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Information for Current Band Parents and Students



The music department is staffed by specialists and professional performers giving students the attention and instruction needed to be successful musicians. Students are coached in small groups via sectionals and an after-school private lesson program provides further individualized instruction and advancement of instrumental techniques. 

Hill-Murray School has an award-winning band program that offers a variety of musical opportunities including: Honors Symphonic Band, AP Music Theory, Middle School Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band for advanced musicians (audition required), Jazz Band (audition required), Pep Band, Marching Band, Orchestra, All-Conference Band, All-State Band, Region 4AA Solo/Ensemble Contest, Region 4AA Large Group Contest, access to multiple honor bands including All-State, MBDA, and the National Catholic Honor Band. All students in grades 6-12 enrolled in band have an opportunity to earn a varsity letter.



The Hill-Murray Band has received a Superior Rating (highest possible) at the Region 4AA Large Group Band Contest in Class I (highest possible class.) The band has also received numerous Superior Ratings (highest possible) at the Region 4 AA Large Group Solo/Ensemble Contest and several of our students received perfect scores and won the "Best at Site" Award.  Band students represent our school in many auditioned-based ensembles throughout the Midwest. We continue to have students participate in many Honor Bands in both middle school and high school. We also have students who participate in competitive drum and bugle corps.  The Hill-Murray Band has graduating seniors who are being awarded music scholarships to attend the college of their choice and participate in the school's music programs. 


The Hill-Murray Band also offers students an opportunity to travel and perform. Some of our more recent trips have been to Disney World in Orlando, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial and USS Missouri in Hawaii. 

Read below for more information on specific band opportunities.

Click here to read about our opportunities for string players. 




Instrumental Music Course Offerings for Credit 


Middle School Band

Grades 6-8

One Semester or Full Year (recommended) 

This performing ensemble stresses basic fundamentals of instrumental technique, music reading and overall musicianship. Large group rehearsals are augmented by sectionals, individual assignments, as well as periodic written work. Performances and concerts are required. 


Concert Band

Grades 9-12

1 Credit each semester - 2 Credits total. Can be taken one semester or full year.

No audition is required - all are accepted. 

The Concert Band performs several concerts throughout the year. Attendance at all performances is a requirement of the course. Students enrolled in this course will be part of the Hill-Murray Marching Band and Pep Band which is integrated into the course curriculum.  Marching and Pep Band rehearsals will take place during the class period. No audition is required. 



Symphonic Band

Advanced, Grades 9-12

Full year - 2 Credits total

Audition required

This performing ensemble is offered for more advanced students, grades 9-12. Advanced musical concepts will be discussed in relation to the many different styles of music performed. Auditions will be held during the spring. The Symphonic Band performs several concerts throughout the year, including area music festivals. Attendance at all performances is required. Students approved for this ensemble will be part of the Hill-Murray Marching Band and Pep Band which is integrated into the curriculum. Marching and pep band rehearsals will take place during the class period. An audition is required. Audition materials and instructions will be mailed to all registered band students.


AP Music Theory

Advanced Placement, Grades 11 and 12

1 Semester, 1 Credit
Elective 11-12

Prerequisite: Ability to read and understand music at an intermediate level

This course is designed to develop a student's ability to recognize, understand and describe the materials and processes of music. The course will instill mastery of musical terminology, including hearing and notating pitches, intervals, scales, keys and chords. We will also focus on music organization and rhythmic patterns. Building on this foundation, the course will progress to include more sophisticated and creative tasks, such as melodic and harmonic dictation, composition of a bass line for a given melody, implying appropriate harmony, realization of a figured bass, realization of a Roman numeral progression, analysis of repertoire including: melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, form and sight-singing. Students will be offered the opportunity to take the Advanced Placement Examination in Music Theory, offered in May. 


Honors Symphonic Band

College Prep, Grades 11 and 12

Full year - 2 Credits total
Elective Grade 11-12

Motivated and capable students may register for this course pending teacher approval.The students will complete the Symphonic Band curriculum plus additional assignments and required private lesson instruction. Students will be expected to work on musical analysis in their required private lessons, journal practicing sessions, complete a first semester research project related to their chosen piece and complete a judged performance of advanced and contest-quality solo literature each semester. Second semester, students will be expected to participate in the Solo/Ensemble Contest, as well as provide tutoring sessions for Hill-Murray middle school music students planning to participate in the MS Solo/Ensemble Contest. A course timeline and further details are available from a Hill-Murray Music teacher. 



Grades 6-12

One Semester or Full Year (recommended) 

1 Credit each semester- 2 credits total

This performing ensemble will learn music of varying difficulty that will be arranged as dictated by student needs. Musical concepts will be discussed and many different styles of music will be performed. No audition is required. All string students are accepted.  Orchestra will perform several concerts throughout the year alone or in conjunction with other H-M music ensembles. Students will be asked to perform for additional school functions as the year progresses.  Attendance at all performances is a requirement of the course. 

Cocurricular Music Opportunities

Hill-Murray School offers a number of cocurricular music opportunities.  Some opportunities, such as pep band and marching band are integrated into the curriculum and provide a musical service to our community while other opportunities are outside of the school day.

Jazz Band (Grades 6-12, practices are before school on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30am)
Pep Band (Grades 9-12, integrated into Concert and Symphonic Band classes; students must be registered members of the band class to be in this group. Rehearsals are during the regular band class period.)

Marching Band (Grades 9-12, integrated into Concert and Symphonic Band classes; students music be registered members of the band class to be in this group.  Rehearsal are during the regular band period.)

Band Student Board (Elected by peers, grades 6-12, students must be in an instrumental ensemble, cocurricular or class.)

Flute Choir (Grades 6-12, practices are before and/or after school. All abilities are welcome.)

Rock Band (new trial this year. Grades 9-12, practices are after school.  We will perform pop and rock tunes at various events throughout the year)
Music Ministry (Selected by Campus Ministry Department. Students lead and perform music for school Masses.)
Pit Orchestra for Theatre (Dependent on show and instrumentation demands, selected by theatre department)

Pioneer Performers (Grades 9-12, an audition is required. Rehearsals are scheduled after school as performances near. Pioneer Performers is a small vocal ensemble of selected Hill-Murray singers who perform at community events)

Student Leadership Opportunities

There are multiple opportunities for student leadership in the band program. Some leadership positions are chosen by the Directors and others are elected by the band students. Some of our leadership opportunities include: Drum Majors, President, Vice-President, Secretary, Event Coordinator, Calendar Coordinator, Band Banquet Chair, Pep Band Music Chair, String Ensemble Chair, Orchestra Chair, Snow Daze Chair (a week-long winter celebration for the school), and Band Buddies Chair (a music mentorship program). 

Varsity Letters/Awards

All students in grades 6-12 can earn a varisty letter through band.  Students need to earn a total of 40 points from at least three different categories (a variety of performance and non-performance categories). Varsity letters along with other awards, plaques, and special recognition are presented at the end of the year band banquet for all grades 6-12. Families and friends are invited to join us in the meal and celebration.


Pioneer Pathways Performing Arts Academy

Hill-Murray offers an after-school private lesson program for both students and adults of all ages. One does not have to be a Hill-Murray student to register for private instruction.  Read more about the Performing Arts Academy. 

Contact the Band Director:

Traci Youngs

office: 651.748.2415

© 2011 Hill-Murray School  |  2625 Larpenteur Avenue E.  |  Maplewood,  MN 55109   |  T: 651-777-1376
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