The North Colonie Central School District is proud of its excellent arts programs. The music department in North Colonie includes 27 teachers who work with more than 69 performing groups. More than 2,100 students perform regularly within our schools and community.
For the 13th year in a row, North Colonie has been designated as one of the Best Communities for Music Education, a national honor. Winning districts set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education.
The NAMM Foundation congratulates the district on demonstrating outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students in the district. The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 9,000 members around the world.
“I am proud of the accomplishments of our ensembles and students, but more importantly, proud of the daily instruction and inspiration that our music teachers provide for the children of North Colonie,” said Deborah Keough, North Colonie’s Music Department Supervisor. “Now more than ever, the arts are critical to students’ academic and social-emotional development. I am always proud to lead a department of amazing educators who inspire students to find their voice and become more than they knew they could be.”
Music at the Elementary Level
Each child in kindergarten through fifth grade experiences a 30-minute music class twice every six days.
In music class, children are exposed to a variety of activities designed to broaden musical experiences and develop musical skills. Listening activities help develop the child’s perception of music. Musical response is developed through movement, rhythmic activities, singing and playing instruments. The child is also encouraged to create and organize sounds into musical patterns.
All fifth grade students participate in chorus. Rehearsals are held once a week and two evening concerts are performed during the school year. The experience of rehearsing and performing before an audience is a valuable means of developing a true appreciation of music performance, as well as reinforcing habits of cooperation and self-discipline.
Students in intermediate grades (4-5) may elect to participate in band or orchestra. During the instrumental recruitment period in the spring, third grade students are screened for their interest and physical development. Each student accepted into the instrumental program receives a small group lesson once a week. As the performance level increases, the 4th grade students rehearse together as a band or orchestra. The 5th grade students rehearse in the band or orchestra a minimum of once a week, and perform concerts in the winter and spring.
Advanced opportunities are available to students who excel in music. Students may participate in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo and Ensemble Festivals, grade level plays, or other performance opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate fully in the music program and work hard to achieve a high level of skill and enjoyment.
Music at SMS
Sixth grade students are scheduled for one semester (20 weeks) of General Music, which is divided into three units. In the Film Scoring unit, students will explore the impact of various film composers and their music and use technology to create their own original material. In the two instrument units, students will review the skills they learned in elementary music, and learn new skills that will allow them to perform on the instruments (ukulele and drums). Students will learn these news skills through performing individually, in small groups, and as a class.
Seventh grade students are scheduled for one semester (twenty weeks) of General Music, which is divided into three units. In the Jazz unit, students will learn the history behind Jazz music; they will also learn how to identify different styles and performers through listening exercises and by completing various projects. In the two instrument units, students will review the skills they learned in sixth grade, and learn new skills that will allow them to perform on the two instruments (keyboard and acoustic guitar). Students will learn these skills through performing individually, in small groups, and as a class.
Eighth grade students are scheduled for one semester (twenty weeks) of General Music, which is divided into three units. The goal of this program is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the elements and various styles of music, with particular focus on Rock-n-Roll. In this unit, students will learn the history behind Rock-n-Roll music, and will also learn how to identify different styles and performers through listening exercises and by completing various projects. In the two instrument units, students will review the skills they learned in seventh grade, and learn new skills that will allow them to perform on the two instruments (keyboard and acoustic guitar) at a more advanced level. Students will learn these skills through performing individually, in small groups, and as a class.
Music Performing Groups
In the middle school, the Band, Chorus and Orchestra rehearse every other day during the school day. On the opposite day, students in one performing group would in most cases have a study hall. The Band, Chorus, and Orchestra perform in two school concerts per year, and may have other performance opportunities. In addition, students in these performing groups are the only ones eligible to audition for Jazz Ensemble, Select Band, Select Chorus, Treble Makers, Syncopella, Cadenza and Scherzo. Students who play an instrument in Band or Orchestra are encouraged to be in chorus as well, since the two musical experiences complement each other. Students in Band or Orchestra will also have a small-group lesson approximately once a week. In lessons, students learn technique and work to improve their individual skills. Private lessons, while encouraged, are not substituted for school lessons at the middle school level. Students who wish to participate in a performing group must indicate their decision on the Course Selection Form distributed from the middle school. When selecting a performing group, students are committing to participate for an entire year and to perform in all scheduled concerts. The decision to drop a performing group will only be made under extenuating circumstances and with the guidance counselor, administrator, and director.
Accelerated Credit in Music
Students can earn 1/2-unit of high school credit in music while enrolled at the middle school. Those who seek to apply for this accelerated credit in music must successfully complete two years in the Middle School band, chorus, or orchestra. They also must perform a solo on a band or orchestra instrument, piano or voice at a level 3 or higher as ranked by NYSSMA, and have achieved at least a score of Excellent (21 or higher) on that solo by the end of eighth grade. If the student has met the necessary requirements, they will turn in a completed application form to the music teacher by early June of the eighth grade year. If it has been signed by the parent and approved by the teacher and principal, the student will receive half unit of high school credit.
