Music

Welcome

Winona Middle School offers a variety of musical experiences for our students. Band, Choir, Orchestra, and Exploring Music are all classes that our Middle School Students may choose to participate in. All ensemble classes provide free lessons given by our music staff.

Winona Middle School celebrates our rich heritage of musical excellence and continues to strive to provide a diverse and wide range of musical elective classes for our students. Our "Middle School Philosophy" encourages students to try a variety of musical experiences. Studies prove that participating in music helps to boost test scores in other subject areas, promote creative thinking, and sharpens fine and large motor skills. Being a part of an ensemble also helps to strengthen team work and public speaking abilities...skills needed for a lifetime! Our staff is eager to help students to find their musical 'niche' as they explore the music offerings at Winona Middle School. WMS encourages students to explore all that music and being a part of a music ensemble can offer!

Winona Area Public Schools Music Department Philosophy & Goals


PHILOSOPHY
The primary and essential value of music education rests in the opportunity it presents to our students for a joyous participation and appreciation of music. Music is an experience that expands, deepens and enriches life while simultaneously enhancing academic rigor. We believe all students have an inherent right to pursue this experience in accordance with their respective needs, interests and abilities. Underlying all of the above is the need for broad knowledge and comprehension of music's fundamentals, thereby providing a firm foundation in the musical arts. With these things in place, we can strive to foster a lifelong understanding and appreciation of music.

GOALS
1. Introduce students to various areas of music through a variety of experiences.
2. Provide a well-rounded learning experience in the fundamentals, refinement and performance of music of high artistic merit.
3. Motivate students so that they are willing to learn, whether looking towards present or future participation, or as a music consumer.
4. Identify the musical abilities/talents of students through testing, observation and evaluation.
5. Provide the opportunity for the student to participate in activities to further creativity and expression in composition, performance, analysis, appreciation and both passive and critical listening.

Band

WMS Band

The Winona Middle School Band program consists of 350 students in grades 5 - 8. Outside of band class and lessons students are also able to participate in Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble and Marching Band.

Band class and lessons are offered starting in fifth grade and are available to any student that wishes to learn a band instrument. 5th Grade Band meets on Monday and Wednesdays for 30 minutes. Band class for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students alternates daily with physical education during the "out of house" period. Band students participate in two evening concerts during the school year.

Drumline

During the spring season we are gearing up for marching band! Drumline auditions are in late April/early May. All 7th and 8th grade percussionists are required to audition as well as be part of the drumline. Drumline rehearses every Friday morning at 8:00am starting in May.

Instruments in the drumline include: snare drums, crash cymbals, tri-toms, and small, medium and large bass drums.

Marching Band

The WMS Marching Band is made up of all 7th and 8th grade band students. The marching band begins to 'hit the street' in May and marches throughout the summer. Rehearsal and parade schedules will be posted and sent home in April. The marching uniform is black pants, black socks, and black shoes. The school will provide an orange and black polo shirt.

All rehearsals start in the Winona Middle School auditorium - rain or shine!

Band for All

The "Band for All" idea came from School District 196 (Rosemount, Apple Valley, Eagan). This program asks community members to donate used band instruments and supplies to the Winona Middle School Bands. These donated instruments are then used by students who otherwise wouldn't be able to participate in the band because of financial constraints.

Our request: Please take a look in your attic or basement and dig out those old cases and instruments! Then attach your name, address and phone number on the case and bring it to the Winona Middle School at 1570 Homer Road, Winona.

Your donation is of course tax deductible. You will receive a letter in the mail stating the appraised value of your donation.

We also gladly except monetary donations as well. The money will be used to repair donated instruments and also to buy supplies, such as valve oil, slide grease and reeds.

We put the word out last fall and since have received instruments, cash donations, music stands and other supplies. The total value donated is near $3,000. Thank you, Winona. We appreciate your support!

This program is on-going. We are continuing to take donations. Although we will happily take any instrument, we are especially looking for flutes and clarinets right now.

Choir

Students are introduced to a variety of vocal techniques, sight singing, musical styles, and theory through various projects and class performances. Students in this class learn fundamental choral principles through a variety of non-traditional, hands-on, and interactive ways. Students perform two concerts per year.


Orchestra

The Orchestra program is open to all students who have studied an orchestral string instrument. New students who have completed at least one year of study on their instrument are encouraged to audition for the Orchestra. The Orchestra has at least two evening performances each year. Weekly lessons are required.

