Manhattan Beach Middle School

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Electives » Band and Orchestra

Band and Orchestra

Ms. Haslop

Members of our Manhattan Beach Middle School instrumental ensembles enjoy involvement in a campus organization that provides immediate identity and purpose. MBMS instrumental music ensembles encourage and promote academic excellence, and rehearsals and performances are compatible with the students’ academic responsibilities. Band and orchestra members are involved in concerts, festivals, recitals and honor groups.


MBMS’s band and orchestra programs benefit student growth during these critical middle school years in many important ways:
⁃Develops musical and artistic excellence through daily musical technique and performance training
⁃Builds social and emotional connections and growth through daily creative expression
⁃Fosters teamwork, discipline and tenacity that drive success in all other aspects of a student’s academic career
⁃Significantly boosts student’s brain and cognitive development as music has demonstrated to activate a myriad of brain pathways and networks and keep them strong.
With 3 bands and 4 orchestras, the MBMS instrumental music program provides numerous performance opportunities each year, including concerts, recitals, adjudicated festivals, and solo competition opportunities


MBMS has 7 music ensembles:

  • Cadet Band and Cadet Orchestra - all incoming 6th gr students currently enrolled in 5th grade band/strings automatically qualify and need not audition for the cadet level band/orchestra
  • Concert Band and String Orchestra - our mid-level ensembles harnesses the skills and experience of playing music daily from the year before. This gives the orchestra wider variety of music to play from classic early 17th century music to the popular contemporary tunes.
  • Symphonic Band and Chamber Orchestra - our top orchestras that historically garners top ribbons at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) Festival.
  • String Ensemble - The ensemble members are a select group of 12 musicians who come together outside of class time, including practices throughout the summer, to rehearse and perform for our school and in other events in the city and beyond. The ensemble can be requested to perform for events.


Goals: Through the making of music, all participants in the MBMS instrumental music program will work towards the following musical and non-musical goals:

  • Development of playing skills through a planned sequence of study, emphasizing instrumental fundamentals.
  • Development of musical talents that lead to individual and group performance.
  • Development of the individual’s self-confidence through working as a team member.
  • Attainment of self-discipline through the development of group pride.
  • Respect for fellow musicians / instrumental music groups.




Before the end of the school year there will be auditions for membership to all of the ensembles to appropriately place students in the correct classes. Audition requirements will be available in January. Please contact Mrs. Haslop for details. 

Students playing popular instruments may decide to switch to instruments that are not common. This will help in the instrumentation needs of each ensemble, and also alleviate competition to advance into the next group. Placement into the next level group will be based solely on the audition. Students in Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Band who are currently 6th and 7th graders do not need to audition again, but must maintain an average of 90% in the class to remain in the group next year.

5th graders currently enrolled in band/strings in MBUSD elementary schools automatically qualify for Cadet Orchestra or Cadet Band. No audition is required.  However, incoming 6th graders who'd like advanced placements need to audition in April.  They would need to contact their current band/string teacher in February regarding audition times and materials.

Recitals and Solo Competition:

Recitals are usually held twice a year. Students get to perform pieces in front of their peers, family and friends in solos or small groups. We are fortunate to have the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club sponsor our annual Instrumental Music Solo Competition. Top students are encouraged to participate in the competition. First place winners will get to perform for the Rotary Club, usually taking place in January. Information about this competition will be sent home with students.

Our Instrumental Music Program is taught by Denise Haslop  (310) 545 4878 x 3121.

Listen and watch  the Chamber Orchestra perform "Allegro Vivo", "Reverie" and "A Bark Gigue" at the adjudicated 2012 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Festival as recorded by parent Eran Rich