450 N. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
(213) 217-8600
Ken Martinez, Principal
Kim M. Bruno,
Executive Artistic Director
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Course Descriptions

Grading Policy

  • 25%     Quizzes, Tests, Projects, Presentations
  • 30%     Classwork/Participation
  • 10%     Homework/Class Preparation
  • 35%     Culminating Evaluations: Mid-term and Final Exams, Exhibitions, Juries, Performances
    • End of unit
    • End of marking period
    • End of semester

Sample Music Course Sequence: Instrumental and Vocal

Grade 9

  • Music Theory 1
  • Technique Class
  • Instrument/Vocal Ensemble
  • Freshman Seminar

Grade 10

  • Music Theory 2 Technique Class Instrument/Vocal Ensemble

Grade 11

  • AP Music Theory
  • Technique Class
  • Instrument/Vocal Ensemble (#1)
  • Instrument/Vocal Ensemble (#2)

Grade 12

  • AP Music Theory
  • Composition
  • Instrument/Vocal Ensemble (#1)
  • Instrument/Vocal Ensemble (#2)

Instrumental Music Course Offerings

Technique Classes

Beginning Instruments

This course is for the woodwind, brass, or percussion musician. Emphasis is on building fundamental instrumental skills and techniques at the beginner level. Repertoire is chosen from concert band literature according to level ability.

Beginning Guitar

This course introduces students to beginning-level acoustic guitar technique. The course emphasizes music notation, basic fingering skills, and methodologies that prepare students for more-advanced guitar study with an emphasis on the classical guitar. Beginning Guitar also examines the various genres of guitar music, including rock and pop, exposing students to improvisation and use of the electric guitar.

Music Composition

Prerequisite: Music Theory 2. This course exposes students to the fundamentals of music composition through analysis of significant composers' works and through the creation of original compositions. Students learn how to develop a melodic line through the use of motifs and explore harmonic progressions in both traditional and non-traditional composition. The class culminates in students composing their own string quartet at the end of the first semester and a full symphonic orchestral piece at the end of the second semester. Completion of AP Music Theory is recommended before taking Composition.

Music Theory 1

Music Theory 1 introduces students to the fundamentals of standard notation and basic music literacy: how to sight-sing and read notes in treble and bass clefs, explore basic rhythms and meters, and perform on piano simple melodies written in standard notation. Melodic and rhythmic dictations, as well as ear training exercises and composition projects, are integral components to this course of study.

Music Theory 2

Prerequisite: Completion of Music Theory 1. Ear training, sight singing, and dictation continue to be integral components. Students learn all of the intervals that exist in the musical language (major, minor, augmented, diminished). They become familiar with the major and minor scales in all variations and become proficient in reading all major and minor keys, thus gaining the knowledge of all of the key signatures. They progress in sight reading, now being able to successfully sing melodies with melodic intervallic skips.

Music Theory, Advanced Placement

This is a college-level course; upon completion, students are expected to sit for the AP examination. This course emphasizes aural and visual identification of procedures based in common-practice tonality: functional triadic harmony in traditional four-voice texture (with vocabulary including nonharmonic tones, seventh chords, and secondary dominants). Topics include cadences, melodic and harmonic compositional processes (e.g., sequence, motivic development), standard rhythms and meters, phrase structure (e.g., contrasting period, phrase group), small forms (e.g., rounded binary, simple ternary, theme and variation, strophic), and modulation to closely related keys. A brief introduction to twentieth-century scales, choral structures, and compositional procedures is included. Ear training, sight singing, and dictation continue to be integral components.

Band Ensembles

Intermediate Band

Intermediate Band is open to second-year woodwind, brass, and percussion students. Emphasis is on building the fundamental skills and techniques taught in Beginning Instruments. Repertoire is chosen from concert band literature according to level ability.

Concert Band

By audition only. Concert Band is open to intermediate/advanced woodwind, brass, and percussion students. Emphasis is on expanding the skills and techniques previously acquired. Repertoire is chosen from concert band literature according to level ability. Concert Band is featured in two major concerts annually. There are opportunities to work with guest artists.

Symphonic Band

By audition only. Open to advanced woodwind, brass, and percussion students. Emphasis is on expanding the skills and techniques previously acquired. Repertoire is chosen from advanced symphonic band literature. Symphonic Band is featured in two major concerts annually. There are opportunities to work with guest artists.

Jazz Band

By audition only. Open to advanced woodwind, brass, percussion, guitar, bass, and piano students. Emphasis is on expanding the skills and techniques previously acquired. Repertoire is chosen from standard jazz literature. Jazz Band is featured in two major concerts annually. There are opportunities to work with guest artists.

Guitar Ensembles

Intermediate Guitar

This course develops student achievement through the study of intermediate classical guitar literature. Students will learn to play as part of a classical guitar ensemble. The course further examines various musicians and composers important to the history of the instrument. Intermediate guitar also examines the various genres of guitar music, including rock and pop, with emphasis on composition and recording.

Advanced Guitar

This course develops student achievement through the study of advanced guitar ensemble repertoire. Students will learn to perform with skill, accuracy, and aesthetic sensitivity. The course provides opportunities for ensemble work in standard advanced repertory of the classical guitar. Advanced skills and concepts involving solo and ensemble performance, technique, interpretation, stage etiquette and music literature are addressed.

