Band instruction is offered for the first time in the Stoughton Area School District to sixth graders at River Bluff Middle School. In late fall, the current middle school band will tour the elementary schools and allow current 5th grade students the opportunity to see and hear the various instruments in the band. After this experience, 5th grade students are able to try various wind and percussion instruments. During this time, students are able work with an expert instructor to choose the instrument they would like to study. Letters with the results of this instrument trial are sent home to families and contain more information about how to sign up for 6th grade band.
After 6th Grade Band, students continue their study in 7th Grade Band and 8th Grade Band. Students sign up for these ensembles in January when they register for all classes. While experience is preferred for 7th Grade Band and 8th Grade Band, students do have the opportunity to join as a beginner. Private lessons and a consistent practice schedule may be required in order to perform at the necessary level.
Choosing from River Bluff’s multiple electives can be overwhelming and students are encouraged to sign up for band consistently throughout their time at River Bluff as it is difficult to come back to band after missing an entire year of instruction. While there are limited choices in 7th grade electives, 8th grade has more scheduling freedom. Therefore, if students are not able to take a particular non-music elective as a 7th grader, they may be able to as an 8th grader while remaining in band throughout both 7th and 8th grade. If you have concerns on how to create your child’s elective schedule, please contact your child’s band teacher for suggestions.
The process for joining band at Stoughton High School begins in October of a student's 8th grade year. Music staff from SHS will reach out to inform incoming students of opportunities available and provide scheduling information. Music staff will also be present to answer questions at the annual, "Future Freshmen Night" held in early January. The HS Band instructor also visits the current 8th Grade Band several times to answer student questions.
All incoming Freshmen should sign up for Concert Band during their course registration process in late January. In March, students will have the opportunity to audition for Symphonic Band and/or Viking Marching Band. To see the most current dates for these auditions, please visit the K-12 Music Calendar. Results of auditions and ensemble placement will be communicated by the beginning of April. Audition requirements are listed below.
Current SHS students in Concert Band can participate in Symphonic Band in the next academic year by playing an audition in March. See the K-12 Music Calendar for the most up to date schedule. All auditions take place during regular lesson time or during lunch and after school by appointment. Audition requirements are listed below.
Curent SHS students can also audition for the SHS Jazz Ensemble. See the K-12 Music Calendar for the most up to date audition schedule.
Symphonic Band/Viking Marching Band Audition Requirements
- Major Scales and Arpeggios - Concert Ab, Eb, Bb, F, C, G, and D Major. These do not need to be memorized.
- Chromatic Scale - Lowest comfortable playable note to the highest. This does not need to be memorized.
- Prepared Piece Excerpt - This can also be an excerpt. The prepared piece should be at least 25 measures of standard literature which showcases a student's strengths.
- Sight Reading - Provided by the band director. Sight reading is representative of literature the to be performed by the ensemble.
Students who want to take choir at River Bluff Middle School will have the opportunity to sign up during course selection in January of their 5th grade year. No previous choral experience is necessary for participation in the 6th, 7th, or 8th Grade Choir.
Incoming freshmen who want to take a choir class at Stoughton High School should sign up for Chorale during course selection in January of their 8th grade year. Chorale is open to any student in grades 9-12. Concert Choir is open to any student in grades 10-12 and placement is determined by audition. These auditions take place in March for the following school year.
River Bluff Middle School and Stoughton High School both offer opportunities to participate in extra curricular ensembles. The following ensembles require an audition:
- Valhalla Singers (River Bluff)
- Madrigal Singers (High School)
- Freshmen Madrigals (High School)
- JazzKor (High School)
Orchestra instruction is offered for the first time in the Stoughton Area School District to fifth graders as an after school program. At the end of fourth grade, orchestra staff visit classrooms to explain what orchestra is and the four instrument choices. An informational letter is sent home to families before the end of the year explaining the registration process.
In August, families may sign students up for orchestra via a Google survey or at SASD registration. 5th grade orchestra begins the first full week after Labor Day, and on the first day of class, all students are able to try each instrument in order to make a decision on what they what to play. Families are encouraged to wait with obtaining an instrument until children have gone through this process as instrument size, sound, and feel are all factors in finding an instrument students will enjoy.
In the middle of September, families are invited to an informational meeting where instrument sizing and orchestra information is provided. Students begin playing on their instruments by the end of September.
Students who want to take 6th grade orchestra at River Bluff Middle School have the opportunity to sign up during course selection in January of their 5th grade year. Prior to sign-up, orchestra staff visit each elementary school for Instrument Testing to allow any 5th grader who is not currently in orchestra the opportunity to try out all string instruments. When signing up for courses, students who participated in 5th grade orchestra should sign up for “Continuing Orchestra” and students who did not should sign up for “Beginning Orchestra.” All 6th grade orchestra instruction occurs during the school day, and all students are welcomed to participate even if they do not have any previous experience.
Course registration for 7th and 8th grade orchestra occurs in January. It is highly encouraged that students have prior experience in playing a string instrument before signing up for these courses, but it is not required.
Choosing from River Bluff’s multiple electives can be overwhelming, and students are encouraged to sign-up for orchestra again as it is difficult to come back to orchestra after missing an entire year of instruction. While there are limited choices in 7th grade electives, 8th grade has more scheduling freedom. Therefore, if students are not able to take a particular elective as a 7th grader, they may be able to as an 8th grader while remaining in orchestra throughout both grades. If you have concerns on how to create your child’s elective schedule, please contact your child’s orchestra teacher for suggestions.
In December of the previous year, the high school Chamber Orchestra visits River Bluff to perform a few pieces and talk about high school orchestra. Incoming freshman who want to continue in orchestra should sign up for String Choir during course registration, a non-auditioned ensemble. In March, the high school orchestra teacher visits River Bluff to provide 8th graders the opportunity to audition for Symphony Orchestra or Chamber Orchestra. Student’s registration is automatically changed if students successfully place into one of these groups.
String Choir is a non-auditioned orchestra ensemble that is open to all 9-12th graders. Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra are open to any high schooler through auditions, which are held right before Spring Break for the following year. Students participating in high school orchestra are expected to have had previous experience on a string instrument. If you have concerns about high school scheduling, please reach out to your student’s orchestra teacher. Schedule examples can be found here.
River Bluff Middle School and Stoughton High School both offer extracurricular opportunities and ensembles including:
- Victorian Holiday Orchestra (River Bluff)
- 5th Grade Orchestra Helpers (River Bluff 7th and 8th graders)
- Fiddle/Pop/Alternative Music Ensembles (River Bluff)
- HeartStrings (High School)
- Musical Pit (River Bluff and High School for each school’s musical production)