- Jazz Ensemble
- Scherzo (Strings)
- Cadenza (Strings)
- Select Band
- Select Chorus (All voices)
- Treble Ensemble (Soprano & Alto voices)
- Syncopella (Baritone voices)
Each music club is open to grades 6 – 8. Each group rehearses before school, is selected by audition, and requires its members to be participants in the school music groups (i.e., band, chorus, or orchestra). The groups provide enrichment opportunities to experience music. They perform at school concerts and within the community, and have won awards at the Great East Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Music at SHS
Music Knowledge Courses
Shaker High School’s music program is where passion and talent harmonize to create an exceptional musical experience! North Colonie’s music program offers a diverse range of opportunities for students to explore their musical interests and develop their skills. From instrumental ensembles to choral groups, our music program caters to a wide variety of musical interests, allowing students to discover their true potential and forge lifelong connections with music.
At Shaker High School, we believe in the transformative power of music education. Whether students are interested in pursuing music professionally or simply want to enjoy the many benefits of a well-rounded education, our music program offers a wealth of opportunities for personal and artistic development.
Our students have the chance to showcase their talents in a variety of settings, both within the school community and at regional and state-level events. By being a part of Shaker High School’s music program, students embark on a journey of self-discovery, artistic expression, and lifelong appreciation for the transformative power of music.
Applied Music (Private Music Study)
Students may earn one-half credit for private study outside the school if they:
- Previously completed one year of private study without credit
- Receive 30 minutes of instruction each week for 36 weeks and practice for a minimum of five hours per week (averaged over the year.)
- Satisfactorily complete an examination for the District Music Supervisor or submit an NYSSMA score.
- File quarterly reports, which must include a grade issued by the private music teacher.
Private study should focus on solos, methods, and technique development at a level beyond which the student would receive in the regular music program.
Applications are available at the beginning of each school year and must be submitted to the District Music Supervisor no later than Sept. 30.
Students may earn a maximum of two credits over a four-year period. Applied Music does not meet the graduation requirements for one credit of art/music study and may not be used as part of a three- or five-credit fine arts sequence.
Shaker Music Letter
SHS music students have the option of applying to earn a Shaker letter in music each of their four years in high school. Students who participate in performance or service-related activities while in HS may be able to earn enough points for the letter. Each year students have the opportunity to earn a “JV” or “varsity” level Shaker letter. Students should see their music teachers for an application or information.
Each music club rehearses after school and is specially selected. The groups provide enrichment opportunities to experience music, and a great deal of enjoyment for the participants. They perform at school concerts and within the community and have won numerous awards.
- Counterpoint Strings
- Jazz Band
- Jazz Ensemble
- Marching Band
- Pep Band
- Shaker Select
- Bella Voce and 8VA (Soprano/Alto)
- Revolving Suspenders (Tenor/Bass Barbershop)
- Wind Ensemble
- Pop/Rock Band
- Wind Ensemble/Chorus
Tri-M Music Honor Society – Chapter # 4097
Tri-M is a national music honor society sponsored by NAfME: The National Association for Music Education. Its purposes are to honor students for outstanding academic achievement overall and in music, and to encourage service and dedication to the arts and community.
The selection process for Tri-M begins in the fall. Eligible music students (based on music participation and GPA criteria) are invited to apply for consideration. The induction ceremony is held in the spring.
The SHS Chapter is proud to have inducted many honorary members.
MUSIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
District Music Supervisor
Phone: (518) 785-5511 x 3354
- Districtwide Concert Calendar
- NYSSMA at North Colonie
- North Colonie Friends of Music
- Shaker High School Concert Calendar
- Shaker Middle School Concert Calendar
STAY UPDATED WITH US ON ParentSquare & SOCIAL MEDIA
You can receive Music Department news through ParentSquare, the district’s emergency notification system. Parents are automatically connected to ParentSquare through Infinite Campus. If parents’ information is up-to-date in Infinite Campus, it will be up-to-date in ParentSquare.
Donate AN INSTRUMENT to a student in need
In recent years, the Music Department has seen an increase in families who are unable to afford an instrument for their children. Some children have requested to drop out of band or orchestra because the instrument rental costs are more than their parents can currently afford.
If you have any used band or orchestra instruments at home, please consider making them a tax-deductible donation to the school district. The district can rent these instruments to families at a greatly reduced cost, or by BOE policy, waive the rental fee for families on free lunch. You can drop off the instrument to District Music Supervisor Deborah Keough at Shaker High School or to a music teacher in any school building. Please include a note with your full name and address so we can send you a letter for your tax deduction. Our hope is that every child who wants to learn an instrument will be able to do so.
Instruments used in the North Colonie music program:
- French Horn
- Digital Keyboard
- Strings (Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass)
- Percussion Kit (Drum pads and Bells)