Lori Carlson Teacher Bio

Ms. Carlson started playing violin and piano in 3rd grade. In 4th grade she was able to join her school orchestra. Learning how to play the violin helped her discover a love of learning and an appreciation for challenging herself. Throughout elementary school, her interests in biology and geology helped her discover her love of reading. She's a strong proponent of a broad and exploratory curriculum that allows all children to discover their interests and strengths, thereby helping them connect to what they are learning. In this way, not only can children discover enthusiasm for learning and the willingness to take risks and challenge themselves, but they will be able to apply their developing skills to any future fields of interest.

Ms. Carlson graduated from Concordia College with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and received her Master of Education degree from Saint Mary's University.

Aside from teaching in the Winona Area Public Schools, Ms. Carlson plays viola with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and gives private lessons as her schedule allows. She has also taught string methods courses at Winona State University and Saint Mary's University. She has served as an orchestra director and viola coach with the La Crosse Area Youth Symphony Orchestras. She has also been an orchestra director at the MNSOTA Fall String Camp, a statewide camp for middle level orchestra students.

In 2005 Ms. Carlson was nominated and selected to attend the Claire McCoy Leadership Retreat, a workshop for young music educators in Minnesota. The following year she was asked to join a statewide music education task force as one of two orchestra representatives. She is a member of MMEA (Minnesota Music Educators Association) and MNSOTA (Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association), along with their national parent organizations. She has volunteered with both organizations through helping at workshops, working as a representative at the MN State Fair, and volunteering time as a member of the MMEA state task force on mentorship. She has also served on various committees within the Winona Area Public Schools district, either as a music or middle school representative. She was selected as the Winona Area Public Schools Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013.

Ms. Carlson enjoys each day at WMS and her time with the orchestra students. She is interested in helping them grow as musicians and as young people. Music is a great avenue for learning how to accept challenge, take healthy risks, and develop supportive peer relationships. Every culture best reflects and preserves its values through the arts. While we can appreciate what each culture has to share, we may also find what humanity has in common through the arts and humanities. Aside from these functions, making music is a common human activity across all cultures because it is simply good food for the soul and because of its power to bring people together, all of which make it especially fitting for the developing child.

"Music education is a unique and major source of one of the most important kinds of knowledge human beings can attain: self-knowledge."

"The aims of music education, and the primary goals of every music teaching-learning situation, are to enable students to achieve self-growth, self-knowledge, and musical enjoyment by educating their musicianship in balanced relation to musical challenges within selected musical practices. It follows from this that musicianship is also a unique and major source of self-esteem."

<"Music Matters" (p. 129) by David J. Elliot.
Oxford University Press, 1995.

Instrument Purchasing Information

Coming Soon!

Instrument Maintenance

ALL STRING INSTRUMENTS:

1. Store instruments in a safe place, where it is not too hot or too cold (away from heaters, never in the car).
2. Keep the instrument in the case when it is not being played.
3. Keep the instrument clean--use a soft cloth to remove rosin from stings and wood so it does not build up (rosin build up will result in a scratchy, squeaky tone and will be more difficult to clean over time).
4. If an instrument needs to be repaired in any way, bring it to school if it is a school instrument, or to your instrument dealership.

VIOLINS & VIOLAS

If you are renting an instrument,
repairs can be made through the dealership.

If a string breaks, bring the instrument to the music store as soon as possible to have the string replaced. You may also purchase a string and bring the instrument to Ms. Carlson before school to have restrung. STUDENTS CAN NOT FULLY PARTICIPATE IN CLASS IF THEIR INSTRUMENTS ARE MISSING STRINGS.

CELLOS & BASSES

Bring your school cello or bass to school at least once a month to have the tuning checked. This way, your teacher can also check to see if anything needs to be repaired. If a string breaks, bring the instrument to school to be restrung.

TUNING

Do not attempt to move the tuning pegs, unless you have been instructed on how to do so. Simply bring the instrument to school or to a music store to be tuned.

Electric tuners can be purchased at any music store if a student is able to tune an instrument at home. The better tuners let students know if the pitch of the string is too high or too low. You may also check sharmusic.com orswstrings.com for reasonably priced tuners.

Private Lessons

Coming Soon!

Winona Fiddlers

Founded and directed by Betsy Neil and sponsored by Strings in Motion, the Winona Fiddlers are currently on their fourth year together. The approximately fifteen-member group is primarily comprised of students in the senior high orchestra, although a few younger students and the district’s orchestra instructors also join the ranks. While the fiddle (violin) is the main instrument played, the group is frequently accompanied by double bass, keyboard, harmonica, and penny whistle. Other instruments, such as harmonium, drums, banjo, accordion, and guitar, are added on occasion.

The Winona Fiddlers play a wide variety of fiddle music, from all around the world. From old time American, to Appalachian American, to French Canadian, to Irish, to Scandinavian, to Israeli, Russian and Eastern European, to the good old blues, there is bound to be music to fit everyone’s tastes. In addition to a vast range of music, the Winona Fiddlers often feature other arts, such as dancing, singing, and poetry.

