Frequently asked questions about the VAPA program at McClatchy High School as it pertains to music students
1. What is VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) at McClatchy High School?
VAPA is the umbrella program that supports all arts courses and activities at McClatchy High School. Its goal is to provide artistic opportunities and experiences not typically found in public school arts programs. For music students this includes access to group and private lessons, solo and small group performances, and exposure to aspects of music that are often overlooked by the standard “performance-only” approach.
2. Is VAPA experience available to all McClatchy music students?
Yes. Course offerings range from those offered to the general school population such as Piano Lab and Electronic Music (coming soon) to intensive performance-centered courses for auditioned student musicians wishing to pursue careers in music.
3. Are there different levels of participation with in the VAPA music program?
Yes. Students wishing to take full advantage of the program enroll in one of the ensemble classes (Concert Band, Orchestra, Choir) where they receive a traditional large ensemble experience, occasional opportunities to perform in small ensembles, and weekly group lessons. In addition to meeting all of the requirements of the class they elect to receive private lessons and take on additional assessment and performance responsibilities including semester juries, recitals, and festivals. These students use their experience in the program to build an audition portfolio for college or music school. This more immersive and time-consuming level of participation is catered to the student that intends to pursue music as a course of study in college and a career in music. It is referred to as McClatchy VAPA Music.
Students wishing to take a less intensive approach opt not to receive private lessons. By doing so they take on fewer assessment and performance responsibilities. They enroll in one of the ensemble classes (Concert Band, Orchestra, Choir) where they receive a traditional large ensemble experience, occasional opportunities to perform in small ensembles, and weekly group lessons. Theses students receive many of the benefits presented to students receiving private lessons but with the more manageable time commitment of a traditional music ensemble class. This level of participation is referred to as McClatchy Music.
4. Is the ensemble experience different for McClatchy VAPA Music students and McClatchy Music students?
No. The ensemble courses and the ensemble experience is the same for all music students. Vocalists and wind, string, and percussion instrumentalists are expected to fulfill the requirements, assessments, performances, and group lessons of the class regardless of their level of participation. Pianists’ experiences differ slightly as they are not in the rehearsal setting on a daily basis.
5. What is the difference between a group lesson and a private lesson?
Group lessons are “pull out” sessions that take place during the rehearsal period. They are usually conducted in like-instrument sectional settings focusing on instrument-specific instruction.
Private lessons are one-on-one sessions between the student and an instrumental specialist. They are held outside of the daily rehearsal time with the instructor and student (family) establishing a regular meeting time. The focus is on the student’s individual musical needs.
Group lessons are provided free of charge to all students in the music program. Private lessons are provided free of charge to students who are unable to pay for them.
6. I already have a private teacher. May I continue to use his/her services as I continue in the program?
Yes. Students are encouraged to build a long-term relationship with their private teachers. The program requires a minimum of one thirty-minute lesson a week with the instructor and open communication between private teacher and Mr. Muñoz on a weekly basis to check on VAPA program expectations and student progress.
7. I don’t have a private teacher. Can VAPA provide one?
Yes. The program can provide a private teacher for any student that does not have one. Financial contributions from the student’s family toward the compensation of the teacher are appreciated but not required. Students wishing to take advantage of a program-appointed private teacher should notify Mr. Munoz.
8. What is a jury? What is a recital?
A jury is a subjective assessment of a student’s artistic and technical growth. In juries student musicians demonstrate what they have learned from their private teachers during the semester. Mr. Muñoz and a group of the instrumental music coaches typically assess students’ performances of etudes, solo literature, and technical exercises.
Passing a jury entitles a student to perform in a recital. Recitals are intimately staged concerts highlighting the musicianship of one or more solo musicians.
9. Why take the VAPA Music workload? It seems like a lot of extra work.
The goal of VAPA Music is to provide students with an experience that prepares them for further study of music in college and careers in music. The opportunity to foster a student–private teacher relationship, the rigor of preparing for juries, and the experience of performing in both solo recitals and ensemble concerts are all part of the training.
VAPA Music students compile recordings and physical records of juries, recitals, and concerts throughout the process to create a portfolio that may be used for college or music school auditions.