Our Program Philosophy
A musical ensemble relies on the contributions of all of the individuals within it, and it is assumed that all members accept the responsibilities that come from being an essential member of a team. An ensemble cannot function otherwise. That is why the single biggest emphasis in our department is on the development of a sense of responsibility to our musical community. While improving their individual skills obviously requires each student to develop good habits and self- discipline through individual practice, students are also expected to work together at all levels. A student who graduates from Point Grey’s music program is expected to display a commitment to their ensemble, and strive to attain the highest standards possible on behalf of their group.
Our collective goal is to provide a learning environment that is safe, comfortable, and supportive to allow our students the confidence to take the risks necessary to realize their potential.
Point Grey’s Music Department is made up of roughly 350 students, who participate in a wide variety of musical areas. Our performance-based courses in Concert Band, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Strings, and Vocal Jazz are intended as introductions to the skills and concepts needed to experiment and learn in the various musical genres. From grades 8 to 12, students are trained not only in the technical aspects of musical performance, but also receive requisite training in musical theory and history as it relates to the repertoire.
Each ensemble faces many challenges at the beginning of each new school year. Most groups are made up of students who come from varying musical backgrounds, and have completely different levels of experience and ability. For some it is their first time in a large ensemble, their first time on a new instrument, or their first time with a new teacher. We have beginners entering at every level of ensemble.
Music students can expect:
- to be given teaching and encouragement regardless of natural ability
- to be encouraged to participate in school activities both inside and outside the music department and to be supported in making compromises where there are conflicts
- to participate in at least three performances, one of which will be located outside the school
- to learn a large number of musical selections in a variety of styles
- to be tested on your knowledge of the parts you play and on other general musical information that is presented in class
- to perform at a high standard
- to have available all the details of each method of evaluation in each course
- to be taught the correct method of playing your instrument
Teachers will expect:
- participation to the full extent of your ability with energy and enthusiasm
- punctual attendance at all performances and rehearsals already scheduled, and those agreed upon by your group
- being on time for class and be sitting down warming up your instrument when attendance is being taken
Daily Survival Guide
What you need for class each day:
- Everyone: a pencil and an eraser, your instrument, your music
- Brass Players: Valve/slide cream, tuning slide grease
- Reed Players: Three good reeds, cork grease, a cleaning rag/cloth
- Percussion Players: Pair of drumsticks, a room temperature IQ
- String Players: Rosin
The Role of Concerts
While concerts are certainly an important aspect of any musician’s training, we do not make concert preparation the sole focus of our program. From September, the primary focus of our class work and rehearsal time is two-fold: First, we work hard to develop the technical performance skills of all of our students in order to provide them with the basic fundamentals they need to participate effectively. Second, we work equally diligently to build the sense of “team” so that students have the desire, the confidence, and the support, to grow together.
We see our concerts as an occasion for the celebration of our successes and an opportunity to share some of the work we have been doing in class. Students will be performing once in December and once in May at Point Grey.
Qualification for Music Trips
Belonging to a particular group does not automatically entitle you to participate in a Music Department trip. You must earn this privilege. Attendance, achievement, behaviour, and attitude will be monitored throughout the year and it will be on that basis that a student will be invited to participate.