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CLASSICAL GUITAR PROGRAM

The McCallum High School and Fine Arts Academy is home to one of the leading classical guitar programs Texas. McCallum’s Guitar Ensembles have won several consecutive first prizes in the UT Brownsville and Hill Country National Classical Guitar Ensemble Competitions, and performed showcases at major conventions such as TMEA, and the Guitar Foundation of America. They have performed alongside the Miro Quartet under the baton of Peter Bay for the world premiere of Joe Williams’ ‘Austin Pictures’ at ACL Live Theater, and shared the stage with Yale Professor Ben Verdery during a performance of his work ‘Ellis Island’ at Concordia University. Ensembles have also given pre-show performances for iconic guitarists such as Pepe Romero, LAGQ, and Solo Duo for Austin Classical Guitar’s International Concert Series.

Students in the McCallum Classical Guitar Program have opportunities to perform in masterclasses for leading classical guitarists such as Adam Holzman (UT), Stephen Aron (Oberlin), as well as the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Students have also won prestigious awards such as the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Competition’s ‘Outstanding Musician’ award, as well as the Texas Young Master’s grant.

The Classical Guitar Program at McCallum features three annual program concerts, as well as opportunities to perform in the All City Guitar Event, Full ensemble/sight reading competition, as well as UIL solo/ensemble competition and AISD solo/ensemble competitions.

ACCOLADES:

The Chamber Ensemble is five time consecutive national champions at the University of Texas, Brownsville Classical Guitar Ensemble Competition, the only known national classical guitar ensemble competition in the country.

We perform at the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s Season concerts every year, as well as various community events throughout Austin.

The Chamber Ensemble has been featured at Austin Classical Guitar Society concert events, including in October 2009 for a guest artist from Japan.

The Chamber Ensemble has also been featured at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival/Competition showcase.

Students in the classical guitar program have won Texas Outstanding Musician Awards, numerous UIL “1 ratings”, national solo competition awards, and scholarships to post-secondary art programs.

CLASSICAL GUITAR CURRICULUM:

The curriculum follows The Austin Classical Guitar Society’s online guitar curriculum, a sequentially developed, nine-level curriculum designed both for a classroom of students who are all at the same level (i.e. most beginning classes) as well as varying levels represented.

Classes consist of rehearsing repertoire in three/four parts while developing technical, music reading, and expressive skills. Selected repertoire consists of a historical survey of music arranged and composed for the classical guitar ranging from the Renaissance era to contemporary works by Austin composers. Every student is required to participate in winter and spring performances.

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

LARGE CLASSICAL GUITAR CLASS/ENSEMBLE

To be taken every year.

MUSIC THEORY I/ PIANO I

Required in 11th grade.  Both theory and piano performance are part of the curriculum.  (Option to test out prior to spring break in 10th grade.)

AP MUSIC THEORY

Required in 12th grade.  Can be taken pass/fail.

PARTICIPATION IN UIL SOLO CONTEST

Must be completed every year.

EARN A MINIMUM GRADE OF 70 IN EVERY CLASS

Evaluated every six weeks grading period.

EARN A MINIMUM GRADE OF 80 IN ALL FINE ARTS CLASSES LISTED ABOVE

Evaluated every six weeks grading period.

MAINTAIN A 90% OR ABOVE IN-CLASS ATTENDANCE RATE & HAVE NO SERIOUS BEHAVIOR INFRACTIONS

Evaluated every six weeks grading period and as needed.

ACADEMY ENRICHMENT PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENT

To be completed in 9th, 10th and 11th grade.

GRADUATE ON THE DISTINGUISHED PLAN

(4 core academic courses all 4 years)

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Ensemble placement is based on skill level, regardless of major/non-major status.

BEGINNER GUITAR

For students with no previous formal classical guitar instruction. Emphasis on foundations of music literacy, posture/ set-up, musical expression, and performance etiquette. Students learn techniques such as slurs, planting arpeggios, open chord shapes, and right hand alternation towards the end of the school year.

Audition requirements: none

INTERMEDIATE GUITAR

A continuation of beginner guitar. The course begins with the aforementioned techniques applied through ensemble repertoire performed throughout the year. Students begin to play and read outside of first position.

Audition requirements: Two four- measure excerpts of a single line melody in first position, with appropriate technique. One excerpt is on the treble strings and the other is on the bass strings. Comprehension of note flashcards in first position.

ADVANCED GUITAR

An emphasis on performing ensemble repertoire in various fretboard positions. Repertoire increases in difficulty through length, quick tempos, position shifting, thicker simultaneous voice textures, key signatures, etc.

Audition Requirements: ‘Light and Dark’ by Matthew Hinsley from ‘Classical Guitar for Young People’, performed with the appropriate technique. Comprehension of note flashcards in first and fifth position.

CHAMBER GUITAR

The top performing ensemble of the program, students perform rich, contrasting repertoire of high complexity. Students must double block chamber guitar (schedule permitting), and study quartet/trio/duo repertoire in one of the classes


Audition Requirements: A UIL Class II solo, a sight reading excerpt in first position.

MUSIC THEORY I/ PIANO I

(Taken in 11th grade.)

This course is designed to provide students an understanding of keyboarding skills. An emphasis is placed on developing technique and music reading. These skills will be demonstrated in both informal (class) and formal (recital) performance settings throughout the school year. An ability to read music in both bass and treble clef is suggested, but NOT required. Piano I is a great class for beginner pianists as well as pianists with previous experience but who have not had rigorous lessons recently. All students will work out of the same textbook, however, solo pieces will range in difficulty contingent on previous piano experience. Students will not only learn beginner to intermediate piano repertoire, but an extensive understanding of basic to intermediate music theory concepts as well.

AP MUSIC THEORY

(Taken in 12th grade.)

This course is designed to prepare you for the freshmen experience in music theory at the university level.  Strong emphasis is given to listening skills, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small-scale forms, and compositional techniques.  Fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology and analysis is required.  Throughout the course, you are encouraged to listen to musical works attentively and analytically, developing your “musical memory” and your ability to articulate responses to formal, stylistic, and other aesthetic qualities of the works.  Study both in and outside of the classroom is expected.  You will need to have a basic command of the piano keyboard and be able to play simple scales, chords and two, three and four-part harmonization.  Though not required, it is highly recommended that students take the AP Music Theory exam during the spring semester.