The prime showing of the Winona Fiddlers is the end of year fiddle concert. In conjunction with the Blufftown Fiddlers (also under Neil’s direction), the fiddle groups put on two two-hour-long concerts toward the end of May, with one in LaCrosse and one in Winona. In contrast to the other concerts at which the fiddlers perform, these two concerts are purely fiddle music. Other musicians and dancers are also more likely to be included in these concerts than in any other fiddle performances.

How to Join:

Practice sessions are generally held in the WSHS orchestra room (room 133) at 3:45 on Fridays. The best time for joining is right away in the fall; however, new members area always welcome. Contact Betsy Neil, Cindy Johnson, Lori Carlson, or your local fiddle member for more information.

The Winona Fiddlers are available for private performances as well. Please contact Betsy Neil at 454-6024 for more information.

Helping Your Child

You do not have to be a musician in order to support your child's practice at home. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Help them find a time that works for them to practice (15-30 minutes/4-7 days a week). Students will progress quickly with consistent practice. Cramming all practice time into one day of the week does not work as well. Like learning any new skill, repetition and review are important.
  • Help them to set up a place to practice where their instrument is easily accessible and distractions are limited. Purchase a music stand so that they can practice with good posture.
  • Ask them to show you what they are working on or better yet, ask them to try to teach you something!
  • Listen to them play once in a while. Let them know what you liked or if you've noticed improvement.
  • Have a mini recital for the family. If your child has a friend in orchestra, you could encourage them to play one of their orchestra pieces together for you--students will likely practice longer when playing with a friend. It is fun, so they tend to lose track of time.
  • Check into private lessons (see private lesson page)
  • Award achievement with useful orchestra gifts (see materials/musical gifts)
  • Keep in touch with your child's orchestra teacher (and private teacher) regarding grades and progress. Don't hesitate to ask questions.

Shop Links

Carl Becker and Son
  • shop in Minneapolis
  • make, sell, and restore string instruments and bows

Claire Givens Violins
  • violin shop located in Minneapolis
  • violins, violas, cellos, bows, and cases
  • instrument repair
Coda Bow International
  • design and manufacture carbon fiber bows
  • international company based in Winona

Fein Stringed Instruments
  • instrument shop in St. Paul
  • sells, makes, and repairs violins, violas, cellos, and bows
Hardt's Music
  • our local music store
  • instrument rental program
  • instrument accessories and music books for class and lessons
House of Note
  • violin shop in St. Louis Park
  • violins, violas, cellos, bows, instrument accessories, and music
John R. Waddle Violins, Inc.
  • Luthier and dealer of instruments (violin, viola, cello) in St. Paul
Leithold Music
  • music store downtown La Crosse
  • instrument rental program
  • accessories and music
Quinn Violins
  • violin shop in Minneapolis
  • instruments, bows, and instrument accessories
Shar Products
  • catalog based company specializing in string instruments and supplies
  • accessories (strings, rosin, music stands, music books, metronomes), instruments
Southwest Strings
  • catalog based company specializing in string instruments
  • accessories (strings, metronomes, music stand, rosin), music, instruments
SSE Music
  • Music store in La Crosse with a variety of string instruments and accessories available for rent or sale

Area Youth Symphonies, Orchestras, and Music Festivals

5th Grade

Band

Fifth grade band is an elective course. In fifth grade band, you will learn a band instrument and perform exciting music in a lesson setting, as well as in a full band setting. Students will perform a concert with a full band. Fifth grade band will provide a strong foundation for band in sixth grade.

Orchestra

The Orchestra program is open to all students who have studied an orchestral string instrument. New students who have completed at least one year of study on their instrument are encouraged to audition for the Orchestra. The Orchestra has at least two evening performances each year. Weekly lessons are required.

General Music

5th Grade General Music is a continuation of elementary music. In this class students will sing, play instruments, and incorporate movement with music. Students will work on music reading skills and counting rhythms using numbers. Classes will perform in a concert in January.

6th Grade

Band

The Band program is open to all students who have been recommended by their fifth grade band instructor. All new/transfer students who have had musical training in band are also encouraged to join. Students who have not previously been in band are encouraged to sign up for the "lessons only" option. These students will then be placed in full band rehearsals as soon as they are ready. Weekly small group lessons are given to all band students. The full band performs two evening concerts each year.

Orchestra

The Orchestra program is open to all students who have studied an orchestral string instrument. New students who have completed at least one year of study on their instrument are encouraged to audition for the Orchestra. The Orchestra has at least two evening performances each year. Weekly lessons are required.

