The Instrumental Music program focuses on developing the musicianship of instrumental students through a variety of instruction, rehearsal, and performance. Students will rehearse and perform instrumental literature from different styles and time periods as a large group, in smaller ensembles, and in solo settings. As they play the music, students learn about the intricacies of different musical styles and broaden their horizons as performers and musicians.
The Instrumental Music program provides opportunities for instrumentalists to grow as musicians in a variety of ways. Instrumental Music students spend each semester in one of WAA’s instrumental ensembles (either Instrumental Ensemble or Chamber Ensemble) or sometimes in both. These ensemble classes consist of instruction in various aspects of musicianship, group rehearsals, and performances.
Instrumental students typically perform for major productions such as the Music Department’s Fall Concert, the Performing Arts Department’s Holiday Spectacular, the Gala Fundraiser, the Spring Musical, the Music Department’s Spring Concert, and Art in the Park. There are also regular performance opportunities for smaller events, such as monthly Studio classes.
In addition to their ensemble classes, all students take 4 semesters of Music Literacy to gain a thorough understanding of music theory and develop aural skills. Music theory is an important bank of knowledge for any well-rounded musician to be able to draw from. Aural skills make musicians more effective in both solo and ensembles. The best musicians are also great listeners. All students take Intro to Piano as well (unless they test out), to supplement their music theory education and to increase music literacy in general. Piano is a “go-to” instrument for teaching, composing, analyzing, and for music theory. Therefore, it is essential to build a foundation in it.
Aside from performance opportunities and required coursework, students are welcome to pursue other musical interests and specialties. The program offers elective courses covering performance practice/technique, solo repertoire, music composition, songwriting, music analysis, advanced music theory, conducting, music technology, music production, and music history.
What to Expect
Prepare and perform music in a variety of styles and genres
Prepare and perform music with various sizes of music ensembles (large ensembles, chamber groups, solo settings, etc)
Continually improve technical ability on primary instrument(s)
Successfully analyze music in various styles to gain a greater understanding
Maintain an effective “tool kit” of music theory techniques and aural skills to use as needed in musical endeavors
Pursue knowledge in other musical disciplines/specialties such as composition, conducting, music production, etc.
See Performing Arts handbook Instrumental Expectations
Perform a 3-5 minute piece of music on your instrument. No requirements for any specific style or genre. Your selection should reflect proficiency on your instrument.
Perform two major scales of your choice on your instrument. (For drummers, perform two rudiments of your choice).
Attend interview and answer interview questions.
Performing Arts Studio Classes (monthly, during school)
Fall Music Department Concert
PMEA Honors/District Band and Orchestra, PMEA Honors Jazz
Spring Music Department Concert
Art in the Park
Tri-M (see Ms. Very)
Flute Choir (coming soon!)
Gene Kelly Nomination for Best Student Orchestra (2019, 2022)
Theron Brown (Spring 2022)
Travis Rigby | 412-646-1718 Ext. 8032
Travis Rigby is an educator, music director, composer, arranger, and orchestrator. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from Trinity University. He received a Pennsylvania PK-12 Music teaching certificate and maintains an active membership in PMEA, ASCAP, and SCI. His music is published by T.U.X. People’s Music. Mr. Rigby is active in the theater community as a music director. This is Travis’s fifth year teaching at WAA.
Music Literacy 1
The Music Literacy sequence teaches vocal and instrumental students music theory, aural skills, and general musicianship. Music Literacy 1 focuses on the basics of these skills, such as fundamentals of theory (music reading, intervals, chords, scales), Solfege, and eurythmics.
Music Literacy 2
Music Literacy 2 focuses on building on the basics. Students explore beginning music analysis and part-writing, diatonic harmony, sight-singing, and melodic and rhythmic dictation.
Prerequisite: Music Literacy 1
Instrumental Ensemble (Fall & Spring; 4 semesters total)
Instrumental Ensemble is the “band” or “orchestra” of Westinghouse. Students play music of various genres together as a large ensemble. All 1st & 2nd year Instrumental majors participate, but the ensemble also consists of Instrumental upperclassmen who choose to continue taking the class and non-instrumental majors who join the group. This class can (and should) be taken more than once.
Music Literacy 3
Music Literacy 3 focuses on more advanced concepts such as non-chord tones, chromaticism, and harmonic dictation.
Prerequisite: Music Literacy 2
Music Literacy 4
Music Literacy 4 is the culmination of 4 semesters of learning. Students learn about advanced chromaticism in written and aural theory. Harmonic dictation becomes more complicated. After taking this course, students are prepared to take AP Music Theory, Composition, Songwriting, and Analysis and 21st Century Techniques in Music.
Prerequisite: Music Literacy 3
Instrumental Ensemble (4 semesters total)
All 1st & 2nd year Instrumental majors participate, but the ensemble also consists of Instrumental upperclassmen who choose to continue taking the class and non-instrumental majors who join the group. This class can (and should) be taken more than once.
Intro to Piano
Students learn the fundamentals of playing the piano and basic music theory skills, equipping them with the knowledge to implement piano in their own musical practices. Individualized Instruction will be provided based on current skills and knowledge.
Chamber Ensemble (Fall & Spring; 4 semesters total)
Chamber Ensemble is the advanced Instrumental Ensemble at Westinghouse. Students play music of various genres together as a small ensemble. All 3rd/4th year Instrumental majors participate. This group plays more demanding repertoire than Instrumental Ensemble and moves at a faster pace. This class can (and should) be taken more than once.
In this course, students learn how to notate music in computer programs, create computerized backing tracks, write lyrics, record their own tracks, and edit recordings. An emphasis will be placed on the music industry and networking with professionals in the field.
Prerequisites: Music Literacy 1 – 4 and Intro to Piano
Students are introduced to performance practice in various musical styles, while being exposed to solo repertoire on their instrument and working with the instructor to hone their technique. Students are encouraged to expand outside their “genre” comfort zone and explore new musical styles to them.
Chamber Ensemble (4 semesters total)
All 3rd/4th year Instrumental majors participate. This group plays a more demanding repertoire than the Instrumental Ensemble and moves at a faster pace. This class can (and should) be taken more than once.