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Music Department Handbook


The Ensemble, Director, Musician, and Parent...


An Ensemble is the group of musicians (band, chorus, and orchestra). 


The Director is the professional music educator who is in charge of each ensemble

and serves as teacher, conductor, and mentor to the ensemble.

  • The Band Directors work with those students who play wind, brass, or percussion instruments.

  • The Orchestra Director works with those students who play string instruments.

  • The Choir Director works with those students who utilize their voice as an instrument.

  • The Musicians are the students who are enrolled in each ensemble.

    • Beginner Musicians have had no previous instruction.

    • Intermediate Musicians have had previous instruction but are not yet proficient on their instrument.

    • Advanced Musicians have had enough previous instruction to be proficient on their instrument.

  • The Parents play a supportive role in their child’s music education. Parents mentor and support their children’s practice and performance at home and make the third member of the performer’s team.


The Three-Way Partnership


The Passage Middle School Performing Arts department is here for three reasons: 1) To promote musicianship in a fun and enjoyable manner, 2) To create a three- way partnership between teacher, parent, and student, and 3) To be successful in the Performing Arts.


Parents: The key to success for each and every student musician is the three-way partnership. As you can see, this is the connection between promoting musicianship as fun and enjoyable and being successful! In other words, you are the link and will make the difference between success and non-success.


The Ensembles


Bands, Orchestra, and Chorus (also known as your Music Class)

These are the classes that you have signed-up for.  In order to be a music student, you must belong to one of these classes.  Based on your level of musicianship, being a member of one of these classes allows you to become eligible to be a member of some of the different ensembles listed below.


Symphony Orchestra

Students who are members of the Advanced Band, Advanced Orchestra, and/or Chamber Orchestra, will be assigned to the Symphony Orchestra.  The Symphony Orchestra, at Passage Middle School, is a full orchestra comprised of winds, brass, percussion, and string musicians.  Students assigned to the Symphony Orchestra will perform at additional performances, and/or competitions.  For more information about the Symphony Orchestra, please click here.


IMPORTANT:  Because of the relationship that Orchestra and Band musicians have within the Symphony Orchestra, it is our expectation that all Orchestra and Band musicians will work cooperatively throughout the entire school year, regardless of their grade or performance level.


Percussion Ensemble

Students who are members of the Advanced Band Percussion Section will be assigned to the Percussion Ensemble, if time permits.  The Percussion Ensemble performs music that has been composed for percussion instruments.


Panther Pride Chorus

The Panther Pride Chorus is made up of students who are in 7th and/or 8th Grade Choir.  This ensemble represents Passage Middle School in concerts, at Choir Assessment, and at a Music in the Parks Competition in the Spring.


Piano Lab Class

The Piano Lab Class is available to eighth graders who want a different musical experience than being in a performing ensemble.  Students learn in a smaller classroom setting, working in small groups to learn how to play the piano.  Students will also gain a wealth of information about music theory.


Concert Assessment

The Concert Assessment Season runs from Mid-December through Mid-March. During this season, Intermediate and Advanced Orchestra and Band musicians will focus solely on Concert Assessment, and other ensembles, such as Symphony Orchestra, will likely not rehearse.  More information is included on Concert Assessment in it's section of this handbook.


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