Vocal and Instrumental Music Department

Music Teachers: Dr. Brian Semos and Mr. Ryan Sullivan

Telephone: 301-649-8294 (Instrumental Music) 301-649-8293 (Vocal Music)


Teacher Bios

2018 Dr. Semos

Dr. Brian Semos

Dr. Brian Semos is happy to be teaching Piano 1 & 2 this year at Northwood. He has taught Choir, Guitar and Piano since the second year of the re-opening of the school. He is also an adjunct professor at Bowie State University, serving as the Assistant Choir Director. Other courses being taught at BSU are Italian, German, French & English Diction for Singers, Sight-Singing, Fundamentals of Music, & Voice.

2018 Mr. Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan holds a Master's in collaborative piano performance from Carnegie Mellon University. His undergraduate in music education was completed in 2010 at the University of New Hampshire. As a new choir director to Northwood High School, he is excited to unite his two passions within music: performance and education. Mr. Sullivan is an active freelance musician in the Washington, DC area. His past experiences have included providing music for weddings, church services, various rehearsals of instrumental and choral music, opera, and musical theatre. Mr. Sullivan has held teaching positions in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, instructing vocalists, pianists, and string players. He is excited to bring his broad-based background and expertise to the students of Northwood's Academy of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

2019 - 2020 Course Offerings

CONCERT BAND

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade III level of difficulty or higher. This class is for Woodwind, Brass and Percussion instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in elementary and middle school instrumental programs. Participation in the Northwood HS Marching/PEP Band is mandatory for all students enrolled in this class. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Public performances during and after school are required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. No audition required to enroll in this class.

SYMPHONIC BAND

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade IV or higher level of difficulty. This class is for Woodwind, Brass and Percussion instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in ensembles of concert band and/or advanced band levels. These skills will be further developed through the study of modern wind band literature of varying genres. Students will perform in both staged concerts and in motivational ensembles promoting school spirit.. Participation in the Northwood HS Marching/PEP Band is mandatory for all students enrolled in this class. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Public performances during and outside of the school day may be required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. Director approval and/or audition required to enroll in this class.

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Students will develop a high level of skill in the performance of jazz, blues, jazz-rock, soul, and other styles of music. They will extend their skills of jazz interpretation and improvisation through studying this literature. They continue to study jazz harmony and theory, along with the historical influences on jazz as it developed into an American art form. Public performances during and after school are required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. Director approval and/or audition required to enroll in this class.

STRING ORCHESTRA

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade III or higher level of difficulty. This class is for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in elementary and middle school instrumental programs, and/or private instruction. These skills will be further developed through the stud of orchestral string literature of varying historical periods and genres. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Students will perform in staged concerts, and may also perform during and outside of the school day to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. No audition is required to enroll in this class.

CHORUS 1 A/B

6711/6712 FA 0.5 credit

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will develop the fundamentals of proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing in multiple keys and parts. Students will sing primarily state-level 3-4 music. There will likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances, and students are expected to participate in all performances. This level may be represented in multiple formats, such as Concert Choir, Treble/Baritone Choir. This course is open to all students, regardless of music background.

CHORUS 2 A/B

Prerequisite: Chorus 1B or audition 6721/6722 CM FA (AL) 0.5 credit

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will continue to develop proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing in multiple keys and parts. Students will sing primarily state-level 4-5 music. There will likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances, and students are expected to participate in all performances. This level may be represented in multiple formats, such as Concert Choir, Advanced Treble/ Baritone/ Mixed Choir, Gospel Choir, Jazz/ Contemporary Vocal Choir. An audition and/ or a prerequisite of HS Chorus 1 may be required to participate.

CHORUS 3 A/B

Prerequisite: Chorus 2B or audition 6731/6732 CM FA (AL) 0.5 credit

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will refine proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing in multiple keys and parts. Students will primarily sing state level 5-6 music. This ensemble has an active performance schedule, which may include multiple concerts, school performances, and festivals, and students are expected to participate in all performances. This level may be represented in multiple formats, such as Advanced Treble/ Baritone/ Mixed Choir, Gospel Choir, Jazz/ Contemporary Vocal Choir. An audition and/or a prerequisite of HS Chorus 1 and/or 2 may be required to participate.

GUITAR I

Students learn beginning guitar technique, including selected major, minor, and seventh chords; basic finger picks and strums; tuning technique. Music Theory and historical perspectives are studied as they relate to guitar performance. Students acquire more advanced guitar performance skills in semester 2. The technology aspects of contemporary guitar are studied. This course is open to all students regardless of music background and may be repeated for credit.

GUITAR 2 A/B

Prerequisite: Guitar 1 A/B or audition 6593/6594 FA (AL) 0.5 credit  

Expanding on beginning skills learned in HS Guitar 1, students will learn to create, perform, and respond to guitar music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will learn and develop guitar skills, including selected major, minor, seventh, and power chords; major, minor, and pentatonic scales; strumming, picking, and fingerpicking; and tuning technique. Cultural, historical, personal, and social context are studied as they relate to guitar repertoire. Students will develop effective practice habits to be able to progress independently.

PIANO I

Students learn to read music and acquire standard piano technique. This course is open to all students, regardless of musical background. Students develop effective practice habits and perform selections of gradually increasing difficulty as they progress independently. They listen to and analyze examples of excellent piano performance.

PIANO II

Students study and perform a wide variety of intermediate and advanced repertoire. They improvise, compose, and arrange music in a variety of styles. Students refine their understandings of music history through analysis of repertoire. This course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Piano 1 A/B

Music Theory and Composition A/B

Students study the elements of music, with emphasis on music terminology, notation, and major and minor keys. They practice melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic dictation; keyboard harmony and sight-singing; and learn how to compose music in different styles for various combinations of voices and instruments. This class may not be repeated for credit. 0.5 credit per semester. Grade Level: 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

AP MUSIC THEORY AND COMPOSITION

Prerequisite: Music Theory B or permission of instructor 6547/6548 CM FA AP 0.5 credit  

Students with strong interest and preparation in music study to meet the requirements of the College Board for AP in Music Theory. Practice in sight-singing, dictation, composition, and improvisation is complemented by listening and score analysis. In the second semester, students read, write, and analyze music of increasing complexity. They study in detail the techniques used to compose music, including electronic media.

Capstone Research Methods  

Students conduct research projects on an approved proposal. All students work either independently or on a team, with the guidance of their faculty advisor or mentor and the project coordinator. Students may elect to work outside of the school facility. Requirements include the completion of a journal, project display, oral presentation, and final paper.