Course Descriptions and Numbers

THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THE 2021-22 SCHOOL YEAR. PLEASE SEE THE 2020-21 COURSE DESCRIPTION CATALOG IF NEEDED.

Classes in orange are available for Valley Southwoods students.

Band Courses

Concert Ensemble
MUS101 and MUS102 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Concert Ensemble will meet all four quarters. Membership is open to all students. Placement within the ensemble is determined by an audition procedure. The group will perform 2-4 concerts during the year. In addition, the ensemble may participate in state-sponsored contest events, independently sponsored festivals, and special performances such as commencement. Students in these groups are eligible to audition for membership in special performing groups and music classes offered in addition to Concert Ensemble.

Jazz Studies and Performance
MUS303 and MUS304 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process and concurrent enrollment in band
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

This course will deal directly with the development of both individual and ensemble style in both the small group (combo) and large ensemble structure. A major portion of this course will be spent discussing and evaluating the arranging techniques of various writers. 

Jazz theory will be emphasized with concentration on listening and analyzing writers’ styles. Students will be given the opportunity to exercise these skills through arranging/composing projects, which can be performed by the class. This will provide immediate feedback for the students’ evaluation of their work. 

Marching Band
MUS401 | First Semester
Prerequisite: Must be currently enrolled in Symphony Band-Concert Ensemble
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Marching Band will meet first quarter. Rehearsals will be Monday through Friday, during Early Bird. The group will include wind, percussion, and color-guard, with membership open to any student who plays a musical instrument and is concurrently enrolled in Symphony Band-Concert Ensemble at Valley High School (10-12) or Valley Southwoods (9) and was enrolled in band the previous semester. Students are expected to attend summer rehearsals. Some band activities will be conducted off-campus, and students will be responsible for arranging their own transportation. Course may be used for one music elective credit. In addition to performing at home football games and IHSMA State Marching Band Festival, the band may perform at local and regional parades, celebrations, contests, and festivals. Historically, the marching band has represented the West Des Moines Community Schools outside Iowa at selected regional, national, and international festivals.

Symphony Band
MUS307 and MUS308 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Symphony Band is an elective and the highest level band at Valley High School. Membership is open to those students who successfully complete an audition process and are selected by the conductor. The group will perform advanced band literature, and study advanced instrumental techniques. In addition, students will participate in solo contests, large group festivals, and have the opportunity to audition for the All-State Band.

Music Education (Non-Performance Courses)

AP Music Theory
MUS501 and MUS502 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬜10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

AP Music Theory is a two-semester course designed 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 score. The first semester will seek to instill mastery of the rudiments and terminology of music including: notation, intervals, scales and keys, chords, metric organization, and rhythmic patterns. The second semester will build on these skills and progress to more sophisticated and creative tasks such as: composition of bass lines, realization of figured bass, analysis of repertoire, and composition of melodies. Emphasis will be placed on functional triadic harmony in traditional four-voice texture, tonal relationships, modulation to closely related keys, standard rhythms and meters, phrase structure, and small musical forms. Students will continually work to improve in areas of aural skills, sight-singing, composition, and analysis. 

The AP Music Theory course is designed to prepare students not only for the AP test in the spring but also for their college placement exams. In order to do this most effectively, students should take the course as close as possible to their college exam dates, preferably during their senior year. 

Taking the Advanced Placement exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Therefore, students who choose not to take the AP exam will not have completed the course and will have the AP designation removed from their transcript. Accelerated Music Theory will become the course designation for both semesters. AP courses receive a weighted grade when students complete BOTH semesters and the AP exam.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student.  If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

Explorations in Music
MUS408 | Second Semester
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Explorations in Music is a one-semester course designed to provide students with an introduction to four areas of music:  Careers in Music, Music Theory, Music Technology, and Songwriting.  The course would be offered in a blended format, with both online and in-person components.

Orchestral Courses

Chamber Orchestra
MUS305 and MUS306 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

The Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble of 20-24 of the most advanced string students, selected by audition. This ensemble will provide a challenging environment for students who wish to excel in the orchestra program.

Students in the class will work on music for small string orchestra, be expected to participate in district and state solo/ensemble contests, audition for All-State orchestra, and serve the community by participating in smaller ensembles (string quartets). The Chamber Orchestra may occasionally combine with other string orchestra classes for special projects/performances.

Ninth-Grade Orchestra
MUS103 and MUS104 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬜10 ⬜11 ⬜12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Valley Southwoods Orchestra students attend daily string orchestra rehearsals and weekly private and semi-private lessons in this full-year course. Valley Southwoods Orchestra rehearsals take place before, during, and after school, depending on student schedules and needs. Orchestra students have the opportunity to perform in chamber ensembles that meet based on student availability. The Valley Southwoods Orchestra students perform in concerts, festivals, and contests.

Orchestra
MUS109 and MUS110 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Orchestra is a two-semester class that focuses on the development of string instrument performance skills and musicianship. Students will be exposed to high-level music for string orchestra and full orchestra through performance and listening opportunities. At least four concerts are presented throughout the school year. Students are also eligible to participate in numerous quartets. Students may also perform for assemblies, solo and ensemble festivals (district and state), and State Large Group Contest. Selected students may audition to be part of the Iowa All-State Orchestra. Enrichment opportunities include master classes, clinics, sectional rehearsals, special collaborations with Vocal Music and/or Drama, and performance trips. 

