CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts - Multimedia and Performing

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Music Academy

Mission Statement

The Music Department at CHAMPS Charter High School for the Arts is designed to give students a holistic education of music that both enhances their instrumental or vocal techniques, as well as their understanding of musical history and theory. To prepare them either for entrance to a university-level music program or music conservatory, or for entering the professional world of music, students study composition, theory, history, ear training and dictation, and both individual and ensemble performance techniques. Students are introduced to traditional as well as contemporary classical music, world music, jazz, and film and theatrical music through their studies. The creative ensemble course allows students to individually improve their technical skills on their instrument, as well as expand their skills as a composer, through the writing and performances of student-created pieces. Instrumental performance opportunities come through the intermediate and advanced jazz, creative ensemble, and percussion ensemble classes.


Instrumental Ensembles: 

Jazz Ensemble Course Description

Jazz ensemble will perform material from various periods of  jazz music history. Featuring Swing, Ragtime, Blues, Latin Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Rock and Funk.

Students will achieve an enhanced appreciation of the history and events surrounding the creation of this music through lectures and documentaries shown in class. Students will rehearse and perform pieces from these forms of music. Students will also be afforded the opportunity to create their own compositions in these various styles.


Percussion Ensemble Course Description   

This course will explore the fundamentals of percussion  performance. Exploration into the performance  techniques and literature for all instruments of the  percussion family will be the focus of the course,  including snare drum, timpani, the mallet keyboard  (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone), Drum- Set, and  various Latin & African percussion. A variety of  techniques for each instrument will be discussed, and  the musical interpretation of excerpts, etudes, solos  and ensemble literature will be explored. 


Advanced Creative Ensemble  

In this ensemble of mixed instrumentation the students will be developing their  own music with the assistance of the teacher.  Collaborative projects with other departments ( Drama,Dance, etc.) are an important feature of this ensemble. This class will teach students how to compose and arrange music with a new approach. This will be an interactive class requiring students to begin composing within the first few lessons. Knowledge plus real experience simultaneously are the goals of this course. 


Piano & Music Theory I Course Description

Introductory piano for the music major with little or no prior keyboard study. Emphasizes development of basic keyboard skills, music reading, and conceptual understanding pertinent to early level study. Includes introduction to transposition, harmonization, sight-reading, improvisation, and basic keyboard repertoire.

Introductory studies in music theory including fundamentals, figured bass , analysis of small structures and music writing. Emphasis on diatonic harmony.


Piano & Music Theory II Course Description

Continued group piano study for the non-keyboard music major. Emphasizes major and minor scales, arpeggios, chord inversions, seventh chords, modes, and pedaling, as well as further exploration of transposition, harmonization, sight reading, improvisation, and later elementary-level repertoire.

Continued studies in music theory including figured bass realization, analysis of small forms and music writing. Emphasis on diatonic harmony.


Advanced Music Theory Course Description

This rigorous course covers advanced elements of music theory, music history, analysis, rhythmic, melodic and harmonic dictation, and ear training in an effort to bolster students’ current knowledge of music theory. Topics include (but are not limited to) scales, parallel and relative modes, chords and inversions, figured bass, modulations, basic elements of composition, harmonic progressions, cadences, and score organization. While we cover music history starting in early Greece and Rome, our detailed analysis will focus more on 20th century musicians and composers. 

Choral Music Ensembles:



Level 1 Vocal Techniques


Students develop basic vocal technique skills, sight-reading, ear training, and music reading.  This course will include topics such as: body mapping, breath control, intonation, vowel formation, diction, and musicality.  A focus on two and three part choral singing will enhance these concepts.  


Level 2 Vocal Techniques


Level 2 Vocal students will continues to develop their singing voices, ensemble singing skills, and musical literacy.  We will focus on music history, various genres and styles, while developing self-discipline, concentration, and cooperation. A great deal of class time is spent on vocal and musical techniques as well as performance standards, and these will be demonstrated in performances throughout the school year.


Choir Level 1/2


This organization is the entry-level choir for both male and female students interested in vocal music performance.  It is also an outlet for the student who enjoys singing for his or her own pleasure.  The following musical skills for ensemble singing will be stressed:  proper breathing, vocal production, blend and balance, expansion of range, good intonation, ear training, and sight-reading. Various styles of choral literature will be explored which will prepare for membership in one of the higher level ensembles. Participation in various performances and festivals is a requirement of the class.


Choir Level 3/4


This Ensemble is for the most advanced music academy vocalists and a serious approach to choral music will be taken. Special attention is given to the rudiments of correct singing, sight-reading skills, and music theory. Students participate in various performances and festivals throughout the year.  Three, four, and five part choral literature from all genres will be studied, analyzed, and performed.  


Select Ensemble 


This course is a subset of Choir Level 3/4 designed for level 3/4 music academy vocalists.  Select Ensemble is for students with advanced vocal skills and a serious approach to music. Special attention is given to the rudiments of correct singing, sight-reading skills, and music theory. Genres more suitable for smaller chamber ensembles will be performed.  Students will perform at various school functions and concerts throughout the year.