Fine Arts Graduation Requirement: Three Credits total from the fine arts (art, music, and/or drama)

We believe that music is basic to the human experience and an integral part of a complete education. All students, regardless of ability, should have an opportunity to participate in music and develop their individual talents. By balancing skill acquisition with artistic expression, we strive to help each student maximize his or her musical potential. Students' involvement in music making fosters life skills such as leadership ability, self-discipline, problem solving, cooperation and community building. The ultimate goal of the Mounds Park Academy Music Department is to cultivate within our students a lifelong appreciation and commitment to music.

Courses Offered

Course offerings are contingent on MPA policies regarding student enrollment numbers for each class.

Grades: 9–12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Previous Orchestra experience or private lessons, must also play in Upper School Orchestra

Accountability and leadership are the main components of Chamber Orchestra. Students choose to audition for this ensemble and commit to additional practicing and rehearsals throughout the school year. Chamber Orchestra provides students with the opportunity to play in quartets or quintets as well as a smaller orchestra setting. Students develop leadership in their section and a greater understanding of the importance of each person within a smaller ensemble. Three performances, including a Pajamarama concert for younger children, provide students with the opportunity to share the progress they make throughout the course of the year.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Two or more years of previous playing experience on a band instrument or approval of the instructor.

Since the early 1900’s, the school band has been a primary component in American music education. Students learn about music through active participation as performers. The major objectives of Concert Band include providing a quality large group instrumental performing opportunity by striving for precision, proper intonation and musical sensitivity; developing a broader enjoyment and appreciation for various types and styles of instrumental music; and offering students the opportunity to progress at their own pace with direction by requiring bi-weekly semi-private lessons. Small ensemble music (chamber music) is also incorporated when possible to provide students with a balanced instrumental experience. Attendance at all concerts and contests is required.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Admission through audition and simultaneous enrollment in Concert Band.

Jazz music plays a unique and important role as an authentic American art form, and the study of jazz music provides a fascinating look into the cultural and historic aspects of the early 20th century in America. Jazz Ensemble offers trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, bass, guitar, and percussion players the opportunity to explore and perform the many varied forms of popular and jazz music developed throughout the eras of jazz history. It provides further opportunity for those who wish to develop their instrumental skills by allowing greater self-expression through improvisation in a smaller ensemble medium unique to the art of jazz performance. Participation in all concerts is required, and auditions are held in the spring for the following year.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Approval of instructor and simultaneous enrollment in Concert Band.

Performing in a percussion ensemble provides many benefits to percussion students that may not be realized in the traditional large group experience. The small group setting of Percussion Ensemble allows students to develop advanced performance techniques on a wide variety of instruments and promotes teamwork, collaboration, and camaraderie within the section. A strong emphasis is placed on performing a diverse range of compositions (Western, non-Western, and novelty) to give the students a varied experience. Participation in all scheduled concerts is required.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Previous Orchestra experience or private lessons

Dedication to one’s art or craft requires practice and the desire to improve each day. Upper School Orchestra emphasizes the importance of each student putting time and effort into developing a high level of playing as an individual and ensemble. Through practicing in sectionals, large group rehearsals, and on an individual basis, students continue to develop their skills with shifting, vibrato and overall technical ability. Three performances, including a Pajamarama concert for younger children, provide students with the opportunity to share the progress they make throughout the course of the year.

Grades: Grades 9-12

Prerequisites: Approval of instructor and simultaneous enrollment in Concert Band.

Credit: One-half Credit

Chamber music, or small ensemble playing, provides students a unique and valuable experience in their music education. Woodwind Ensemble offers flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn players the opportunity to explore and perform music written for a smaller setting specific to those instruments. It provides further opportunity for those who wish to develop their instrumental skills by placing greater emphasis on individual parts and independent playing. Through the performance of chamber music, students cultivate critical listening and thinking skills as they work collaboratively to prepare their music for performance. Participation in all scheduled concerts is required.