Alabama School of Fine Arts | 1800 Reverend Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd. | Birmingham, AL 35203 | 205.252.9241
Credits. Students grades 9-12 earn two units per semester, one for Applied Music and one for Practical Music.
Semester Juries. Juries serve as final examinations in Applied Major Study. Jury performances are evaluated by a panel comprised of the music faculty.
Recitals. All students perform in recital at least once each semester. Students receive specific assignments. Participants dress and act with appropriate concert decorum in order to project a positive image for the department.
Junior and Senior recitals. In lieu of a semester jury, juniors present a half recital of solo repertoire and seniors present a full recital. The senior recital is the culmination of applied music study. Through this experience the candidate for graduation demonstrates not only technical accomplishment but also an understanding of musical form and style pertinent to various historical periods; awareness of the composer's artistic intent and the means to aesthetically convey that in a performance environment, and a well-developed stage demeanor and personal poise.
Extracurricular performances. Students participate in extracurricular performances to the extent that such performances do not interfere with scheduled ASFA activities, and that they reflect favorably upon the individual and the institution.
Enrichment activities. Students customarily participate in competitions, orchestral ensembles, and All-State Band and Orchestra, summer music camps and festivals, and independent study with guidance by faculty advisors.
The following course work relates to actual music performance.
Applied Major Study (One lesson weekly) The weekly private lesson with a specialist studio instructor, and the individual student practice regimen necessary to prepare thoroughly for each lesson. The long-range objective is to develop maximum technical proficiency and musical artistry in vocal/instrumental performance. Individual requirements vary with age and experience; however, students are generally assigned technical work (vocal exercises for singers, scales/arpeggios and etudes for instrumentalists) as well as appropriate solo repertoire. As the student progresses, needs inevitably change and the course of study will undergo some revision. (.7 unit per semester)
ASFA Orchestra (Admission by audition) This ensemble constitutes the primary performing group from the Music department. The Orchestra annually presents dozens of performances both on- and off-campus. Members furnish their own formal wear for evening performances. (.1 or .2 unit per semester).
ASFA Choir Singing is the most fundamental of all musical activities; therefore, it is essential that music majors develop a modicum of vocal ability and a familiarity with the myriad of vocal music which pervades every culture in the world. Since solo and part-singing in a group constitutes the most efficient means to achieve a general competency, all music majors will participate in choir rehearsals and performances. (.1 or . 2 unit per semester)
Chamber Choir (Admission by audition) This select vocal ensemble is featured at designated performances throughout the year. (.1 unit per semester)
Chamber Ensembles Students not participating in Chamber Choir are assigned to study, prepare and perform chamber music. (.1 unit per semester)
Jazz Ensemble (Admission by audition) Study and performance of jazz standards. History of Jazz, Jazz Harmony and Improvisation are included. (.1 unit per semester)
Wind Ensemble (Admission by audition) Study and perform standard repertoire for winds, brass, and percussion.
Vocal Repertoire Group experience allowing vocalists to perform works-in-progress for peer observation and critique. Theoretical and historical aspects of the music under study may be shared in group discussion. (.1 unit per semester)
Piano Repertoire/Literature Group experience allowing pianists to perform works-in-progress for peer observation and critique. Theoretical and historical aspects of the music under study may be shared in group discussion. Techniques for accompanying and performing chamber music with instrumentalists and vocalists are included. (.1 unit per semester)
The following courses are classroom based.
Music Theory (Basic/Intermediate/Advanced/Advanced Placement) A course providing comprehension of and facility with the basic elements found in all music. Students are assigned to a level commensurate with present ability. There are two main components to all levels of study: (1) Part-writing and analysis, which teaches an understanding of rhythm, melody, harmony and form as expressed in traditional notation, and (2) Aural development, which consists of two closely related aspects of musicianship, aural awareness and sight-singing. (.3 to .5 unit per semester)
Music History (Basic/Intermediate) An aural and written survey of the cultural, social, political and economic impact of music throughout the history of western civilization. By concentrating on music of the acknowledged masters, students gain appreciation of the aesthetic value of music as well as comprehension of various styles. In turn, students acquire the ability to make informed artistic judgments regarding all music; thus, on a comparative basis, they are able to formulate insights and an appreciation of world cultures other than their own. Required reading of college-level texts and independent research enables students to write objectively and factually about music to be performed on student recitals. Required of all juniors. (.3 to .5 unit per semester)
Music History (Advanced) Detailed aural and written survey of music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods and the Twentieth Century. Required of all juniors and seniors. (.3 to .5 unit per semester)
Aural Awareness (Basic/Intermediate/Advanced) A laboratory class which augments and reinforces the concepts presented in all other music classes and activities. Students master the ability to recognize and identify melodic/harmonic intervals, rhythmic and harmonic progression through dictation. (.2-.3 credits per semester)
Sight-Singing (Basic/Intermediate/Advanced) A laboratory class which augments and reinforces the concepts presented in all other music classes and activities. Students master the ability to read and vocally replicate a melodic line using diatonic and chromatic solfege syllables. (.2-.3 credits per semester)
Class Piano Aside from singing, the most essential skill for all musicians is keyboard facility; consequently, all upper division non-keyboard majors are required to complete Class Piano by learning and demonstrating proficiency in playing all major/minor scales, arpeggios, harmonic cadences, rudimentary solo pieces and simple sight-reading. Pending departmental approval, students who have attained requisite keyboard mastery prior to enrollment may be permitted to "test out.” (.2 unit per semester)