Every school has some sort of music program. At the least there are music classes which students have 2-3 times weekly (grade school) and at the most, there are several performance ensembles and a school musical. The number of opportunities usually increase with each level of education (primary, elementary, middle school, high school) and these programs rely upon participation of students who have studied privately.
Music Class: Every grade school has a music teacher who conducts music class. This is the basic music education for all students, and usually is conducted through singing and the playing of simple percussion instruments.
Chorus or School Assembly: The better music teachers in elementary schools will organize a special chorus (participants are the better students taken from their classes), and will direct or at least participate in the production of a school assembly or musical. Rehearsals will be after school and weekends, for all these special events students who study privately are more likely to be participanats and even leads/soloists within the performance.
Elementary Instrumental Class: Many elementary schools will offer beginning instrumental class to help foster interest in music at this level. Participants are usually excused from a regular class once weekly (often the music class) in order to have a group lesson and rehearsal. Instruction is never as thorough as in private lessons, due to the group setting and the fact that the teacher is not very proficient on most instruments. Instrumental students at KMI are required to participate in any school instrumental program available for the ensemble experience, unless they have been accepted to another regional ensemble such as Intrada Strings or Symphonette.
All-City Band, Orchestra and Chorus: The Pittsburgh Public School system offers special ensemble opportunities for students grades 4 - 12. There are three levels: Elementary, Junior and Senior which are based on student grade level and ability (more qualified younger students may enter an upper level ensemble). KMI string students in the Pittsburgh Public School system are strongly encouraged to participate in the All-City. Students who do not qualify for the Three Rivers Young People's orchestras, will often qualify for All-City, and should take advantage of the experience which might prepare them for the more prestigious orchetras. KMI's own director, Mr. Kikuchi, played cello in the All-City Orchestra from Grades 6 to 12.
Rogers Performing Arts Middle School: We often prepare students for audition and admission to the Rogers Performing Arts Middle School, where students receive an intense education in music (and other performing arts) in addition to their regular academic studies. Many students who atten Rogers have advantage toward admission to CAPA (see below).
Middle School Chorus: All KMI voice and piano students who are not studying another instrument are required to participate in their Middle School Chorus to gain ensemble performance experience. Participation at this level will prepare the student for their High School Chorus.
Middle School Band: Many Middle Schools will have a band in addition to orchestra. Where the wind instrument student has a choice, either ensemble is acceptable. If the wind instrument student is already participating in a regional orchestra (All-City or Three Rivers Young Peoples), then selecting Middle School Band might be a good choice for variety.
Middle School Orchestra: Some Middle Schools a string orchestra program. This is by far the exception (many High Schools do not have one). All KMI string students are required to participate in their Middle School string orchestra program, unless they are already participating in another regional ensemble such as Intrada Strings or Symphonette. Even if this is the case, all KMI string students are strongly encouraged to participate in their Middle School string orchestra program simply to provide support so that school's string program is likely to continue.
Middle School Musical: Some Middle Schools will host an all-school or 8th grade musical where students produce a well known play or revue (montage) that includes singing and dancing. Students at KMI have won leading roles in their school musicals due to advanced private training, and intense preparation for audition.
CAPA High School: The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) is located in downtown Pittsburgh, where students receive an intense education in music (and other performing arts) in addition to their regular academic studies. Admission is competitive in many areas, and KMI has prepared several students for audition and admission to CAPA. For students who want a more intense High School experience, which explores their creative side, CAPA is a wonderful alternative to the traditional high school.
High School Chorus: All KMI voice and piano students who are not studying another instrument and who are not participating in another ensemble, are required to participate in their High School Chorus to gain ensemble performance experience. KMI students almost always participate in the highest level chorus of their high school starting their freshman year.
High School Concert Band: High schools will usually have several levels of band class to allow for different levels of student ability. They will usually perform twice a year in a concert that features all the different instrumental performing ensembles. KMI students usually participate in the highest level band (or marching band) of their high school starting their freshman year.
High School Marching Band: Marching band is usually the highest level performance ensemble for high school wind players because of their public recognition and frequent performance. KMI wind students trying out for marching band usually get in starting their freshman year.
High School Orchestra: Not all high schools have a string orchestra program, and as with band there are usually several levels. They will usually perform twice a year in a concert that features all the different instrumental performing ensembles. KMI students usually participate in the highest level orchestra (or marching band) of their high school starting their freshman year. Qualitifed orchestra memembers will be invited to perform in the pit orchestra for the school musical(s).
High School Musical: All High Schools will host an all-school or Senior Class musical (sometimes both) where students produce a well known large scale musical theater play (including singing and dancing). Students at KMI have won leading roles in their school musicals due to advanced private training, and intense preparation for audition. (Recently the leading role in Singing in the Rain, 2006 Keystone Oaks).
(See STRING ENSEMBLES, WIND ENSEMBLES and CHORAL ENSEMBLES for more detailed descriptions of what is available in school and out of school.)