Ensembles include Jr. and Sr. Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Choir and String Orchestra. Music Classes include Guitar, Vocal Techniques, Composition and Rock School
September is the time get involved in the PMSS music dept.…anyone can join!! Band, Jazz Band, Choir, and String Orchestra are all part of our extended school day, so you shouldn’t have any conflicts with any other classes.
The Junior Concert Band meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 7:20 and includes any student in grades 9-12 who is interested, even if you do not have previous experience playing a band instrument.
The Community Band includes students who are in grades 11 and 12, but may also include exceptional younger students from grade 9 and 10. The Community Band meets on Tuesday evenings from 7-9 and on Thursdays in Block 6 and includes adults from the neighbourhood, many of whom graduated from PMSS.
The String Orchestra includes students in grade 9-12 from PMSS as well as some community members. They rehearse on Tuesday nights from 6-8PM and on Thursdays in Block 6.
There is a Senior Jazz Band, an Intermediate Jazz Band, a Junior Jazz Band, and one community jazz band (the Inlet Jazz Band). The student jazz bands meet two to three days per week at lunch (each Jazz Band meets on specific days). Students are released from their Block 2 class 10 minutes early at the Band Bell, and rehearse at lunch time.
Choir welcomes even the shyest singers as well as experienced vocalists. There is something for everyone, boys and girls alike. No experience is required. In choir, you will learn to find your singing voice, fine-tune your listening skills and learn what it really means to be in harmony with other people. Choir meets at lunchtime on Tuesdays, Thursdays and alternating Fridays in the music room. Bring a friend!
Guitar class is an excellent opportunity to begin learning how to play guitar or to challenge yourself and take your guitar playing to the next level. Learning how to play guitar is designed to be open ended, so that there are challenges for all levels of player.
Vocal Techniques class is designed for solo singers, but there will be lots of ensemble concepts introduced, as well as all of the tricks to getting that sound that you hear in your head to come out your mouth. Not offered in 2015/16 school year, but stay tuned for 2016/17 course selections.
Rock School - guides the rock band experience, answering questions and providing suggestions and examples that otherwise might take years to figure out. Performance, songwriting, sound reinforcement, finding your creative voice and many other aspects of rock musicianship are addressed.
Performance Courses Preview
Band - Band is a performance ensemble…the goal is to prepare for performances. Students develop their instrumental skills over time with developmentally appropriate music. I will also demonstrate musical skills by singing and by playing an instrument (trumpet, trombone, etc.) and directing the band. Both bands will receive sheet music during the course of the year. I will be choosing the music that is the appropriate difficulty for the students, that is challenging, and that works thematically for upcoming concerts. Assessment - Band students receive a letter grade and an effort mark each term. My evaluation of their skills is based on the Instrument Performance Rubric (see attached). The students also use the rubric for self-evaluation. The students will demonstrate their skills performing scales as well as selections from the method book(s) and sheet music. Students will complete a practice sheet so that I can assess how much homework is done.
Jazz Band – The Jazz Bands are also performance ensembles, but they have a few different elements than concert bands. The styles of music that the jazz bands experience include, swing, jazz, ballad, Latin, etc. and everyone in the band is responsible for his/her own part. That means that, for most of the time, each member of the band is the only person contributing those notes and rhythms. In other words, every musician is responsible for their own part, and so attendance and commitment is even more crucial. In jazz band, all of the students will have opportunities to improvise, ie. make up their own notes and rhythms on the spot. This is probably the coolest part of playing in a jazz band.
Choir - In choir, students develop their love of singing through learning and performing a variety of high quality choral music. The experience of contributing one's voice to create a powerful and moving sound is unequalled. Assessment - Students in choir will be evaluated for their contribution to the ensemble, the development of their singing and musical skills through regular observation, class participation and attendance. Every rehearsal builds on the skills learned in the previous rehearsal, which makes attendance a number one priority, particularly since we often only rehearse twice a week.
