular and consistent practice outside of school is mandatory. Students must maintain a performance grade of 95 or higher to keep their placement in the group from year to year.


CHAMBER CHOIR (Grade 9-12)

1 Unit of Credit

An ensemble consisting of four equal voice parts: (soprano, alto, tenor and bass.) An audition is required for all entrants. Singers in this choir will learn advance skills for vocal production and will strengthen music theory knowledge and sight singing ability. Members must exhibit a strong sense of pride, dedication and commitment to the art of singing and be willing to put in out of school time for practice. Repertoire studies will be selected from classical to contemporary literature that will be either arranged with or without accompaniment and will be both challenging and entertaining. Students in this ensemble may choose to participate in a yearly competition trip at their own expense. All members must attend two post session rehearsals which are held prior to each of the mandatory Winter and Spring concerts.

WOMEN’S CHORALE (Grade 9-12)

.5 Unit of Credit

Is a select ensemble consisting of 3 or 4 equal women’s voices: (soprano I, soprano II, alto I and possibly alto II) A placement audition is required for entrance in which vocal technique is assessed based on tone quality, rhythm awareness and sight-singing skills. It is recommended but not mandatory that students enter with basic knowledge of music notation and fundamentals of choir singing. As a member students will continue to develop musical skills that will assist them in their personal growth as a singer and ensemble member. Students must exhibit a strong sense of pride and commitment and be prepared to work toward the success of the ensemble at all times. This ensemble will participate in two mandatory post session rehearsals and two concerts.

MIXED CHORUS (Grade 9-12)

.5 Unit of Credit

Mixed Chorus is a class that lets you explore many different ways to create and perform music. Units include: How to write your own percussion rhythms and how to use body percussion for a song in your playlist, learn to play and perform the recorder, learn to play chords on the guitar and be able to sing along, vocal instruction to create good singing skills, good tone and the ability to sing in harmony, listen to various types of popular music for enjoyment and learn to distinguish the musical elements in the selection. Projects will include small group performances within each unit. Performances will be peer based during the class time and options for public performance at both the winter and spring choral concerts.



.5 Unit of Credit

Drama workshop is a comprehensive theatre course that will allow students to learn the many facets of theatre production. Students will receive the tools necessary for character analysis by the use of creative drama techniques; these will include the development of voice production, body movement, sensory memory and concentration. The Drama Workshop class will stimulate the student’s creative abilities through the use of pantomime, improvisation and theatre activities, and will provide the student with social and individual development. Solo and group activities will allow the student to achieve qualities that will demand team-work, cooperation and dependability. Students do not need any prior experience to enroll in this class; the only pre-requisite is a creative imagination.

DRAMA II (Grade 10-12)

1 Unit of Credit

Drama II continues to build upon the acting techniques developed in Drama Workshop. This course teaches the fundamentals of directing, producing and acting in a comical or dramatic play in the spring. Drama Workshop is a prerequisite for acceptance into Drama II. However, since the nature of this course is to present a different staged play each June, students may take this course more than once.


1 Unit of Credit

This advanced drama class is designed for students with a minimum of two years acting experience and promotes a “post high school” level of refinement and attention to detail in acting and writing for the stage and screen. Classwork focuses on rehearsal, performance, and the creation and production of scripts. The centerpiece of the process will be intensive scene study wherein the actor will focus primarily on process rather than product. This will require a high level of concentration and learning not only from individualized direct instruction but by watching other actors work intently. Moreover, this class provides the student with opportunities to develop skills in critical listening and thinking, ensemble work, and aesthetic awareness with an emphasis on techniques that are commonly practiced in college training programs and in the acting and writing professions. In addition to the production of scenes and plays from the seminal stages of development through the finished product on stage or screen, students will have the opportunity to develop fundamental group brainstorming abilities, an array of self-assessment skills, problem-solving skills; and development of 21st-century skills that will help students be successful after high school graduation, regardless of academic and career goals.

Jazz, Pep Band, Voxtones, and Valkyries are Music Dept. Clubs.  Tri-M is the Music Honor Society. Information is available on the VCHS Activities page.