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Instrumental Music Major

Connor Towns

Instrumental Music Director



Major in Instrumental Music

 North East School of the Arts Instrumental Music

"...everyone was using tiny brushes and doing watercolors, while Jimi Hendrix was painting galactic scenes in Cinemascope. We are working in a field of mystical resonance, sound and vibration... that's what makes people cry, laugh, and feel their hair stand up."

- Carlos Santana


NESA's Orchestra students are prepared for careers in music through a broad musical curriculum. They experience a diverse range of musical genres and styles, from chamber music to symphonic to jazz. Students compose chamber music, large symphonic works, film scores, and rock music. All music students study music theory, ear training, and composition.

IM graduates are attending or have attended Juilliard Conservatory, Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Indiana University, University of Texas at Austin, Northwestern University, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, Columbia University, St. Olaf College, Belmont University, New York University, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, Rice University, and many others.



Orchestra I - IV

This orchestra is a performance-based organization. The students will continue to improve their technical skills on their instrument as well as expand their knowledge of orchestra literature through rehearsal and performance. NESA Orchestra students perform four to five concerts which includes the chamber music concert. Students have the opportunity to participate in the TMEA Region and All-State auditions, UIL Solo/Ensemble Contests, and collaboration projects with other NESA departments such as musicals and film-scores.


Instrumental Ensemble

Students take this class to study small chamber works in their instrumentation. They also study orchestra music in sectionals. This class is divided into two sections: 1) Students who play wind, brass, percussion instruments, piano or guitar; 2) Students who play stringed instruments.


Music Theory I

All students must start with this class before moving on to the two listed next. The Music Theory course for Music majors is to develop a student's ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a musical composition so that they can become more creative and independent interpreters of their art. Included in the course are fundamentals of music up through elementary modulation. The ear training component includes sight singing simple major and minor melodies to melodies that modulate to closely related keys; harmonic and melodic dictation; techniques of composition; and music history. All orchestra students at NESA are required to take a Music Theory class before they graduate but are encouraged to try to take it in their sophomore year of high school. This allows them perhaps three years to turn their "study" of music into praxis.


AP Music Theory

The Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory course enables highly motivated students to do college level work in the areas of reading and analyzing notated music and aural training. Particular emphasis will be placed upon developing listening skills, sight singing ability, and knowledge of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and other compositional devices. The successful student will have the skills necessary to function intelligently in any musical situation. The work of the course will emphasize preparation for the AP Music Theory examination.



This class is for advanced students to study composition and compose their own pieces. The class studies harmonic analysis, counterpoint, form, and orchestration. Ear training is included in this class to help students continue to develop their listening skills.