(Full year, Grades 9-12) An a cappella ensemble started by John Hiltonsmith in 1991, Beg To Differ® has roots in doo-wop and barbershop vocal harmony and has branched into more contemporary a cappella styles and approaches. Students have opportunities to perform several times during the year, usually by request, at off-campus events. Auditions are required.
(Extracurricular, Grades 7-12) The MUS Drumline was founded in 2014 by alumnus Ahmed Latif ’15. Under the direction of Instructor in Music Bryan Scott, students learn drum fundamentals and perform at several athletic events during the year.
(Extracurricular, Grades 7-12) Individual lessons can be scheduled with qualified faculty or with local Memphis instructors. Lessons are most commonly in guitar, piano, and voice. Instruction in other instruments, music theory, and improvisation may also be available, depending on the schedules of the instructors.
Music Theory I: Basic Theory (One semester, Grades 11-12) - This course takes students from basic theory of notes, staves, clefs, etc., through seventh chords and the beginnings of advanced music theory. It is a prerequisite for all other music theory courses, including AP Music Theory.
Music Theory II: Functional Theory (One semester, Grades 11-12) - This coursefocuses on introducing students to the most common aspects of music theory regularly used by professional musicians. It guides students through chord extensions, chord substitutions, number systems, basic arranging, and major and minor modes, among other topics. Students must have successfully completed Music Theory I, or passed a proficiency exam to register for this class.
Advanced Placement Music Theory (Full year, Grades 11-12) - This course is a study of musicianship, musical materials and procedures, and how and why music sounds the way it does. Students learn to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. They develop their aural and sight‐singing skills through listening and performance exercises and their written and compositional skills through writing and creative exercises. This course prepares students for the AP examination.
Orchestra is open to all woodwind, brass, percussion, and string players. This ensemble focuses on the foundational elements of music, including note and rhythm reading, improving playing technique, and ensemble playing. Sections of the orchestra also break out to form a string ensemble and a concert/jazz band. Students meet two times per week in this half-credit course. Guitar, electric bass, piano, and beginning-level players may join with permission of the instructor.
(Full year, Grades 9-12) In Jazz Band or Studio Band, the jazz or rock/pop-style ensembles focus on learning, practicing, and performing music as though in a professional studio environment. Students learn about style, technique, differences in genre, and ensemble dynamics. Auditions are required.
(Full year, Grades 9-12) This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the process of modern recording. Students learn about the recording industry from its early stages up through the present. Topics include signal paths, microphone types and placements, analog recording, and digital recording, editing, mixing, and general production.
(One semester, Grades 11-12) This is an introductory course in public speaking that stresses the organization and presentation of speeches in a variety of settings. Students completing this course are able to incorporate public speaking into situations they will face in their personal and professional lives.
(Extracurricular, all Grades 7-12) Theater offers students an excellent outlet for self-expression and development. We produce at least two shows each year – one comedy or drama and one musical. Musicals frequently compete in local or regional competitions, where students have received top honors for set design, acting, ensemble performance, and overall production, among others. Auditions are open to all MUS students and female students from local schools. There are opportunities to participate in all areas of theater, including acting, singing, dancing, directing, writing, public relations, lighting and sound design, stagecraft, and stage management. Seniors may direct a play, which is added to the regular season. For consideration, seniors must pass an interview and proposal process conducted by the director of theater.
(One or two semesters, Grades 9-12) A hands-on experience in the technical production of plays and musicals, this course expands students’ understanding and appreciation of the dramatic arts through practical exercises and script analysis. Projects in lighting, sound, and scenic design offer an introduction to enduring design principles through immersion in multiple aspects of stagecraft.
All-West Orchestra Honors
Congratulations to all Owl musicians who auditioned for the All-West Tennessee Orchestras. They performed difficult musical excerpts, scales, and were required to sightread in front of a judge who is a professional musician and/or teacher.
Our winter concerts are the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season! The event Tuesday, December 5, will feature our Orchestra, Band, and Wind Ensembles. Come back Thursday, December 7, to hear Beg To Differ, Studio Band Red, Studio Band Blue, and Lower School music students.
Auditions for the spring play, “The Great Gatsby,” will be Thursday, November 30, 6-8 p.m., and Monday, December 4, 4-6 p.m. in Hyde Chapel. A student-produced adaptation of the American literary classic, the play will run April 12, 14-16.
Upper School and Lower School students interested in participating in the MUS Theater Company’s fall musical, Mamma Mia!, should head to Hyde Chapel May 8, 10, and 11 for auditions and tech interviews. Theater Assistant Director Ted Fockler ’10, Instructor in Music Matt Tutor ’91, and Theater Technical Director Robert Fudge welcome potential actors, actresses, designers, and crew members.
Instructor in Instrumental Music and Director of Band and Orchestra Programs Chris Piecuch has been named the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music Educator of the Year. He will receive the award in an April 26 ceremony in the Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center.
Freshman Miles McCarroll won the schoolwide English-Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition January 27 by performing an excerpt from Henry IV, Part 2, Act 5, Scene 5. Sophomore Amrik Chakravarty placed second with a performance as Nick Bottom from Act 4, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Congratulations to all Owl musicians who auditioned for the All-West Tennessee Orchestras. They performed difficult musical excerpts and scales, and were required to sightread in front of a judge who is a professional musician and/or teacher.
A clarinet concert in Hyde Chapel November 16 was the culmination of a residency with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra clarinet quartet. President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Abell introduced the program, saying, “Music provides the soundtrack to your life as you live it.”
As MUS highlighted Hispanic heritage this month with a chapel guest from Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group, artists in Mrs. Laura Beck’s seventh grade classes created Día de los Muertos posters. While working on their pieces, Owls studied Hispanic heritage as well as color therapy, symmetry, and Zentangles.
A record 28 musicians earned chairs in All-West Tennessee bands and orchestras, and another two received alternate status. This surpasses last year’s record of 25 musicians and three alternates. Additionally, eight students qualified for All-State honors.