Performing Arts - Music

The philosophy of the McNair Music Department is: To encourage, motivate, offer insight, and pursue excellence through the study and performance of music.  We advocate the exploration of goals, learning from all experiences, and the transference of gained knowledge to all other areas of life.

Through rehearsal and performance students can develop skills and attitudes that will assist them in acquiring that are technical, artistic and social that in turn will facilitate their participation in the world of music throughout their entire lives.

Students are offered the opportunity to prepare themselves to be both competent and reliable members within a variety of exciting performance groups. Membership in these groups calls for a strong character as well as strong musicianship. It is essential to respect oneself and others at all time.

Matthew McNair Secondary Music courses follow provincially prescribed curricula. Strong emphasis is placed on developing proficiencies that are useful and indeed recognizable in post-secondary musical endeavors of all kinds. Elements of this curriculum are common at all grade levels with an appropriate degree of mastery set for each level. Supplementary materials and activities such as small ensemble assignments and written reports will be added with increasing frequency as the grades progress.

All ensembles members are expected to attend the Fall Music Department Retreat in October each year.  All Ensembles will perform in the community and travel to perform at a variety of venues and festivals through out the year.  Students are expected to participate in all performances. All ensembles will attend festivals for adjudication.

FINE ARTS 8 (FA 8)            

This is a 6 week exploratory course in which all grade 8 students will gain experience in the fine arts subjects:  Art, Drama, and Music. Students will spend one-third of a semester in each of the above areas of study.  The music portion of Fine Arts will focus on guitar performance, basic music theory, rhythm, and listening.

Note: All bands are comprised of mixed grade levels.  Placement is entirely upon the student’s instrumental skill level. 

JUNIOR CONCERT BAND (MU-08)                

In this course students will have the opportunity to continue their music studies progressing from an elementary band class or from private study.  Various performance, listening, and music creation activities will be introduced through a rich selection of band literature. Beginners are welcome in this class, but should consult with the teacher before selecting an instrument. Any students electing to take Band 8 must take it in addition to the required grade 8 course load.


In this intermediate level course students will continue to

develop their creating, listening, and performance skills through the study of more advanced literature. Performance is stressed in this class and students will have many individual and group performance opportunities.


This class will accept experienced grade 10, 11 and 12 students to create a Senior Concert Band. Students should have completed at least two years of previous instruction. Those with less experience should consult with the teacher to ensure that they will gain a positive experience from this senior level ensemble. A wide variety of repertoire will be introduced in order to enable students to reach their full potential as musicians. Performance is required for this ensemble. 

CONCERT CHOIR 9-12  (MCC 10, CMCC 11 and CMCC 12)

This course is open to all students in grades 9 - 12. While previous singing experience is an asset, it is not a prerequisite.  A wide variety of music styles will be introduced including traditional folk, show tunes, pop, jazz, madrigals and classical.  Correct singing techniques and vocal health will be stressed.  Performance is an integral element of the class. One auditioned piano player will be accepted into this course.


This course is designed to introduce and expand on the basic instrumental jazz concepts by studying various styles such as swing, ballad, Latin, fusion and jazz-rock. Improvisation will be introduced along with various jazz techniques needed to perform jazz. Solo performing, jazz combos and large ensemble playing will be studied during the year. Entrance to this class is by audition only.

JAZZ BAND 11 and 12 (IMJB 11 and IMJB 12)
Prerequisite: MJB 10

This advanced Jazz band course is designed to expand on the basic instrumental jazz concepts introduced in the Junior Jazz Band course. More jazz styles will be studied as well as repertoire of Jazz standards. Jazz combos, solo performing, and large ensemble playing will all be studied during the term. A greater depth of improvisation skills will be introduced along with various advanced jazz techniques needed to perform jazz in each of the various jazz styles.  There is a focus on performance and jazz theory.

ORCHESTRAL STRINGS  8 - 12   (MOS 10, IMOS 11 and IMOS 12)

Violin, viola, cello and string bass players are welcome. Bowing techniques, orchestral ensemble playing and performance techniques will be studied through a wide variety of music. Listening skills will be strongly emphasized through organized school field trips and study of famous string players. Performances by orchestra will be an important element of the class. This course is open to beginners. One auditioned piano player will be accepted into this course.