Band & Orchestra
The Band and Orchestra program at Bishop McNamara High School has a reputation for excellence throughout the metropolitan Washington, DC area. The study of instrumental music is an important component to providing the students with a comprehensive music education. The students in the BMHS band and orchestra program are consistently challenged to cultivate their individual talents and abilities all while building relationships through group performance.
It is the goal of our Band and Orchestra Program to foster a sense of belonging, artistic expression, aesthetic awareness, and an overall appreciation for music.
BAND & ORCHESTRA COURSES
Concert Band - College Prep & Honors
Symphonic Band - College Prep & Honors
String Orchestra - College Prep & Honors
Wind Ensemble - College Prep & Honors
WHY TEACH MUSIC?
Music Is Science
It is exact and specific. It demands exact acoustics. A conductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, tendencies, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with precise control of time.
Music Is Mathematical
It is rhythmically based on the subdivision of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper, and often in multiple combinations simultaneously.
Music Is A Foreign Language
Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not in English, but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language. It speaks to the soul.
Music Is History
It usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, and often even the country and/or racial feelings. It keeps a peoples' culture alive. It reflects the styles of each historical period, even as do the visual arts.
Music Develops Insight and Demands Research
Patterns are analyzed, similarities and differences identified, and style and period characteristics observed.
Music Is Technical
It moves into new technologies as easily as we move into a new house—adapting to new electronic possibilities.
Music Is Physical Education
It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, feet, lips, cheeks, and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears, the symbols the eye sees and the mind interprets.
Music Is All of These Things—but most of all, Music Is Art
It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques, and use them to create emotion, build character, develop concentration, establish self-esteem. These are things science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling, emotion—call it what you will.
THIS IS WHY WE TEACH MUSIC!
Not because we expect you to major in music...
Not because we expect you to play or sing music all your life...
Not only so you can relax and just have fun...
BUT ...so you will be human
...so you will recognize beauty
...so you will be sensitive
...so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
...so you will have something to retain for enrichment
...so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness...in short, more LIFE!
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live? Music gives lifelong benefits.
THAT IS WHY WE TEACH MUSIC!
— Written by Kathryn B. Hull, a retired music educator