East Lake High School offers a wide variety of music courses for our band students. Honors level courses are available at all grade levels however, an audition and Director approval is required. Course sign up is completed with your East Lake High School counselor. However, if you need information about a specific course, speak with Mr. Black.
Band (Levels 1–5)
East Lake High School band courses include the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble. The Concert Band and Wind Ensemble are the primary classes for the study of wind band literature. The Wind Ensemble is a select group of student musicians who perform a wide variety of advanced and challenging literature. Auditions may take place to determine placement into this group, or students may be selected at the discretion of the Director based on demonstrated ability and/or work ethic. Due to the nature of maintaining the Wind Ensemble’s size, not all members will be eligible to participate in the group, even if they are qualified. These students will act as mentors and leaders within the Concert Band. Instrumentalists enrolled in the Wind Ensemble class must be in the marching band.
The fundamentals of music are learned and taught through performance on a primary and/or secondary instrument. These ensembles are co-curricular, meaning after-school rehearsals and performances are graded.
Students will be evaluated on their progress through playing tests in class. A rubric is used which addresses, at minimum, the following: Tone Quality, Notes and Range, Intonation, Technical Facility, Articulation, Pulse/Rhythm, Dynamic Contrast, Phrasing, and Musicianship. In each category, a score can be awarded from 0 to 4, with 0 demonstrating a “lack of effort,” while a score of 4 is given to a truly masterful performance. Many times, these playing tests will be recorded. Due to the demands of these courses, it is highly recommended that students study privately.
Instrumental Techniques (Levels 1–5)
Instrumental Techniques is the course for all ELHS percussionists. The fundamentals of music are learned and taught through performance on ALL percussion instruments. This ensemble is co-curricular, meaning after-school rehearsals and performances are graded. Students will be evaluated on their progress through playing tests in class. Students will perform on mallet instruments, snare, and timpani, at minimum. However, days will be spent learning about the use of various accessories and other percussion instruments. Much of the class will focus on technique and guided study of performance on each instrument. Reading music is an essential skill of this class. A rubric similar to the one used for the concert bands will be used which awards points from 0 to 4, with 0 demonstrating a “lack of effort,” while a score of 4 is awarded to those who truly demonstrate excellence. Many times, these playing tests will be recorded. Due to the demands of this course, it is highly recommended that students study privately.
The East Lake High School Jazz Ensemble operates throughout the year. The membership is open to any ELHS student. However, at the Director’s discretion, auditions may take place to determine placement within the group.
Throughout the course, students will be challenged to develop their performance skills on their instrument while learning about the jazz idiom through participation in a Big Band. Listening to jazz daily is essential to developing an “ear” for various jazz styles. Improvisation will also be discussed, and the Jamey Aebersold book series will be referred to constantly. It is in the student’s best interest to purchase the Jamey Aebersold books written for instruments in the appropriate key. To develop improvisation, controlled, composed “improvisations” will be written out and performed by the ensemble.
Other Music Courses
AP Music Theory
AP Music Theory is open to all ELHS students. The AP Music Theory course corresponds to one or two semesters of a typical introductory college music theory course that covers topics such as musicianship, theory, musical materials, and procedures. Musicianship skills, including dictation and other listening skills, sight singing, and harmony, are considered an important part of the course. Through the course, students develop the ability to recognize, understand, and describe basic materials and processes of tonal music that are heard or presented in a score. Development of aural skills is a primary objective. Performance is also part of the curriculum through the practice of sight singing. Students understand basic concepts and terminology by listening to and performing a wide variety of music. Notational skills, speed, and fluency with basic materials are also emphasized. [College Board]
There are no prerequisite courses for AP Music Theory. However, students should be able to read and write musical notation, and it is strongly recommended that the student has acquired at least basic performance skills in voice or on an instrument. [College Board]
Mr. Black has been teaching AP Music Theory since 2010 and has one of the highest pass rates in the county.
Pinellas County Schools pays for student AP examinations. District policy requires that all AP students take the end of the year examination in May.
Music Production Technology
Music Production Technology is open to all ELHS students. This program focuses on understanding and demonstration of the following elements of the Music Production Technology industry: planning, management, finance, technical and product skills, underlying principles of technology, labor issues, community issues and health, safety, and environmental issues.