Instrumental Music

The instrumental music program offers classes (course descriptions listed below) and private instruction for beginners and advanced students. The annual Mennonite regional orchestra festival provides an opportunity to perform with musicians from other schools.

Agape Ringers (grades 7-8)

The handbell choir at Bethany is a group of ten to twelve ringers selected by audition in August. Students perform in four settings throughout the year. Classwork focuses on sight reading, eye-hand coordination, understanding handbell notation, and mastering bell ringing techniques. Literature includes hymn and arrangements appropriate to various themes and church settings. Problem solving, performance techniques, sight reading, mastery of rhythmic coordination, through group bell ringing, all enhance the musical development of each student. The strengthening of right brain and left brain connections enhances the learning in all academic and physical learning settings. Handbell Choir is a co-curricular activity.

Beginning Instruments (grade 6)

A course for all students in grade 6 wanting to learn to play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Students are introduced to the range of instruments available for study. After acquiring an instrument, the course begins with the basics and develops skills in a sequential fashion. The course focuses on playing the instrument and basic skills in music literacy. Students are encouraged to develop individual playing skills alongside their ensemble participation.

Mid Level Instrumental Music (grades 6-8)

This class combines strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments into a performance ensemble. Students explore a variety of musical styles.  The ensemble demonstrates course outcomes through specific pieces performed at the Christmas and spring concerts. Course content is concentrated around string orchestra and wind band performance with some combined material.

Bruin Jazz Ensemble (grades 9-12)

The jazz ensemble, Bruin Jazz, introduces students to a uniquely American style of music.  Students experiment with various forms of jazz music including ragtime, Dixieland, big band, swing, bebop, cool jazz and latin jazz styles. Instruction is provided in written and improvisational solos. Students advance their skills in rhythm and musical interpretation. Studying jazz music, a uniquely American form of music, also gives some insight into US History and the ways people responded to their circumstance using creative outlets, such as music. Performing in an ensemble also allows students to work together toward a common goal, and to enjoy the rewards of a disciplined, team approach.

Intermediate Orchestra (grades 9-12)

This a performance-based ensemble comprised of string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Students rehearse and perform various styles and levels of music. The orchestra rehearses in a “sectional” format with winds and percussion meeting twice per week, strings meeting twice per week, and the full orchestra meeting three times per week.  In addition to school concerts in fall, Christmas and spring, the orchestra participates in the Midwest Regional Mennonite Orchestra Festival each spring. Hosted on a rotating basis, Bethany will host in spring 2013.