All members of the String Orchestra also become members of the Valley Symphony Orchestra following the Marchmasters season as selected winds, brass, and percussionists are added to the ensemble. Rehearsals for Symphony Orchestra occur outside of the school day. All additional rehearsals and concerts are listed in a calendar at the beginning of each school year.

Vocal Music Courses

A Cappella Choir
MUS205 and MUS206 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬜10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

A Cappella Choir is a core choir consisting of an auditioned group of upperclassmen who would like a large ensemble experience. Class will include study of advanced vocal techniques and exercises, review of basic music theory and terminology, advanced sight-singing, study of the human voice, vocal health, and the history of choral music through performances of various styles of vocal literature. Each semester, A Cappella Choir will study and rehearse music to be performed at specified concert and contest times. The course includes several evening concerts each semester and additional non-scheduled calendar events that may arise. Group voice lessons are required of all singers in this ensemble and will be scheduled on a rotational basis with the director for assessment purposes.

Students enrolled in the choir may audition for State Solo and Small Ensemble Contest and jazz and show choir ensembles. 

Concert Choir Mixed Ensemble
MUS203 and MUS204 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Concert Choir is a core choir designed for any grade 10-12 student interested in singing. Class will include study of intermediate vocal techniques and exercises, review of basic theory and terminology, intermediate sight-singing, study of the human voice, vocal health, and history of choral music through performances of various styles of vocal literature. Each semester, the Concert Choir will study and rehearse music to be performed at specific concerts and contests. The course includes several evening concerts each semester and additional non-scheduled calendar events that may arise. Students enrolled in Concert Choir may audition for State Solo and Small Ensemble Contest and audition for jazz and show choir ensembles. Group voice lessons are required of all singers in this ensemble and will be scheduled on a rotational basis with the director for assessment purposes. 

Ninth-Grade Chorus – Bass Clef
MUS105 and MUS106 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬜10 ⬜11 ⬜12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Membership in this full-year class is open to students who show an interest in singing and sing in the tenor/bass range. Vocal instruction is directed toward the development of the adolescent changing voice, with careful attention given to the special qualities and challenges of the voice at this age level. Vocal lessons are a significant part of the curriculum. Vocal and musical skills developed here can prepare students for participation in A Capella Choir and Valley Singers at Valley High School. This group performs at concerts, contests, conventions, and community functions.

Ninth-Grade Chorus – Treble Clef
MUS107 and MUS108 | Full-Year Course
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬜10 ⬜11 ⬜12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Membership in this full-year class is open to students who show an interest in singing and sing in the soprano/alto range. Vocal lessons are a significant part of the curriculum. Vocal and musical skills developed here can prepare students for participation in A Capella Choir and Valley Singers at Valley High School. This group performs at concerts, contests, conventions, and community functions.

Ninth-Grade Chorus – Southwoods Singers
MUS201 and MUS202 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: membership in Bass or Treble Clef chorus. Membership in this full-year class is limited and earned through audition.
ELECTIVE ⬛9 ⬜10 ⬜11 ⬜12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Auditions will be held during the spring of the students’ eighth-grade year. This select group will explore and perform a variety of select chamber music, in addition to gaining a greater understanding of advanced vocal techniques for the mixed ensemble. Included in the curriculum will be the study of composers and styles of vocal music for the chamber ensemble. The class will meet alternating days throughout the year for a total of 1 credit. The Southwoods Singers will perform approximately five concerts as well as participate in state solo and ensemble contest.

Select Treble Clef Chorus
MUS207 and MUS208 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Select Treble Clef is an elective core choir for students in grades 10-12 who have a treble voice. Class will include study of vocal techniques and exercises, theory and terminology, sight-singing, study of the human voice, vocal health, and history of choral music through performances of various styles of vocal literature. Each semester, the Select Treble Clef will study and rehearse music to be performed at specific concerts and contests. The course includes several evening concerts each semester and additional non-scheduled calendar events that may arise. Students enrolled in Select Treble Clef may audition for State Solo and Small Ensemble Contest and audition for jazz and show choir ensembles.

Valley Singers
MUS301 and MUS302 | Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: Audition Process
ELECTIVE ⬜9 ⬛10 ⬛11 ⬛12|
⬜DMACC ⬜NCAA ⬜RAI ⬜PBLN
OFFERED: ⬜Blended ⬜Online See appendix.

Valley Singers is an elective course and the select mixed chamber choir at Valley High School. Membership is open to advanced singers in grades 10–12 who successfully complete a rigorous audition process. Class will include study of advanced vocal techniques and exercises, advanced music theory and terminology, advanced sight-singing, study of the human voice, vocal health, and the history of choral music through performance of various styles of vocal literature. Each semester, the Valley Singers will study and rehearse music to be performed at specified concert and contest times. The course includes several evening concerts each semester and, occasionally, other concerts, in addition to State Solo and Small Ensemble Contest and All-State auditions.