Augusta High School Instrumental Music

Band will be a two-part class for the first Semester. The first part of the semester will entail focus and concentration on preparation of the marching program. The second part will be focused on developing concert band techniques and preparation for the holiday concert, as well as audition and placement. Semester 2 will focus on preparing for the remaining concerts throughout the year, as well as any other performances. Placement in the Augusta High School Concert Band is determined through audition. This class places strong emphasis on the technical and musical abilities of its students in being able to perform literature appropriate to the level of the Symphonic Band members. Musical style and individual performance are also required to exhibit proper musical techniques that are necessary for the level of the Concert Band. Time outside of class is required.

Jazz Ensemble
Jazz ensemble is a year-long course based focusing on the art of jazz.  Enrollment is limited in this course due to the instrumental demands of the standard model for the traditional “big band” (trumpets, trombones, saxophones, piano, bass, guitar, and drums).  The Augusta High School Jazz Ensemble’s two-part mission is to; 1) educate students about the art and performance of jazz, and 2) provide entertainment for community events.  Due to the size and versatility of this group, the jazz ensemble is able to be flexible enough to play in a variety of different settings.  Due to the demands of the repertoire, this course is reserved only for the serious and competent student musicians.

Instructional Philosophy
Music is a gift from God that should be cherished and experienced.  I feel that I can teach many of life’s most important lessons through this medium.  Besides the sheer love and appreciation of the art, I look back at my own life to see what music has given to me.  I understand the world and its people better because I look at the type of music and art that is significant to them.  I have learned to work as a team with my colleagues because I’ve played in many ensembles where my fellow musicians and I have had to rely on each other.  I’ve learned the art of patience and discipline through working on complex repertoire that I wasn’t able to perform instantly.  The joy and satisfaction of all of these aspects, and more, are life skills and lessons that I wish to share with my students.

My classroom is framed by a series of routines, spiced with new and exhilarating activities.  Students know exactly how class begins (a series of warm-ups rooted in music fundamentals) and ends (putting materials away including instruments & music). I am a sworn believer that fundamentals build better bands.  During concert band, I spend a significant amount of time during the first portion of the class teaching proper tone production, technical/scale exercises, and ensemble sound training.  After the warm-up, we move on to music that we are preparing for performance.  The music that I choose is a mix of repertoire that is 1) “good-for-you” music that students aren’t able to play upon sight-reading, and 2) instantly enjoyable to them.  In either case, I am always able to choose musical concepts to teach from the repertoire.  I suppose that I’m selfish in that the common correlation in all of the music that the band plays must be something that I enjoy personally.

These learning activities aren’t any different than most band programs anywhere.  What sets my class apart is my use of humor, passion for the music, and the mutual respect that occurs from my interaction with the students both on and off the podium.  I bring a great deal of passion to the podium.  Musicians respond to what they see.  If I direct in a bland and uninspiring manner, I know that I will get exactly what I’m showing.  Beethoven once said, “Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.”  How can I conjure those emotions unless I feel it myself?  Students appreciate this and show it through their instruments.

Major Course Goals

1.      Educational: To develop interested and discriminating listeners and provide a well-rounded musical background.

2.      Service: To lend color and atmosphere to certain athletic and community events, while promoting and enhancing the dignity and reputation of the school at all appearances.

3.      Recreational: To provide all students at the school with an opportunity to be more involved in high school, for a worthy use of leisure time and good social experiences.

4.      Fun: To work hard, enjoy learning, and have fun. The students are given opportunities they may never have in other settings, while enjoying the true meaning of music and performance.