The Music Department believes that the study of music develops students’ abilities to express themselves. Through the development of their unique talents they learn to not only appreciate, but create music. By combining training in music, music history, theory, music production, and performance, students become a part of the music world.  From Jazz Ensemble to Rock Band, students learn how to express themselves through music and gain confidence in their artistic talents. We offer opportunities to learn instruments  such as strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion to gain appreciation for the art of musical expression. Throughout the semester, students perform their songs for an audience and share their experience about performing on stage.

Introduction to Music

Introduction to Music is an 18-week general overview of various aspects of music. The purpose of the Introduction to Music course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the world of music and many of the various fields that lie within. Subjects covered in the course include theory, history, culture, performance, and careers.  Students engage in the understanding of all topics through praxis.  By participating in this course, students will be able to engage actively in classroom music-making by understanding basic concepts of music theory, historical contexts, and the dynamic relationship between these elements and culture.

Topics covered in the subject of theory include: rhythm, melody, harmony, instrument recognition, and identification in musical examples.  Each of these topics is then related to historical and cultural aspects of music in the United States and around the globe in order to provide students with a strong background and basis for performance. Career areas in the music industry are interjected throughout the course.  Career areas discussed and related to classroom material include: music performance, music composition, music production, audio engineering, music therapy, music journalism, and ethnomusicology.  Literacy skills are included through assignments like the music journal, which involves students reading album reviews from major local newspapers and then listening to and writing their own album review.  Many topics are broadly covered in order to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the world of music around them.

Jazz Ensemble

The HSCL Jazz Ensemble is a performance-based class.  Students work as an ensemble to learn repertoire in the genre of jazz on various instruments.  Repertoire ranges from standards to the traditions of many of the jazz greats of Queens.  Students learn about the historical jazz heritage of Queens as well as all of New York City and jazz around the world.  Students actively participate in choosing and arranging repertoire for the instrumentation of the Ensemble as it grows and morphs.  To date, students have worked to arrange and perform traditional swing jazz tunes by Duke Ellington and Rodgers and Hammerstein II and have also contributed to arranging modern era pop music such as “Jamming” by Bob Marley, “Black Magic Women” in the style of Carlos Santana, and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson into the style of swing. Students will learn how to express their opinions when working on a song and develop techniques of instrumentation.

Rock Band

The HSCL Rock Band is a performance-based class in which students work in various small groups to learn and perform songs in the style of rock n’ roll and other pop genres.  Students participate in instrument selection and song selection as well as being introduced to new material.  Students also learn the importance of instrument care.  As students strive to learn the performance material on their instruments, they also engage in learning the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of concert performances such as lighting and audio engineering.  Students learn instrumentation techniques such as sound balancing, rhythmic patterns and improvisation.  Throughout the semester, students perform their songs for an audience and share their experience about performing on stage.