The Oconee County Middle School’s Band and Chorus Programs are part of CONNECTIONS classes available to all 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Involvement in the fine arts helps to develop a well-rounded child and builds self-confidence in the student. Connections courses are designed to enhance academic opportunities in school and build on teamwork, cooperation and communication. The Band and Chorus courses are unique in that they are given all year round to students who select to enroll in them.
The band program offers three, large performing ensembles: Beginning, Concert and Symphonic Bands.
Beginning Band for 6th graders allows students to develop excellent playing habits in the areas of tone, articulation, posture, and proper rehearsal demeanor. The Concert & Symphonic Bands, comprised of 7th and 8th graders, focus on technique and continued development in areas of tone, articulation, and musicianship. Jazz Band is an extracurricular opportunity for 7th and 8th graders. The students in this group perform music in swing, latin, rock, and pop styles and learn the basics of improvisation.
The choral program exists to provide students with the terminology, knowledge, and technical skills necessary to be successful in performing quality choral music of all historical periods and styles. The choral class is a performance based course focusing on: choral techniques and skills, vocal pedagogy, sight-reading, music theory, music terminology, and knowledge of choral literature. OCMS Decanten is an extracurricular opportunity for 7th and 8th graders allowing students to further enhance their choral techniques and skills.
Arts curricula is typically process-driven and relationship based, so its impact on academic performance is often underestimated and undervalued. The arts provide a logical counterbalance to the trend of standardized testing and should not be marginalized just because the curriculum is more difficult to measure. (Source: Eisner, E. W., Ten Lessons the Arts Teach, January 1998.) The arts can play a crucial role in improving students’ abilities to learn, because they draw on a range of intelligences and learning styles, not just the linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences upon which most schools are based. (Source: Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning, President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, talking about Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 1995.) A student making music experiences the “simultaneous engagement of senses, muscles, and intellect. Brain scans taken during musical performances show that virtually the entire cerebral cortex is active while musicians are playing.” (Source: Learning and the Arts: Crossing Boundaries, 2000, p. 14.) Listening to music for just an hour a day changes brain organization…EEG results showed greater brain coherence and more time spent in the alpha state. (Source: Malyarenko, et al., 1996.)