Instrumental Music

Our philosophy in the Instrumental Music Department at OSA is to immerse students in a broad range of musical genres and concepts to give students a well founded, and well-rounded musical education. We approach our curriculum in Instrumental Music with an emphasis on music theory, history, musicianship (including improvisation), and ensemble performance. Students will have a varied and inspired experience by focusing on each of these areas throughout the week. All students will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform in both small and large group settings. Concert performances, both in school and in the community, offer an opportunity to display the hard work and dedication applied through the school year.

We believe it is necessary for our students to develop the ability to identify and appreciate all types of music. While students can choose to focus on a particular style of music, be it classical, jazz, rock etc., the basic elements of music are common to all. The fundamentals of music are essentially the same regardless of genre. A versatile musical education requires the study and application of elements found in all styles of musical literature. We will examine and apply the musical tools necessary to read, write, listen, practice, rehearse, improvise and perform at a high level.

Our department is committed to helping each student reach their highest individual musical potential. Everyone possesses different skill and talent levels. We strive to strengthen areas of weakness and enhance the student’s given talents. The tools acquired here are essential to careers such as Film Scoring, Audio and Video Production, Drama, Public Speaking etc. Given that, we will work closely with the other departments OSA to expose students to all areas of academic and artistic endeavor.

Kev Choice and Emily Tian Co-Chairs
 Instrumental Music

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Audio Production & Engineering
Audio Production and Engineering is the amalgamation of recording engineering, sound design, music production and live sound.  Students taking these courses should have a desire to develop their technical skill-set, musical training and take control of any Audio Engineering project. (Listen to the AP&E SoundCloud)

Ethnomusicology Program
The Ethnomusicology program supplements the other IM programs and incorporates a variety of study supporting multi-cultural idioms. OSA offers afrocuban music, in school and afterschool instruction on traditional Chinese instruments, Indian music, and Javanese Gamelan.

Guitar Program
The guitar program includes Jazz Guitar Ensembles, Classical Guitar Ensembles, and Guitar Styles Courses (courses that supplement student's education with technical skills including more diverse genres). The program's primary focus is to prepare students for performances/competitions; in addition, the curriculum incorporates history and theory as it relates to the guitar specifically. Both Jazz and Classical Guitar Ensembles are designed to provide students with strong ensemble skills required to study at conservatories, colleges, and universities.
Jazz Program
From 6th-12th grade, our students involved in the Jazz Program take part in both combos and full Jazz Ensembles. With the recent CMEA successes, exciting masterclass, our jazz musicians are becoming a force in the area. Our combos are ready and willing for a gig; most recently we have had success performing at every first Friday in Oakland at the Sound Room as well as shows at the Fox, Jack London Square, Jerry Brown's Gala etc. Students are encouraged to play in multiple idioms including classical ensembles.
Founded in July 2015,  KOSA is designed to be a teaching tool as well as give a voice to Oakland School for the Arts students.  The program allows students the opportunity to not only be radio personalities but learn every aspect of programming including Programming, Producing, Music scheduling,  Scriptwriting, Audio editing and Voice over.  

Orchestra and Chamber Music Program
Chamber musicians include combinations of winds, strings, and pianists and are trained to be antonymous through both in house performances and gigging opportunities. String trios, woodwind ensembles, string quartets, etc. For larger groups, we offer both a string orchestra and a full orchestra. The full orchestra has performed at the Fox Theatre, the Asian Cultural Center, the Berkeley Community Theatre, the DNA lounge alongside Mason Bates' Baroque and Beats, and countless in-house performances. We are also excited to offer our annual concerto competition. Students are encouraged to play in multiple idioms including Jazz ensembles.

Piano Program
Students are guided through a well-rounded education providing opportunities in solo performance (in connection with Piedmont Piano and other venues), ensemble and accompaniment, theory for pianists, and concerto possibilities with the orchestra. Students in OSA's piano program have won many competitions including a large presence in the United States Open Music Competition (Pianists  gaining 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place in various  categories), Jr Bach, concerto competitions and others.