IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE ELWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSIC DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES For a sample schedule of all of the performing groups, and the information displayed here, download this file.

Welcome to Music at Elwood Middle School!
Music is an integral part of a well rounded education at Elwood Middle School.


There are 2 parts of the music program:
1.  General Music—a one semester classroom course taught every other day in 6th grade.
2.  Performance—all 6th grade students and the majority of 7th and 8th grade students participate in one or more performing groups (chorus, orchestra, band).  This includes rehearsals during zero period and lessons during the school day as well as winter and spring concerts.

  SchoolCenter Picture

FAQ regarding music lessons and other music issues

1.  How are music lessons scheduled?  Students are assigned to lesson groups based on their instrument or voice part and grade/ability level.  Students attend music lessons weekly during one class period.  The class period for lessons rotates each week so that a student will miss any particular class only once every 5 to 7 weeks.
2.  How do we know when lessons are scheduled?  Each student receives a copy of the zero period and lesson schedules.  Schedules are also posted outside the auditorium, the cafeteria, music hallway, accessible on the web through links to the music teachers, EMS PTA and Elwood School district websites.   
3.  What if my child has a test or a quiz scheduled during a lesson period?  Your child should stay in the regular classroom to take any quiz or test but must make their music teacher aware of the conflict.  Students know about tests ahead of time and should communicate with their music teacher at least the day before the lesson.
4.  What about work missed in the regular class?  On their lesson days, students should first report to their classroom teacher and tell him or her that they have a music lesson scheduled.  Each teacher will have a procedure for the students to make up the work they will miss.  Homework/study buddies can be helpful too.
5.  Can my child take lessons with a different group?  Generally no, however, occasionally make-up lessons with a different group can be scheduled, but this should be discussed with the music teacher.  Taking lessons with the regularly assigned group minimizes the amount of work missed in any one subject.
6.  I am worried that missing classes will hurt my child’s performance in that class.  Music training has been shown to enhance critical and creative thinking.  High school musicians consistently score higher on their Math and Verbal SATs than their non-musician peers.  At John Glenn High School typically 6 to 8 of our top 10 students are musicians.  Nevertheless, if you have concerns in a particular subject, speak with both the music teacher and the classroom teacher about your concerns.
7.  Report card grades are Pass or Fail and will be based on:

  • Zero period attendance  Any absence from a rehearsal that is not an excused absence from school will be considered a cut.  A student who has more than three cuts per marking period will receive a failing grade for the quarter.   
  • Lesson performance and attendance.  You must attend at least 75% of lessons in a marking period to pass.

8.  My child is interested in taking private music lessons, how do I find a teacher?  Speak with your child’s school music teacher for some suggestions.  Parents of older students and members of Elwood Music Sponsors can be helpful in sharing their experiences as well.
9.  What is the appropriate dress for concert?

Dress for the winter concert

  • Girls-white blouse or sweater, black or very dark pants or skirt (knee length or longer!) and black shoes
  • Boys-white shirt, black or dark pants, no jeans, black shoes and socks and a tie.

Dress for the spring concert

  • Girls-dressy spring clothes appropriate for a concert. (shirts knee length or longer and not too revealing)
  • Boys-any color dress shirt and pants, ties and dress shoes.

10.  What is NYSSMA?  It stands for New York State School Music Association and is the organization that oversees individual student auditions.  Students prepare solos and scales on their instrument and perform them for a judge who is typically a music teacher from another school district.  All students are also asked to do sight reading.  Comprehensive evaluations are given back to the students.  Auditions are performed in the spring and may be done on any level from I (beginner) to VI (advanced).  The evaluations are also used to select students who are invited to perform in All-County, All-State and All-Eastern honors ensembles.  Elwood has always been well represented in these elite performing groups.  Please ask your music teacher or Elwood Music Sponsors for more information.  
11.  What is SCMEA and LISFA
SCMEA – Suffolk County Music Educators Association and LISFA – Long Island String Festival Association are all county groups that select a few students each year to perform a separate concert with neighboring school districts.  Selections are based on NYSSMA scores from the previous year.
12.  Are there other music performing groups?  The Middle School Jazz Band accepts students by audition.  They rehearse on Monday nights and perform during the 6th grade concerts in the fall and spring as well as other select EMS events.  At times other select performing groups will be formed by the music teachers.  They will highlight performances by our top EMS musicians.
13.  What is Tri M?  It is the music honor society that recognizes students for excellence in music, academics, citizenship and service.  Criteria for admission at EMS include performance in at least 2 performing groups throughout middle school and performance of at least a level III NYSSMA solo with a grade of excellent or better.  Additionally students must be recommended by their teachers on the basis of musical ability, academic scholarship, cooperation with teachers and fellow students, leadership and service.
14.  Are there eighth grade awards in music?
As with all the other subject areas, an eighth grade music award for each performing group is based on the student’s three years at the middle school.  The criteria for the award takes into account Talent, Leadership, Growth, Behavior, Attitude, Attendance at both zero period and lessons, and participation in select music groups such as  NYSSMA, SCMEA, and LISFA.
15.  What can we expect of the music program at John Glenn High School?  Our high school musicians continue to excel with their instruments and many begin a second (or third) instrument.  There is generally a music performance trip each year.  In February 2009 the John Glenn Students toured and performed in Italy!  Past trips have included Hershey Park, Virginia Beach and Disney World.  In addition to Concert Band, Orchestra and Chorus, there are select groups filled by audition: Jazz Band, Honors Ensemble, Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Strings and Chamber Choir.  Band students also participate in Marching Band.  The Pit Orchestra for the school musical is composed of high school musicians.  There is an honors level course in music theory offered as well.