Strings – The String Orchestra is a performance ensemble as well. The String Orchestra gives students a chance to explore all the possibilities of the rich, beautiful-sounding family of string instruments. Also the vast library of music for string orchestra gives students the opportunity to explore many styles of music. Challenging and exciting music will be provided for students of all ability levels.
Expectations of Band, Orchestra and Choir Students
Practicing (Band) - Practicing should not be expected to be fun…Practicing is hard and challenging work that requires discipline. It is the result of this practice that is rewarding and fun. Parents will often need to help students develop the habits necessary for success. - In September, for beginning players,10-15 minutes is tons…students can add five minutes per month to a half hour daily practice. - 10 minutes daily is much preferable to 2 hours on Sunday - students can warm up with some music that they know - practice new and difficult music slowly - end practice session with something that is enjoyable and preferably memorized - play along with CD’s and recordings online…listen, play along, try to match quality of sound, articulation, phrasing, etc. Rehearsals – often ONLY TWO TIMES PER WEEK - Students need to arrive early to sign in, set up and warm up (5-10 minutes) - Attendance at rehearsals is the #1 key to success!!!
Concerts - Attendance is mandatory, compulsory, and essential!! An absence from a concert will cost up to 5% of the students term mark! An timely email from a parent informing a student’s absence will significantly reduce the penalty. We are a TEAM! Team players fulfill our expectations by practicing regularly, by being prepared for rehearsals (on time, with instruments, music, fingering charts, and a pencil, etc.), and by wearing our band/choir uniform neatly tucked in at all performances. Our uniform is ALL BLACK (including socks / shoes) with teal accessories (bow ties and cummer bunds). Concerts are our way of celebrating our hard work and dedication to the musical team.
Performances for band, strings, and choir may include:
(Please see school calendar for specific event dates and times)
*Fall Concert – Usually at the end of October/beginning of November – Concert Ensembles (no jazz groups)
*Remembrance Day – Band, Strings, and Choir – The ceremony takes place in the morning on the school day prior to November 11.
*Christmas Concert(s) – Tuesday Night before the Christmas Break.
*Choirs in SD43 traditionally meet in December to perform for each other and celebrate making music and the holiday season.
Jazz Band Leader, Composer, Arranger and Trumpet player Fred Stride will conduct a clinic for all Jazz Band students on Friday, February 5
*Spring Concerts – Jazz Cabaret (on a Tuesday night two weeks before Spring Break) and Spring Concert ( on a Tuesday night one week before Spring Break).
*Year End Concerts - Jazz Night (on a Tuesday night at the beginning of June) and Spring Concert ( on a Tuesday night one week later).
*District Jazz Dance – usually in the first week of June – jazz groups from all over the district come together to perform for each other, dance and have a good time.
* The Kiwanis Music Festival is an adjudicated performance that some of the ensembles from PMSS will attend in May.
*Ladner Bandfest is a fun performance opportunity for the Community Band that happens in June.
* District Band and Orchestra Day happens in at Rocky Point Park, Lafarge Lake, or Lions Park at the end of May.
Goals - One goal that I have this year is to improve how band, orchestra, and choir are valued by students and parents at PMSS. My biggest pet peeve is when students miss band, orchestra, or choir because they are doing incomplete homework. Academics are important, but if you haven't completed your math homework, it only affects you…if you miss band, orchestra, or choir, your absence affects our musical team. Attendance at rehearsals is the most important key to success in band, orchestra, and choir!! I hope to improve the achievement of band, orchestra, and choir students by selecting fun, challenging and musically rewarding music to rehearse and perform. Music Ensembles are cooperative team activities and team players make it to rehearsal regularly. My expectations of the students include regular punctual attendance and regular home practice.
Parents – Parents are the #1 reason that kids are successful. Your enthusiasm and support for our music program will allow our students, your sons and daughters, to realize their potential. Your encouragement for our young musicians to get to rehearsal regularly and punctually makes all the difference in the world. Attendance at concerts for our students is of paramount importance of course, but you can demonstrate your value of your sons’/daughters’ achievements simply by attending their performances. We hope to see you regularly next year!
Andrew Clark and Mike Luniw – Music Directors