Eighth grade offered new music options

For as long as middle school students can remember, music lessons consisted of a split block of choir and band/orchestra. This year the music department decided to do something a little different for eighth graders  – music options. Every Day 3, eighth grade students will go to their chosen music elective instead of choir, band, or orchestra. The options were chosen through the form of a survey and students have been going to their assigned classes since then.

(Photo by Anya Tchelikidi)


Teacher: Ms. Ross

Location: School Center

The basics: In Acapella, students do a lot of improvisation games and warm-ups in which they create and build patterns, which makes them take more music related risks. Students in Acapella are also working on a big final project where they arrange a piece for the Winter Concert. “Hopefully, (students will take away) a new sense of confidence about what they can do,” said Ms. Ross, “too often, we watch Glee or Pentatonix and we put these people on a pedestal, but really any of us are capable of doing this with practice and a lot of teamwork. If they can walk away with that confidence then that’s the most important thing.”

(Photo by Sonia Shuster)

Music Tech Composition

Teacher: Ms. Davis

Location: MPR2

The basics: In Music Tech Composition, Ms. Davis teaches the class how to arrange music using Garageband. “We’re using Garageband to explore some of the ideas that come up in composition,” said Ms. Davis. “We’re talking about concepts and structure. We’re talking about how melodies use repetition and contrast.” Ms. Davis hopes that her class will make all student musicians stronger at everything they do in music, including noticing patterns and the use of repetition in band, orchestra, and choir.

(Photo by Anya Tchelikidi)


Teacher: Mr. Graham

Location: Orange 211

The basics: Keyboarding is an introduction to the Yamaha (PSR-E213) electric keyboard. The class is using the keyboard as a way to play melodies and songs both by ear and reading standard music notation. “I would like for (my students) to know and understand that picking out songs or tunes by ear is just like an artist doodling or making rough sketches, and in addition to being good fun is an important part of being a musician,” says Mr. Graham, “I would also like students to realize that they do not have to have formal piano lessons to explore and figure out their favorite songs and even the harmonies on a keyboard.”

(Photo by Anya Tchelikidi)

Instrument Creation Lab

Teacher: Mrs. Stock

Location: The MILL

The basics: “In the Instrument Creation lab, students have researched instruments that they could make in the Mill and decided on a project to tackle this term,” says Mrs. Stock, “After the instruments are built, we will explore their sounds through improvisation.” Mrs. Stock would like students to realize how much time, hard work, and detail goes into making an instrument, as well as to see that they have the ability to create instruments themselves with proper planning and execution.

Music Tech Composition by Sonia Shuster, all others by Anya Tchelikidi.

About Sonia Shuster ('21)

Arts Editor (2016-2017)

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