Choir

Students are introduced to a variety of vocal techniques, sight singing, musical styles, and theory through various projects and class performances. Students in this class learn fundamental choral principles through a variety of non-traditional, hands-on, and interactive ways. Students perform two concerts per year.

Exploring Music

Students in Exploring Music continue to learn about music without having a performance. Students study, listen, and write about music, as well as complete projects, do group work, discuss, and evaluate music of all styles and time periods. In 6th grade students study what music is and how it is created, create a plan for a performing group’s tour, and learn about jazz music.

7th Grade

Band

The seventh grade band is open to all students who have successfully completed the sixth grade band level and have the recommendation of their previous band director. All new/transfer students who have had at least one year of musical training in the instrumental area are encouraged to join band. A wide variety of music is studied and performed in band class. Weekly band lessons are required of each band member as well as performing in two evening concerts. An option of “lessons only” is available to students who have not met the requirements for band participation.

Orchestra

The Orchestra program is open to all students who have studied an orchestral string instrument. New students who have completed at least two years of study on their string instrument are encouraged to audition for the Orchestra. The Orchestra has at least two evening performances each year. Weekly lessons are required.

Choir

Choir is a study of music through listening, singing, reading, and writing. Students who enjoy music and wish to improve their vocal and music reading skills will have an opportunity to do so by studying music of various styles. Students will be required to sing alone and with others in a variety of settings. Appropriate participation in a large group is expected. Two or three public performances are given each year in conjunction with other Middle School choirs.

Music in Action

In this class, students will learn about many different aspects of music through listening, projects, and activities. Topics of study for this class include composers, musical careers, music within different cultures, and students’ individual music preferences.

Music Creation with Technology

In this class, students will learn how to use their devices in relation to music. Students will engage in a wide variety of projects using devices, including creating music word clouds, composing music with specific structure and purpose, and working with music in videos.

Intro to Guitar

In this class, students will learn the basic techniques for how to play acoustic guitar. Students will be provided with a school guitar to use for the duration of the class. Topics of study for this class include how guitars are made, tuning, basic chords, and notes to play simple melodies.

Music Composition

In this class, students will be creating music in many different forms. Students will learn about historic and modern composers, different musical forms, and the way different musical compositions are created. Students will also create music in a variety of musical forms and styles.

Exploring Music

In this class, students will learn about music from many cities across the USA, including New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and LA. Students will learn about each city, listen to a wide variety of styles of music, and have individual as well as group projects focused on aspects of music that are unique for each city.

8th Grade

Band

The eighth grade band is open to all students who have successfully completed the seventh grade band level and have the recommendation of their previous band director. All new/transfer students who have had at least one year of musical training in the instrumental area are encouraged to join band. A wide variety of music is studied and performed in band class. The 8th grade band performs two evening concerts and travels to a band festival every year. Weekly band lessons are required of each band member.

Orchestra

The Orchestra program is open to all students who have studied an orchestral string instrument. New students who have completed at least three years of study on their string instrument are encouraged to audition for the Orchestra. The Orchestra has at least two evening performances each year. Weekly lessons are required.

Choir

Choir 8 is an extension of the Choir 7 curriculum. Further development of sight-reading and choral performance techniques will form the foundation of this class. Two or three evening performances by this group are given yearly in conjunction with the other Middle School choirs. Additional ensemble opportunities may be available to students through special audition or small group work.

Music in Action

In this class, students will learn about many different aspects of music through listening, projects, and activities. Topics of study for this class include composers, musical careers, music within different cultures, and students’ individual music preferences.

Music Creation with Technology

In this class, students will learn how to use their devices in relation to music. Students will engage in a wide variety of projects using devices, including creating music word clouds, composing music with specific structure and purpose, and working with music in videos.

Intro to Guitar

In this class, students will learn the basic techniques for how to play acoustic guitar. Students will be provided with a school guitar to use for the duration of the class. Topics of study for this class include how guitars are made, tuning, basic chords, and notes to play simple melodies.

Music Composition

In this class, students will be creating music in many different forms. Students will learn about historic and modern composers, different musical forms, and the way different musical compositions are created. Students will also create music in a variety of musical forms and styles.

Exploring Music

In this class, students will learn about music from many cities across the USA, including New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and LA. Students will learn about each city, listen to a wide variety of styles of music, and have individual as well as group projects focused on aspects of music that are unique for each city.

Paula Braaten

Band Teacher
Winona Middle School

Lori Carlson

Orchestra Teacher
Winona Middle School

Timothy Gleason

Band Teacher
Winona Senior High School, Winona Middle School

Brian Hamilton

Music Teacher, Choir Teacher
Winona Middle School

Dr. Travis Sletta

Choir Teacher
Winona Senior High School, Winona Middle School