Our curriculum is comprehensive and non-traditional, giving students experience in every style of music from classical to jazz, pop, rock, worship, Broadway and much more. With a focus on fundamental music preparation for the 21st century, we integrate technology heavily into our music curriculum with everything from running live sound, learning piano skills with our portable keyboard lab to creating and marketing podcasts in conjunction with our upper school technology students. In recent years, we have had several graduates pursue a major or minor in the performing arts.
We have several ensembles that perform throughout the year including the:
4th Grade Band
5th Grade Band
Middle School Concert Band
Upper School Symphonic Band
Eagles Jazz Band
Eagles Pep Band / Drumline
Middle School Chorus
Upper School Chorus
With a comprehensive band and choral program, our students are frequently seen in the community performing at various events and venues. With small class sizes, and the flexibility of smaller ensembles, our instrumental students are able to learn music quickly, performing various styles of music at a high proficiency. Our choral students in middle and upper school sing from 2-5 part harmony, often in multiple languages. One of our main objectives in the music department is to create well-rounded musicians with a thorough knowledge of repertoire.
COURSES OF STUDY
Lower School Music
While having fun and making musical memories here at HHCA, we travel far beyond the “do-re-mi”! Our K-4 Lower School children attain and exceed the National Standards for Elementary Music as they learn much more than pitch, note values, and identification, in myriad ways! All grades have hands-on experience with the piano, including, in Magic School Bus fashion, a field trip “inside” the open piano, to see its inner mechanisms while they work together to produce sound. The children are systematically learning to read music throughout the school year, and enjoy the opportunity to apply rhythmic structure frequently, utilizing many different rhythm instruments. While studying famous composers, listening to different samples & evaluating the differences, we begin a module where the children compose and record their own music. Third graders begin instrumental training on the recorder, in deliberate timing for preparation to begin Band in the 4th grade. In our celebration of other cultures, and in compliment to current learning media being studied in their Language Arts, Science, Geography and other curricula, we learn songs from other lands, and frequently augment other songs in sign-language, just for the fun of learning another language application, which we also utilize frequently in our performances. For those performances, including, but not limited to: our Christmas Musical Program and our Spring Musical, the children learn to audition with confidence, excellence, poise, and polish. They are trained in how to achieve kinesthetic stage comfort, and vocal confidence, projection, enunciation, and inflection, while they develop skills and abilities in singing alone, as well as in small and large ensemble formation.
HHCA Instrumental Program
Beginning in fourth grade, students have the option to join the HHCA Instrumental Program. In fourth grade, students work to build basic proficiency on their instrument through weekly practice and rehearsals. We use the respected Standard of Excellence band method by Bruce Pearson and 4th graders have an opportunity to perform at the Christmas and spring concerts. In MS and US band, students every other day for a regular period of band class. Our students focus on achieving personal musical goals of a higher ability and are expected to practice on a daily basis. As an ensemble class, we emphasize the fundamentals of instrumental music including blend, balance, tone, intonation, and technique. We study, practice and perform several styles of music to create versatile musicians.
All middle and upper school band students will participate in either the middle school concert band or upper school symphonic band. They will also have the option of being part of the Eagles Jazz Band or Pep Band / Winter Drumline. Our instrumental students are performing all of the time, at home varsity football games, at our school concerts, in the pit for our theatrical productions and many times in the community. Many of our advanced instrumental students have been fortunate enough to work with organizations including the Junior Jazz Foundation, Palmetto Bluff, the Island School Council of the Arts, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Jazz Corner and many more!
Although singing is an integral part of our lower music curriculum, students are strongly encouraged to join the chorus beginning in middle school or earlier. In middle school chorus, we aim to achieve a proficient level of choral singing by emphasizing vocal technique, tone, diction, and ensemble blend as we work up to singing in 2-3 different parts. Our upper school chorus, builds on their middle school foundation by singing in 4-part harmony with a more advanced vocal technique and ensemble blend. All choral students are expected to complete a comprehensive study of music theory with our ‘Theory Thursdays’ program. By learning how to read notes, rhythms, and chords through practical usage of our portable keyboard lab, our choral students are well prepared to be vocalists that can also play an instrument.
The middle school chorus meets every other day for a full class period, while the upper school chorus meets on a scheduled basis. Our choral ensembles also perform at several school concerts, community performances, SCMEA and Carowinds competitions and select events. Our students sing in a variety of styles from classical to jazz, pop, rock, worship, Broadway and much more.
AP Music Theory
AP Music Theory is a college-level course designed for juniors and seniors with an extensive music background who wish to pursue a degree in music at the university level. The ultimate goal of the course is to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand and describe the materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score.
With a comprehensive curriculum building on the fundamental skills of pitch, rhythm, melody, harmony, rhythm and form, students will develop aural, sight-singing, compositional and analytical skills based on several techniques. The course will culminate with an AP exam in May to serve as a guide for granting students credit or placement at the college level.
In addition to preparing for the AP exam, there is also a focus on learning important and relevant 21st century music theory skills including a thorough understanding of piano and guitar, the use of technology in music and a focus on jazz theory / improvisation. With AP theory as the most difficult course offered in the music department, many of our students will go on to pursue further studies at the university level.
After School / Summer Offerings
Mr. Berry and Ms. Green offer a number of after-school and summer programs which change from year to year. Ms. Green generally offers private vocal and piano instruction along with several young drama and music camps. Mr. Berry generally offers advanced piano and instrumental instruction along with group guitar instruction. In the summer, Mr. Berry serves as the camp director for the Hilton Head Jazz Camp, a comprehensive summer jazz camp hosted at HHCA attracting 100 students and 20 full-time faculty from across the United States.
Music doesn’t end with the school day as we proudly host the Arco Strings Academy as an after-school strings program, along with rehearsals for our pit orchestra, drumline and Eagles Jazz Combo. Our students involved in our HHCA music program receive a comprehensive music education preparing them well for the 21st-century world of performing arts.