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The music program at ECI is dynamic, pragmatic and definitely not what you might think of when you picture a traditional school band. The program is divided into two grade level foci: Junior Level (grades 7-8) and Senior Level (Grades 9-12 inclusive). There are no prerequisites for music at ECI; students can join the program at any grade level, regardless of past experience.
Senior Band Performing at the Remembrance Day Service.
Currently, students have a choice between piano, guitar, bass, drums, and violin as core study instruments. In the past, we've had instruments as diverse as banjo and mandolin in the mix as well. The repertoire is an even split between songs selected by the class participants themselves (who are also responsible for the arrangements and charts) and those chosen by Mr. Mathews. Primarily the band plays contemporary rock and pop music (especially classic rock and music by Canadian artists), but they have also been exposed to country, psychedelic, folk, singer-songwriter, jazz, experimental, and even some musical theatre pieces. ECI also possesses a full complement of professional recording equipment (including high quality microphones and a digital 16-track editing suite); we are currently working on integrating sound recording as part of our daily routine.
The goal of the ECI music program is to train lifelong musicians in the skills that they will need to play effectively with other musicians outside of the school setting, who have the technical expertise to read music and play by ear. Our highest achieving students are leaders in the program, responsible for developing and mentoring the younger players. Although there are a number of students who have previously taken lessons outside of school, the majority of our players are brand new musicians when they start with the program. Some of our students have gone on to formal music education at university, while others are involved in the wider musical community of our catchment area through professional gigging.
The enrollment in the program varies depending on the class schedules from year to year, but nearly two thirds of graduating students will have taken a music option at some point in their six years at ECI. The annual community concerts are a highlight for the students and for the large audience that attends.