Skip to main content
                      

Introduction

Music

Through music and the arts, people explore the emotional nature of human life. By learning to perceive music with more sophistication, people respond more deeply to the human emotion that gives life meaning.
In performing ensembles, students create high quality performances of music in many styles. As they become discriminating performers and listeners, the students respond to music's expressive power.

Departmental Activities

Superior performance is a hallmark of the performing arts in the Shaker Heights schools. The District has been recognized as a “Best Community for Music Education” by the NAMM Foundation and as a Grammy Signature School by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Foundation for its outstanding music program. Shaker Heights High School provides rich opportunities for aesthetic development through music. Over 500 students (nearly 30% of the high school population) are enrolled in the choirs, orchestras and bands.

In addition to an active school and community performance, concert and competition schedule, our musical ensembles have made numerous concert tours to Germany, Austria, England, France, Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, Turkey and China. Performing opportunities in the band program include the Raider Marching Band, the Raiderette squad, the Concert Bands, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo and Jazz Ensemble. String players perform in the Shaker String Orchestra or Chamber Orchestra. Shaker singers participate in A Cappella Mixed Choir, Soprano/Alto Choir, Tenor/Bass Choir, Chanticleers and Vocal Ensemble.

Auditions for Shaker Choirs and Orchestras will be held in February and March. 
 
Please Note: The courses and grade levels below represent typical programming pathways. Shaker Heights High School's counseling staff can help direct students and their families to the courses that best fit a student's academic needs. 

Courses

A Cappella Mixed Choir

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

This choir of 30-60 students perform a wide range of styles in advanced choral literature.This objective of A Cappella Mixed Choir is to develop and perform advanced vocal technique, musicianship, and audiation skills. Successful participation in Choir requires attendance and participation in all its activities, including daily rehearsals and evening concerts. This choir is for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Choirs


Soprano/Alto Choir

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Students who want to develop solid vocal technique, basic musicianship skills, tone production, voice placement and pitch, and rhythm literacy will find enjoyment and challenge in this choir. Successful participation in Choir requires attendance and participation in all its activities including daily rehearsals and evening concerts. This choir is for soprano/alto voices only.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Choirs  

Tenor/Bass Choir

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Students who want to develop solid vocal technique, basic musicianship skills, tone production, voice placement and pitch, and rhythm literacy will find enjoyment and challenge in this choir. Successful participation in Choir requires attendance and participation in all its activities including daily rehearsals and evening concerts. This choir is for tenor/bass voices only.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Choirs

Vocal Ensemble

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Vocal Ensemble is a highly selective group of 12-16 vocal musicians who rehearse and perform advanced musical techniques including a cappella close harmony singing. This group performs with soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices. Strong musicianship and audiation skills are necessary for this ensemble. The Vocal Ensemble performs at all school choir concerts and from time to time performs at community, sports, and official events outside of the school day.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Choirs

Chanticleers

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – ½ Unit

Chanticleers is a select ensemble that rehearses and performs music theatre, pop and Top 20 music repertoire. Members engage in solo, duet, small group and ensemble performances and are chosen on the basis of musicianship and vocal quality. Students in this group will occasionally perform choreography.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Choirs


Band

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

The band program is a full-year course beginning with the Marching Band. Marching season starts one week prior to the beginning of classes and concludes at the end of the varsity football season. After the marching season, students will be placed into one of five “concert”-type bands. Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band membership will be determined by audition. Three concert bands will be equally drafted.

Marching Band Exemption for Class of 2022, 2023 & 2024 only: Students who complete two full years of Band (Fall Marching Band quarter 1, and one of the Concert Bands for quarters 2, 3 & 4) can be exempted from .5 credit of Physical Education.

Recommended: Audition and/or Permission of the Director of Bands


Raiderettes

Grade 9 Band Members or Grades 10/11/12
Quarter I

Raiderettes perform with the marching band at football games and other selected events. Rehearsals begin in August. All practices and performances are required.

Students who are enrolled in Raiderettes can earn PE credit by being enrolled in Raiderettes in Quarter 1 and then in PE Quarter 2, or they can be exempt from PE by enrolling in Raiderettes Quarter 1 and then in a Concert Band for Quarters 2, 3 & 4.