Guitar Quartet/Chamber Guitar Ensemble

This course develops student achievement through the study of college and professional repertoire in preparation for performance. Guitar Quartet students study both original compositions and transcriptions for the guitar quartet medium. Students attend master classes, festivals, and symposia. By audition only.

Orchestral Ensembles

String Orchestra

By audition only. Open to violin, viola, cello, and upright bass students who are performing at the intermediate level. Emphasis is on expanding the skills and techniques previously acquired. Repertoire is chosen from string orchestra literature.

Symphony Orchestra

By audition only. Open to advanced string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students. Emphasis is on expanding the skills and techniques previously acquired. Repertoire chosen from advanced orchestral literature. Symphonic Orchestra is featured in two major concerts annually. There are opportunities to work with guest artists.

Vocal Music Course Offerings

Technique Classes

Beginning Voices

A required introductory course for all vocal music majors. Students develop beginning-level techniques in voice. The class includes the study of basic reading skills and methodologies that prepare singers for more advanced choral study. Beginning Voices also works with L.A. Master Chorale's Voices Within Program - a twenty-week project that focuses on composition and collaboration and culminates in an original oratorio performed in collaboration with with the L.A. Master Chorale.

Music Composition

Prerequisite: Music Theory 2. This course exposes students to the fundamentals of music composition through analysis of significant composers’ works and through the creation of original compositions. Students learn how to develop a melodic line through the use of motifs and explore harmonic progressions in both traditional and non-traditional composition. The class culminates in students composing their own string quartet at the end of the first semester and a full symphonic orchestral piece at the end of the second semester. Completion of AP music Theory is recommended before taking composition.

Music Theory 1

Music Theory 1 introduces students to the fundamentals of standard notation and basic music literacy: how to sight sing and read notes in treble and bass clefs, explore basic rhythms and meters, and perform on piano simple melodies written in standard notation.  Melodic and rhythmic dictations, as well as ear training exercises and composition projects, are integral components to this course of study.

Music Theory 2

Prerequisite: Completion of Music Theory 1. Ear training, sight singing, and dictation continue to be integral component. Students learn all of the intervals that exist in the musical language (major, minor, augmented, diminished). They become familiar with the major and minor scales in all variations. They become proficient in reading all major and minor keys, thus gaining the knowledge of all of the key signatures. They progress in sight reading, now being able to successfully sing melodies with melodic intervallic skips.

Music Theory, Advanced Placement

This is a college-level course; upon completion, students are expected to sit for the AP examination.  This course emphasizes aural and visual identification of procedures based in common-practice tonality:  functional triadic harmony in traditional four-voice texture (with vocabulary including nonharmonic tones, seventh chords, and secondary dominants).  Topics include cadences, melodic and harmonic compositional processes (e.g., sequence, motivic development), standard rhythms and meters, phrase structure (e.g., contrasting period, phrase group), small forms (e.g., rounded binary, simple ternary, theme and variation, strophic), and modulation to closely related keys.  A brief introduction to twentieth-century scales, choral structures, and compositional procedures is included.  Ear training, sight singing, and dictation continue to be an integral component.

Vocal Technique

This class is open to all 11th and 12th grade students who wish to work on vocal technique, sight singing, repertoire and musicianship. In addition, students develop interpretation skills, familiarity with the International Phonetic Alphabet, and audition preparation skills.

Vocal Ensembles

Concert Choir

This course is for the advanced study of choral repertoire for SATB mixed voices. Students study four- to eight-part music in a variety of genres, styles, and languages. Concert Choir performs music from diverse areas of the world including all musical periods. Prerequisites for this course include successful completion of Music Theory 1 & 2 and Vocal Technique. Entrance is by audition only.

Mixed Chorus

This course is for the intermediate study of choral repertoire for SATB mixed voices. Students are introduced to the various genres of vocal music and provided with opportunities for growth in vocalizing techniques and reading music through “tonic sol-fa” in preparation for advanced choral work. Mixed Chorus also works with the LA Master Chorale's High School Festival, which provides master class experiences. Entrance is by audition only.

Women's Chorus

This course is for the intermediate to advanced study of choral repertoire with strong emphasis on a capella technique.  Students are introduced to the various genres of vocal music and provided with opportunities for growth in understanding musical elements, reading music notation, and developing the physical skills necessary for accurate tonal production and quality. Entrance is by audition only.

Elective Course Offerings

SAGA (Singers At Grand Arts)

Entrance is by audition only. Grand Arts' show choir draws its repertoire from Broadway, jazz, and pop genres. Students learn advanced stage performance techniques with choreographed sequences as soloists and ensemble members. As a frequently requested performing ensemble, SAGA performs at special events throughout Southern Califoria. Students rehearse after school 4 hours per week.

Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Entrance is by audition only. Vocal Jazz draws its repertoire from all eras of jazz. Student study jazz music theory, history, improvisation, microphone technique, and work with instrumental combos. Vocal Jazz performs at special events throughout Southern Califoria. Students rehearse after school 3 hours per week.