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Music

Band, Strings, Harp, and General Music  

Classes in band, strings, harp, and chorus are available as electives starting in 4th grade.  Concerts, featuring students in all levels in these programs, are performed for special events and near the end of each semester. Our musicians traditionally are selected for All-Parish, All-District, and All-State Honor Bands and Orchestras during the year. We also are well represented in the Louisiana Youth Orchestra. Since 2015, six Runnels string orchestra, band, and harp students have performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall as Finalists in the Middle School and High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.

Guest Artists   Music students also have opportunities to learn from master musicians who visit our campus as guest artists. In February of 2015, world acclaimed concert violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg came to Runnels to conduct master classes for our string orchestra students. Baton Rouge Symphony Music Director and Conductor Timothy Muffitt has also come to campus to work with band students in the performing arts building.

Runnels also offers electives in Piano and Music Theory.  

Runnels Harp Program  Runnels has the only embedded daily harp curriculum in the country for elementary through high school age students. Starting in fourth grade, students may take harp as an elective during the regular school day. Classes are available in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Harp, with opportunities for students to participate in school concerts and perform at local community events. 
The Runnels Harp Program was founded in 2009 by professional harpist and educator Rebecca Todaro, who current board member of the American Harp Society Foundation. At Runnels, Mrs. Todaro developed a harp curriculum for school age children in fourth through twelfth grades using a combination of technique drills, theory lessons, solo studies and ensemble projects. 
Dr. Gabriela Werries has been the harp instructor at Runnels since 2014. She is an Adjunct Instructor of Harp at Louisiana State University and holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in harp performance. Dr. Werries has extensive experience performing in orchestral settings, including Opera Louisiana, Louisiana Sinfonietta, the Baton Rouge Symphony, Acadiana Symphony of Lafayette and the Gulf Coast Symphony of Biloxi. She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Romania and the U.S. 
Runnels High Student Will Perform at Carnegie Hall Rachel YuraConnor Porthouse
Daily Practice Pays Off for Runnels Harpist Rachel Yura
 

Music Courses:

Band: Students will have opportunities to enjoy varied kinds of musical experiences by learning to express the language of music through playing a musical instrument. Students will also have opportunities to represent the school in public concerts and other public functions. Enrollment in some classes requires previous band experience or instructor approval.

General Music: This one semester class will explore aspects of music including: an introduction to note reading and basic music vocabulary through use of classroom keyboards and recorders; an introduction to singing through a group setting that explores use of the voice, beginning part singing using a variety of song styles ranging from traditional folks song, pop, holiday and Broadway. An element of “music appreciation” will be utilized in learning the song styles. A student “showcase” will be presented each semester.

Beginning Harp: Students will learn the fundamentals of playing the harp. Harp students perform concerts on our Main Stage as well as in the Baton Rouge community. Students will need to supply their own instruments. No experience necessary.

Intermediate Harp: This class is designed as a follow-up to Beginning Harp. At least one year of harp experience is required.

Advanced Harp: This class is designed as a follow-up to Intermediate Harp. At least two years of harp experience is required.

Music Theory: Students will learn skills necessary for success in a college music curriculum.

Piano I: This is a beginner class that works its way through an adult level beginner's book. A piano at home is not required. The class will include daily practice time, basic theory and introduction to basic music vocabulary. No prior music experience necessary.

Piano II: This class is designed as a follow up to Piano I. Basic theory and music vocabulary will be taught. Grades are more heavily weighted towards successful playing skills. Teacher approval is required.

Piano Independent Study: This class is designed as a follow up to Piano II. Students must be able to work independently with minimal teacher assistance. This class may be taken more than once as appropriate. Teacher approval is required.

Beginning Strings: Instruments offered are violin, viola, cello and bass. Students will need to supply their own instruments. Information on rentals will be provided. We will perform at least two concerts during the year. No experience necessary; students will learn to read music.

Intermediate Strings: Instruments offered are violin, viola, cello and bass. Information on rentals will be provided. (Rental from school is possible for bass.) We will perform at least two concerts during the year. At least one year of experience is required.

Advanced Strings: Instruments offered are violin, viola, cello, and bass. Students will need to supply their own instruments. Information on rentals will be provided. We will perform at least 2 concerts during the year. At least two years of experience is required.