Amherst Middle School
The Amherst Middle School Music Department
Students not enrolled in a music ensemble take General Music. General Music classes meet every other day and focus on music concepts such as melody, harmony, texture, range and tempo, as well as the creation of original compositions. This program adapts to various musical backgrounds and skill levels, while allowing all students to be simultaneously engaged. Cooperative learning among the students is encouraged. Students are taught to read and write music and perform on drums and keyboards.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ENSEMBLES
In the Amherst Middle School Music program, your child becomes part of a group whose success depends upon teamwork, cooperation, and individual accountability. The unique talents of all students are joined together to create a thriving and positive ensemble experience. In an ensemble, students learn a greater appreciation for the part others can play in their own successes, and vice versa.
The AMS Music Department offers three 'core' ensemble types- band, choir, and orchestra. All ensembles are curricular and meet during the school day.
There are also a variety of extra curricular ensembles that meet outside of the regular school day for interested students.
LESSONS: BAND, ORCHESTRA, AND CHOIR
Students are required to attend weekly 40-minute lessons on a rotating schedule during the school day. The music lesson is the heart of the instrumental music program; it is at this time that the student receives small group and individual instruction, which enables them to improve and refine their skills as a musician. In-school lessons are provided only to students who are members of Amherst Middle School ensembles. Only students enrolled in Choir 8 receive weekly lessons during the school day in addition to their ensemble period.
AMS BAND PROGRAM
The Middle School Band program offers two bands: 6th Grade Band, and Wind Ensemble (Grade 7-8). These two bands perform several concerts and assemblies throughout the year. All three groups often participate in major organization evaluation festivals held in the spring, such as NYSSMA.
The Middle School Band program also offers two Jazz groups. The Jazz Lab meets every Tuesday morning and is welcome for all band students. The group is primarily 6th graders but there are some 7th and 8th graders who participate. We play level 1 and 2 music and even take the students to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe each year. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Mr. Jeffrey Palmer and is an audition group. The group is primarily 7th and 8th graders who work on higher level jazz music along with improvisation. This group meets once a week on Wednesday mornings.
AMS CHORAL PROGRAM
The AMS Choral Program consists of the following: Chorus 6, Chorus 7-8, and Choir 8. Students enrolled in Chorus 6 are members of the sixth grade class and focus primarily on two-part singing, voice for soprano and alto (SA). Students enrolled in Chorus 7-8 are members of the seventh and eighth grade classes and begin to sing in three voice parts (SAB) with changing male voices performing their own voice part for the first time (baritone). Students enrolled in Choir 8 are members of the eighth grade class, and typically perform three voice part pieces, and also begin to study choral literature written in four parts (SATB), with the male voice part splitting into tenor and bass for the first time. Repertoire is chosen in alignment with national and state standards for music education. In all choral ensembles, students are exposed to a variety of musical styles through their concert repertoire, while also focusing on individual music reading abilities through sight-singing and music theory instruction.
AMS ORCHESTRA PROGRAM
The AMS Middle School Music Department offers the opportunity for all grade 6-8 string players to be in the string orchestra. The music selected for study offers students a wide variety of musical styles and genres. Skill development, musical knowledge, aesthetic exploration, and individual effort - combined with team-based pursuit of excellence - focuses learning through musical performance.
The Amherst Central Schools Department of Music Education serves as a resource for the development of musical knowledge, musical skills, aesthetic exploration, attitude development, and provides for the personal growth of each individual. The music curriculum is aligned with the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts as well as the National Music Standards.