AMS Curricular Ensembles

  • 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 Amherst Middle School 6th Grade band contains students in 6th grade who have finished played in 4th and 5th grade band. There are usually around 80 students each year for this ensemble. We start the year by playing level 1 and 1 1/2 band music. As the year progresses we venture into level 2 literature in preparation of the NYSSMA Major Organizational Festival. At the end of the school year we are playing level 2 and sometimes level 3 pieces of music. The group meets every other school day for 40 minutes to rehearse. Here is a link to the 2020-2021 Band Handbook

    Below: Matthew Murak was awarded the 2019-2020 Band Musician of the Year Award. His performance of the Star Spangled Banner was incorporated into the AMS 2020 Moving Up Day Ceremony.

2019-20 Band Musician of the Year Award Winner


    Concert Band provides an opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students to develop their music skills in a large ensemble setting. Students will learn how to play together as a group while developing their musicianship and knowledge of music theory and music history. Concert Band performs in 5 concerts a year including a NYSSMA Major Organization Evaluation. Occasionally, selected students may be asked to perform with Full Orchestra. Members of this class have other opportunities available including Jazz Ensemble and Small Ensemble opportunities, which meet outside the regular school day. This class will enhance student interest in the arts while developing the musical education of all its participants. The band includes Flute, Clarinets, Saxophones, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, and Percussion. The full rehearsal is on B day, and students with availability in their schedules will also rehearse on A day. Since concert Band is a continuation skills, it is required that students complete the requirements of 6th Grade band as a pre-requisite. Players in this group are required to take weekly school lesson instruction on their instrument. Click here to view the Band Handbook.


    All students grades 6th-8th music come to a weekly lesson on their primary instrument. They are required to practice 30 minutes a night on material assigned by their lesson teacher. The assignments include warm-up exercises, tonguing and articulation exercises, lesson book material, etudes, major scales and chromatic scales, sight-reading, band music and solos. Students are encouraged to work on a solo so they can tryout for All County and the NYSSMA spring solo festival. Each quarter the students must playing a performance exam which includes all the assignments covered during that quarter. Students are also required to attend concerts and complete anywhere from 1-4 concert report forms a year.


    Chorus 6: A group of approximately 100 6th grade students; three concert performances per school year
    Chorus 7-8: A group of approximately 150 7th and 8th grade students; four concert performances per school year
    Choir 8: A group of approximately 45 8th grade students; also receives vocal labs once per week on a rotating schedule; four concert performances per school year.


    The Amherst Middle School Orchestra program provides students with an opportunity to play an instrument in a variety of settings. Students learn to play together as a group various orchestral pieces as well as solo literature specific to their instrument. Students develop an appreciation for music and are instilled with a desire for lifelong learning in the arts. The 6th Grade Orchestra and 7-8 Orchestra each received a rating of ‘Gold with Distinction’ at the 2016 NYSSMA Major Organization Festival.


    Students not enrolled in a music ensemble take General Music. All General Music classes 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.

    For a look at our curriculum handbook, written by Mr. Paul Biddle, please click here.