Recommended: Audition in May of preceding school year

Jazz Band

Grades 9/10/11/12
Semester II – ½ Unit

The Jazz Band is for those students who are not members of the Jazz Ensemble, but enjoy performing and studying jazz. All wind players are eligible for this group as well as the standard jazz rhythm section of piano, guitar, bass guitar and drums. All wind, brass, and percussion players must be enrolled in Band class. This group meets after school for a minimum of ninety minutes per week and performs at local and regional festivals and school/community events. Grades for this ensemble are listed on students’ transcripts, but are not included in the computation of grade point averages. Enrollment is open to Band students after the completion of Marching Band.

Recommended: Audition

Jazz Ensemble

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – ½ Unit

Jazz Ensemble performs the best of jazz literature. The group performs at local and regional contests and festivals and meets after school (during 11th period) for a minimum of 90 minutes per week. All wind, brass, and percussion players must be enrolled in Band class. Students who are not selected for Jazz Ensemble are eligible for Jazz Band. Instrumentation needs are for piano, guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Grades for this ensemble are listed on transcripts, but are not included in the computation of grade point averages. Enrollment is permitted after fall auditions.

Recommended: Audition

Jazz Combo

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – ½ Unit

The Jazz Combo is a very select group of members of the Jazz Ensemble. Advanced aspects of Jazz performance, improvisation and history will be discussed and rehearsed in detail. Rehearsals are held before and/or after school (during 11th period) 3-5 days per week. The group typically performs 8-12 times per year at festivals, competitions and school/community events. Grades for this ensemble are listed on students’ transcripts, but are not included in the computation of grade point averages. Enrollment is permitted after fall auditions.

Recommended: Permission by the Director of Bands and membership in Jazz Ensemble

String Orchestra

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

In String Orchestra, violin, viola, cello and bass players refine their playing technique and perform intermediate to advanced string orchestra repertoire. The String Orchestra performs in three concerts per year. In addition, String Orchestra students may be featured in local competitions, festivals and international tours. The prerequisite is previous involvement in the Shaker Orchestra program and/or department approval.

Recommended: Permission by the Director of Orchestras

Chamber Orchestra

Chamber Orchestra
Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Chamber Orchestra consists of Shaker’s most experienced violin, viola, cello and string bass players. The Chamber Orchestra’s performances of complex literature at a high level are the result of many hours of focused individual and group practice. Like the String Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra performs in at least three concerts per year and participates in international concert tours. Admission to Chamber Orchestra is determined by audition in the spring semester of the previous school year.

Recommended: Audition

CODA (Community Outreach of Dedicated Artists)

CODA (Community Outreach of Dedicated Artists)
Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year - 0 Units

CODA (Community Outreach of Devoted Artists) is open to any string player who is concurrently enrolled in an SHHS Orchestra class. This class offers students an additional period in the school day to practice their instrument and collaborate with other string players. Possible community outreach projects include chamber music performances, trips to Woodbury and/or other Shaker elementary schools to perform and mentor young musicians, and performances for special events in Shaker.

Music Composition & Technology

Music Composition & Technology
Grades 10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

This course offers students an opportunity to learn music theory, composition and arranging. This includes the mastery of modes, scales, intervals, melodic writing and harmonization. Also incorporated are sight singing and melodic dictation. The students will learn how to use computer programs in the areas of music writing, theory, arranging and sequencing. This course is highly recommended for prospective music majors. Prior music experience and departmental approval are required.

Recommended: Department Approval

AP Music Theory

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Advanced Placement Music Theory is equivalent to a first year college course in music theory. The class develops the student’s ability to recognize, understand, perform, analyze and describe the theoretical aspects of music. The course includes theory, harmony and dictation, and analysis of the structure of music. Melodic and harmonic dictation, sight-singing, listening skills and composition within given parameters are important aspects of the course. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

Music SL

Grades 11/12
Full Year - 1 Unit

As researcher, creator, and performer students will explore, experiment and perform music from their own background and from other world cultures. Students will examine musical practices considering musical intentions and purposes, the methods and techniques used to create the music, the role of musical conventions, and the impact and experience of the audience. Internal and external assessments include musical performance, a research report and a portfolio showing exploration of music. There is no end of course exam.