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Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Course Description

Students in Vocal Jazz Ensemble study and perform a wide range of classic and contemporary vocal styles in the vocal jazz idiom. The content includes, but is not limited to, the following concepts: extensive sight-reading at an upper level, practicing and using vocal improvisation, exploration of vocal jazz tone color/quality of production, public performance, studying of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic structure in vocal jazz and popular choral music. Public performances are presented throughout the year and at Major Jazz Festivals.

Grade Level(s): 10th-12th grade

Related Priority Standards (State &/or National):  Missouri Grade Level Expectations for Music

Essential Questions

  • What is the value of participation and performance in a music program?
  • How can musicianship and music literacy be applied to other aspects of life?
  • What effect does being a consumer and supporter of music have on our community and us?

Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas

  • Music is a critical component of all societies.
  • Students are musicians and can be musicians in a variety of ways.
  • There are tools for proper performance technique (vocally and instrumentally).
  • Musicianship and music literacy are life skills.
  • It is important to be a consumer and supporter of music to carry on into future generations.

Course-Level Scope & Sequence (Units &/or Skills)

Unit: Performance and Participation - Individual and Ensemble

Performance and participation includes skills that allow a Kirkwood vocal music student to continue to grow and adjust as a singer both
individually and part of an ensemble.  Skills include tone, balance, blend, vowel unification, intonation, diction, and mechanics.

  • Students will be able to sing with a clear, focused, well-placed, and supported vocal sound through daily practice.
  • Students will use active listening and teacher reflection to achieve proper balance within the ensemble.
  • Students will sing with proper tone and balance to create dynamic and tonal equality of singers within a vocal part as well as the ensemble as a whole.
  • Students will unify their vowels.
  • Students will sing with a well centered pitch.
  • Students will demonstrate appropriate pronunciation/articulation of text within a piece of music.
  • Students will use proper posture and stance when singing.
  • Students will sing using proper breathing techniques.

Unit: Music Literacy

Music literacy includes rhythm accuracy, pitch accuracy, and understanding of key music terminology.

  • Interpret Notation: Tempo Markings, Dynamics, Score Navigation, Notes, Rhythms, Key Signatures

Unit: Music Appreciation (Listening Literacy)

This unit includes listening to and developing an appreciation of various musical styles and genres, and exploring music of historical and cultural significance.

  • Students will be able to differentiate various styles, including traditional choral, Broadway, jazz, multicultural, etc.
  • Students will explore historical and cultural music by experiencing vocal pieces from a variety of time periods, cultures, and traditions.