Welcome to the Preston High School Music Department!

We offer courses in vocal and  instrumental (band) music in grades 9-12, as well as guitar in grade 11.  In addition to our curricular offerings, we offer a variety of extra-curricular ensembles including  bands, choirs that cover a wide-range of musical styles and provide enrichment to supplement our course content.  Students wishing to participate in extracurricular ensembles are welcome to join in September and/or January (pending space in the ensemble). We also have an active student Music Council who help organize and run concerts, fundraisers and social events. The Music Council is an excellent way for music-minded students to gain valuable leadership skills and experience under the supervision of music department staff.

Students considering getting involved in any of our extra-curricular ensembles are required to sign the Music Dept Extra-curricular Attendance Policy .  Please read it and note ways in which it may affect your student.  Students will receive a hard copy of the document with their Extra-curricular Music Welcome package in early September.

Thanks for your continued support of our students and our program.

Follow us on Twitter @PHSMusicRocks for news, reminders and rehearsal updates.

Extra opportunities in Music

  • Music Council
  • Intermediate Concert Band
  • Senior Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Concert Choir
  • Harmony Spring Concert
  • Sounds of the Season Winter Concert

Student FAQs

Q: Can I take both vocal and instrumental music in grade nine?

A: YES! Although the courses are similar in structure, the focus in the two courses are very different, due to the vastly different performance mediums. 

Q: Do I have to know how to sing to take vocal music?

A: NO! The grade nine vocal music course teaches students HOW to sing, from proper vocal technique, breath support and pitch development.

Q: Do I have to own my own instrument to take a music course?

A: NO! We have a wide range of musical instruments for loan to students in music courses and extra-curricular ensembles. Students taking instrumental music or guitar will be assigned an instrument to use while they are in the course.

Parent FAQs

Q: My student isn’t planning to go into music as a career…why should they take music?

A: The benefits of music education are well documented. There are many studies that document the ways playing a  musical instrument helps brain development and has long-lasting positive effects on executive functioning and  academic performance. Students who study music tend to do better in school over all, so no matter what career they are planning to pursue, musical study will benefit them.

Check out these resources to learn more:



Q: Practicing at home isn’t an option…is it required if my student takes a music course?

A: While practicing is essential to skill development in music, it doesn’t have to take place at home. Time is provided during class for students to practice and we have practice rooms which may be booked by students for use during the lunch hour or after school.

Q: Does it cost anything to join an extracurricular music ensemble?

A: We wish the answer to this question was NO, but the reality is that it is expensive to run these ensembles. The board provides no funding for extracurricular activities. While the music department runs several fundraisers throughout the year, they are insufficient to cover our costs. To help off-set the cost of things like purchasing music, busing to performances, and festival fees, students involved in our extracurricular program are required to pay an activity fee (much like those involved in athletics). The fees are prorated based on the number of ensembles a student is  involved in. Each year we re-evaluate our fees and adjust them based on the planned activities for that year.  Students are also required to purchase a uniform shirt, which they will wear for performances throughout their career in the extracurricular program.

Department Staff

Ms. Girsa Department Head  leena_girsa@wrdsb.ca

Ms.  Gardiner  laura_gardiner@wrdsb.ca

Courses and curriculum documents

Vocal Music Courses – Offer instruction on vocal health, vocal technique, music theory,  listening and analysis.  All courses feature performance opportunities for all students.  AMV1OI  AMV2OI  AMV3MI AMV4MI

Instrumental Music Courses – Offer instruction on wind band instruments, including skill development, music theory, listening and analysis.  AMI1OX for students with less than 1 year of prior experience on their instrument, or for students who wish to learn a new instrument.  AMI1OI or students with a minimum of 1 year of prior experience on their instrument   AMI2OI AMI3MI AMI4MI

Guitar Courses – Offer instruction on finger-style and strumming techniques, music theory and composition.  AMG3OX  for students with no prior experience on guitar OR AMG3OI for students with a minimum of one year of experience on guitar.  **NOTE:  students can not earn a credit for both AMG 3OX and AMG 3OI

Grade 9 & 10 The Arts curriculum documents

Grade 11 & 12 The Arts curriculum documents