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.

Emily Tian Chair 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 OSA Guitar program consists of Guitar Studies classes in both MS and HS, as well as a HS Guitar Ensemble. The classes focus primarily on Jazz and other contemporary styles of music, and are aimed at supporting students in developing good practice habits as well as musicianship skills 
needed to succeed in the competitive professional environment both inside and outside the US. While not all students opt to become professional musicians, this program is looking for young driven individuals who dedicate themselves to the art of guitar and excellence in music. 
Jazz Program
The OSA Jazz program currently offers a wide variety of courses ranging from jazz combos and ensembles to sectionals as well as theory and  composition courses. These courses all aim to support student’s growth as young artists and musicians, while giving them a solid foundation in the  skills necessary to succeed in the music industry we see today. As part of this program, students have the opportunity to learn from each other and from an excellent faculty with a wide background in music performance and education. We do understand that a lot of students opt out of becoming professional musicians, but we are nevertheless looking for highly motivated students that are driven to achieve excellence in their artform.
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
The OSA Chamber Music program offers a unique and immersive application for Instrumental music students interested in chamber ensemble playing. Our program consists of the OSA Chamber Orchestra which includes strings and woodwind instrument players. Students who wish to play in smaller ensembles are placed in groups like quartets, trios, etc., where they receive weekly coaching and opportunities to play at various school-wide and/or community events. Led by Mr.Jaymes Kirksey, Ms.Ilana Thomas and Mr.Jimmy Touzel, students have access to masterclasses, performances, multiple styles of music and instruction, all while being a part of a fun and inclusive culture of music making. 

Piano Program
The OSA piano program focuses on training solo and collaborative pianists. Piano students are self-motivated, responsible, and dedicated to advancing their artistry in a rigorous, pre-professional musical environment. Students participate in chamber groups, orchestras, jazz ensembles, and collaboration projects. 
The piano program seeks students who demonstrate an early- intermediate to advanced level of technique and sight-reading ability. We are looking for students who understand the work's period style and character, while having sensitivity to touch and tonal beauty and a passion for the music performed.