Course Catalog » VAPA - Music

VAPA - Music

Students learn how music is constructed and developed, and acquire a basic understanding of the structural, technical, and historical elements of music. Student theorists develop basic ear-training, keyboard, and functional singing skills, and engage in the creative process through individual and collaborative projects. Public performances may serve as a resource for specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend one or more performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom.

Students with prior music theory training study composition, form, and analysis, and develop individual aural skills. The aural, analytical, and cognitive skills expanded in this class inform the serious musician’s performance abilities over a variety of styles and genres. Public performances may serve as a resource for specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend one or more performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. The purpose of this course is to enable students to develop knowledge of the application of music structures and elements in varied music styles and genres. Emphasis will be on ear training, composition, and analysis.

The AP Music Theory course focuses on concepts and skills emphasized within introductory college music theory courses, with the goal of helping students become sophisticated and thoughtful music listeners, performers, and composers. AP Music Theory students learn to recognize, understand, describe, and produce the basic elements and processes of performed and notated music. To become proficient with these skills, students need to consistently practice applying course concepts through aural analysis, score analysis, sight-singing, dictation, and composition.

Students with little or no experience develop basic guitar skills and knowledge, including simple and full-strum chords, bass lines and lead sheets, barre and power chords, foundational music literacy and theory, major scales, simple finger-picking patterns, and ensemble skills for a variety of music. Beginning guitarists explore the careers and music of significant performers in a variety of styles. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. This course may also require students to obtain a musical instrument (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) from an outside source.



Students with experience on an instrument suited for jazz ensemble explore the fundamentals of performance practices, improvisation, and music theory through a diverse repertoire of high-quality jazz literature. Students learn the basics of foundational jazz styles, use chord symbols, develop knowledge of musical structure, and study the history of jazz and its iconic musicians. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source. Enrollment in the appropriate Instrumental Techniques class is required.


Students with jazz experience become conversant with basic chord progressions and the scale/chord relationship, strengthen aural skills and learn to improvise and compose melodies over progressions as they rehearse, perform, and study high-quality jazz ensemble literature. Musicians study jazz history and become familiar with the cultural context of various compositions and artists. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source.

Enrollment in the appropriate Instrumental Techniques class is required.

Students with considerable jazz experience become conversant with more complex forms and harmonic progressions and strengthen their aural and improvisational skills as they rehearse, perform, and study high-quality jazz ensemble literature. Musicians apply their theory skills to arranging, transposition, and composting; and study various periods, cultural contexts, compositions, and artists in jazz history. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source. Enrollment in the appropriate Instrumental Techniques class is required.


Students with significant jazz experience become highly conversant with complex harmonic structures; compose or arrange for small groups; improvise over various forms, keys, and styles; and are knowledgeable about the professional jazz scene and its icons. Musicians study the impact of technology on jazz and the music industry and learn the basics of sound reinforcement for solo and ensemble performance. In keeping with the rigor expected in an Honors course, students undertake an independent study that includes synthesis of learning and experience. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source. This ensemble performs regularly at functions throughout the community. Students for this ensemble are selected by the Director and/or audition only.

Enrollment in the appropriate Instrumental Techniques class is required.

Students who have at least one year of orchestral experience study, rehearse and perform high-quality orchestra literature. Rehearsals focus on the development of critical listening skills, basic string techniques, music literacy, ensemble skills, and aesthetic awareness in the context of relevant history and cultures. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source.

Students who have at least one year of orchestral experience study, rehearse and perform high-quality orchestra literature. Rehearsals focus on the development of critical listening skills, basic string techniques, music literacy, ensemble skills, and aesthetic awareness in the context of relevant history and cultures. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source.

Students build on previous orchestral experience through the study and performance of high-quality orchestra literature. Rehearsals focus on the strengthening of critical listening skills, musicianship, string techniques, ensemble skills, and aesthetic awareness in the context of relevant history and cultures. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source.

Students with intermediate-level proficiency in string techniques, music literacy, critical listening skills, and musicianship study, rehearse and perform high-quality orchestra literature. Student musicians strengthen their reflective, analytical, and problem-solving skills to self-diagnose solutions to performance challenges based on their structural, historical, and cultural understanding of the music. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Students in this class may need to obtain (e.g., borrow, rent, purchase) an instrument from an outside source.

This year-long, formative class, designed for students with previous participation in a school chorus who have basic knowledge of note-reading and vocal technique, concentrates on providing students opportunities to strengthen existing skills in critical listening, vocal techniques, and ensemble performance using high-quality three- and four-part choral literature. Rehearsals focus on gaining independence in music literacy and aesthetic engagement through critical listening and thinking skills.

This year-long, intermediate-level class is designed for students with previous participation in a high school chorus and moderate skills in critical listening, vocal techniques, music literacy, and choral performance. Rehearsals focus on enhancing these skills and students' aesthetic engagement with music through a variety of high-quality three- and four-part choral literature, providing students with the means to learn how to reflect and use a combination of analytical, assessment, and problem-solving skills consistently to improve their own and others' performance.

This year-long, advanced class is designed for students with previous participation in a high school chorus who have demonstrated a capacity for developing advanced listening/aural skills and advanced knowledge of vocal techniques, musical literacy, and choral performance. Chorus 5 focuses on the development and application of these skills and provides opportunities for aesthetic engagement and making individual musical choices, where appropriate while preparing a variety of high-quality choral literature.

This year-long, very advanced class is designed for students who have demonstrated a capacity for developing very advanced listening/aural skills and performance techniques, as well as very advanced knowledge of vocal techniques, musical literacy, ensemble skills, and related musical knowledge. Chorus 6 focuses on managing, mastering, and refining these skills and techniques through a variety of high-quality choral literature at a high level of aesthetic engagement. Musical independence and student leadership are promoted through significant opportunities for peer mentoring, solo work, and participation as a performer, conductor, or coach in a small or large ensemble.

Students with little or no experience in a vocal ensemble develop basic musicianship and ensemble performance skills through the study of basic, high-quality music in diverse styles. Student musicians focus on building foundational music techniques, music literacy, listening skills, and aesthetic awareness. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom. Emphasis will be placed on vocal independence, expressiveness, and stylistic authenticity.

Students with previous vocal ensemble experience continue building musicianship and performance skills through the study of high-quality music in diverse styles. Student musicians learn to self-assess and collaborate as they rehearse, perform, and study relevant musical styles and time periods. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom.

Students strengthen vocal ensemble performance skills, music literacy, and analytical skills through the study of high-quality music in diverse styles. Student musicians learn to self-assess and collaborate as they rehearse, perform, and study relevant history and cultures. Public performances may serve as a culmination of specific instructional goals. Students may be required to attend and/or participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom.

Centers upon the listening experience, building a vocabulary for the discussion of musical and socio-cultural issues and encouraging the use of shared concepts in personal self-expression. The class will feature lectures, group discussions, and viewing a series of videos.