The Alabama School of Fine Arts Department of Music offers training and experience that prepare music majors for advancement to universities, college-level conservatories, and subsequent professional careers. The outstanding record of success by ASFA music majors reflects of our basic philosophy: to develop technical proficiency, artistic ability, and intellectual curiosity to the fullest, so that each individual will be prepared to advance to the next level of study in pursuit of a career option in the field of music.
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 25 min recital of solo repertoire and seniors present a 30 min 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.
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.
Students customarily participate in All-District, All-State Jazz Band, All-State Choir, All-State Band and Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra, other area ensembles, and independent study with guidance by faculty advisors. ASFA students have performed with Samford University Orchestra and the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra. Some competitions where ASFA is represented include the Music Teacher's National Association Competition, Birmingham Music Clubs, National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS), and the American Federation of Music Clubs.
ASFA music students have attended summer music camps and festivals at venues such as Kennedy Center, Brevard Music Center, Eastern Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra (NYO and NYO2), Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and Tanglewood.
Applied Music (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 undergoes some revision (.7 unit per semester).
ASFA Orchestra (Admission by audition) - The ASFA Orchestra annually presents dozens of performances both on- and off-campus.
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).
Concerto della Donne – This select vocal ensemble is featured at designated performances throughout the year. Made up of female voice majors and instrumentalists (.1 unit per semester).
Chamber Ensembles - Students participate in small group ensembles of 2 to 12 players coached by a faculty member each week.
Jazz Ensemble (Admission by audition) - Study and performance of jazz standards. History of jazz, jazz harmony, and improvisation are included. Students participate in multiple performances at ASFA and across the state.
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.
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.
Practical Music (The following course work relates to the development of musicianship skills)
Music Theory (Beginning level through Advanced Placement level) - These courses are designed to facilitate learning of musical style and practices in order to gain an understanding of the organization of music and its principles. Students develop skills in analysis, part-writing, and form in music.
Ear Training/Sight-singing (Beginning level through Advanced level) - These courses are de-signed to develop the student’s fundamental aural and sight-reading/singing skills. They are trained in music dictation and the singing of music examples in solfège.
Music History - This is a comprehensive course covering the music of the Western world. It is taken during the senior year. Students learn to think and read critically and are engaged in critical discussions about music.
Class Piano - 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. This course is taken during the junior year.