Instrumental Music
The Instrumental Music Department offers a hands-on program for students interested in developing their skills playing a musical instrument. Students participate in ensemble rehearsals, small-group and solo performance activities and instruction in music fundamentals like theory and history. We currently offer instruction on the following instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone/euphonium, tuba, percussion (snare drum, mallet percussion & accessory percussion only), violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar and piano/keyboard.

Our Instrumental Music program is ensemble-focused, meaning students spend a significant amount of class time rehearsing or working as a group. Within this structure, our teachers provide individualized instruction and feedback to students on a regular basis. This currently includes a 15-20 minute one-on-one check-in lessons about once per six-day cycle.

Each student should provide his or her own instrument for class rehearsals and at-home practice. If your child does not have an instrument, the AACMS Play It Forward instrumental donation and rental provem may be able to help. Please be sure to ask about the program when submitting your child’s application to AACMS. (Note: Students who play piano, string bass or percussion do not need to transport their instrument to school but must have a suitable instrument at home for daily practice.)  

Ensemble performance is a key part of the program, and students are expected to participate in all assigned concerts and performance events.
Our Instrumental Music techniques classes are divided into three sections: Ensemble, Guitar, and Keyboard Studies. Students divide into these smaller groups for instruction on their instruments but combine into one class for all other components of the program.
Fifth Grade
Instrumental Music Workshops, which meet for one 90-minute period each six-day cycle, are designed for fifth grade students who wish to pursue instruction on an instrument, participate in rehearsals with peers, and perform in one to two concert performances during the school year. AACMS currently offers the following workshops to our fifth graders:
  • Instrumental Music Workshop: Open to any student with at least one school year of experience on a woodwind, brass percussion, or orchestral string instrument. 
  • Guitar Workshop: Open to students with or without guitar experience. Students must provide their own guitar
  • Keyboard Workshop: Open to students with or without experience playing piano. Instruments are provided at school, but students should have a piano or keyboard at home for regular practice.  
Sixth & Seventh Grade
We offer two Instrumental Music experiences for sixth and seventh grade students:
  • Primary Instrumental Music is designed for students with experience playing a musical instrument, an interest in playing music with a group of like-minded peers, and a strong desire to learn and develop new skills on his or her instrument.
  • Secondary Instrumental Music is designed for students with or without experience playing an instrument with an interest in studying Instrumental Music while focusing on one of the other artistic disciplines.
Sixth and seventh grade students participate in ensemble rehearsals, practicing basic skills, developing playing techniques, and rehearsing music to be performed with the AACMS Symphony Orchestra. In Music Fundamentals class, students explore a variety of basic concepts in music theory as well as an overview of topics in music history, world music and music in connection with other academic subjects.  

Keyboard Studies students participate in a keyboard techniques class which combines individual and group instruction. Guitar students rehearse and perform in a Guitar Ensemble
Eighth Grade
Our in-depth study of instrumental music includes three main components: 

Music Theory: Students study basic and intermediate music theory concepts, including reading music in treble and bass clef, key signatures, major and minor scales, intervals, chords and music composition. 

Ensemble Rehearsals: Students prepare music for our concert performances as a Symphony Orchestra (played alongside students in gr. 6-8) as well as material for a variety of community performances scheduled throughout the year. Guitar students participate in Guitar Ensemble, Keyboard Studies students take part in a keyboard techniques class which mixes group and independent instruction activities.

Audition Preparation: Students learn practical techniques for preparing for an instrumental music audition. Students focus on developing fundamentals skills like playing major scales, sight-reading and using effective practice strategies. The course also includes units on career skills such as interviewing, goal setting and resumé creation. 
Showcase Opportunities
AACMS Instrumental Music students perform regularly during the school year. Performance opportunities include two major concerts (typically scheduled in January and May), recitals for eighth grade and piano/keyboard students, and various community performances when opportunities are available.