Welcome to Instrumental Music

  • Overview

    The Instrumental Music Department is designed to provide opportunities for each secondary student to develop their creative musical talents.  Study areas include band, orchestra and mariachi.  Additional secondary offerings include music AP Theory, basic theory/history, jazz band, improvisation, percussion ensemble, marching band, full orchestra, chamber orchestra, guitar, applied music master classes, and specialized instrumental ensemble classes.

    Vision: To provide opportunities for each student to develop his/her musical talents, self-expression, creativity and self-discipline; to have opportunities for performance in quality ensembles; to witness live, professional fine arts performances; and to develop a life-long love of music.

    Why Music?

    Countless studies reveal that music education will improve a child's self esteem, executive function, social ability, literacy, numeracy, concentration, brain function, fine motor skills, creative thinking, working memory, and study habits.  Good jobs in the future will require people to be creative and problem solvers. The serious study of music has been proven to be a powerful tool to develop those skills. 

    "I would teach students music, physics, and philosophy; but most imprtantly music, for in the patters of music and in all the arts are the keys of learning."  Plato

    "All evidence shows that if you have a broad curriculum, one that is infused with a more sophisticated conception of intelligence, kids are more motivated, more driven, have higher esteem, and perform better academically."  Sir Ken Robinson, Arts and Minds: Coversation About the Arts in Education, Education Commission of the States

    "The keys to the kingdom are changing hands. We must educate students for their future and not our past, a future that belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind - creative and "emphatic -'right brain' thinkers."  Dan Pink, author of the NewYork Times and BusinessWeek bestseller, A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Bainers Will Rule the Future

    "Research made between music and intelligence concluded that music training is a far greater tool than computer instruction in improving children's abstract reasoning skills." Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright Dennis and Newcomb, "Music training causes long-term enhancement in children's spatial-temporal reasoning."  Neurological Research, Vol 19, February 1997.

    "One in three of today's school-aged children will hold an arts-related job at some time in their career." - Education Commission on the States

    The College Board, in a publication about college admissions, states, "Preparation in the arts will be valuable to college entrants whatever their intended field of study."  Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need To Know and Be Able To Do, The College Board

    Music Helps to Ensure Life-long Success

    Emotional - Music provides a creative outlet and break from the routine and rigor of the traditional school day.  Students in music are among the highest academic performers and report less stress and tension than their non-musical counterparts.

    Social - Participating in musical groups promotes self confidence, team work, social skills. social networking, belongoing, self-discipline, accomplishment, cooperation, responsibility, commitment, mutual support and friendships.

    Academic - Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas including language development, spatial-temporal skills, pattern recognition, critical thinking, creativite thinking and so much more.

    Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alchohol, tobacco, illegal drugs).

    Personal - Through music, students become better people, as they develop self-discipline, confidence, commitment, responsibility, good decision making, and personal pride. They are able to do this with the support of peers in a safe and risk-free environment.

     Smarter People Listen to Instrumental Music Study

Recent News

  • IM Terrell VPA High School 

    In 2021-22, Fort Worth ISD begins the fourth year of our Visual and Performance Academy High School, the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA with the fourth incoming class of 9th grade students.  The academy is located at 1911 I.M. Terrell Circle 76102.  The instrumental music area now has three performing orchestras and a concert band.  The intsrumental music faculty is staffed by Head Director Hunter Lewis and Assistant Dirctor Veronica Schramm.

Mandatory Music Assessments and Resources

  • Adjudicated district ensemble assessments for all performing ensembles are conducted each year for all performance levels - they include beginner class assessments and Pre-UIL assessments for high school marching band, and all band, orchestra and mariachi concert and sightreading events.   Additional district and UIL solo and ensemble festivals occur throughtout the Spring semester.

    UIL ensemble participation and success is an expectation for all of our schools and programs.  Enrollments in the secondary intrumental music department have increased over the past several years.  Performance improvement is measured with over 90% of the performing UIL ensembles meeting or exceeding UIL assessment standards of Division I and II.

    Student participation in the District, UIL and TMEA individual performance audition activities is an expectation from our District. 

    All classroom teachers are provided with a very successful and veteran Specialist that is assigned to a specific music program at each campus. The Specialist regularly interacts and collaborates with each campus teacher and their students.  This an essential and signal honor given to our teachers and students by our FWISD district leadership. It has led to recent successes.  The Instrumental and VPA leadership were invited to present a clinic at the 2019 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. The success in our music programs as it relates to the use use of Specialists as mentors to our teachers is a lerge portion of the topic. 

    All FWISD music areas have adopted a unified music counting system - the Eastman Counting System.  FWISD has begun using MusicFirst as a fomative and summative assessment tool for all secondary instrumental music classrooms.

    The Fort Worth Independent School District is exclusively a Steinway Piano School District. 

Past Accomplishments

  • In 2019-20, FWISD continued our All-District Honor Orchestra auditions to include both Middle School and High School students. The auditions culminated in a clinic/concert that was held on November 8 and 9, 2019 at Paschal High School.  One hundred and forty outstanding students performed with the two honor orchestras. 

    The Paschal Jazz Band was chosen by audition and invited to perform at the Jazz Educator's Network National Convention in Reno, Nevada in January 2019.  The ensemble will be poerforming at the 2021-22 Jazz Educator's Network Convention again as an invited ensemble in Dallas, Texas on January 7, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas.  The band is directed by Matt Sawyer and assisted by Lance Walker, Head Band Director at Paschal High School.

    FWISD hosted the TMEA Region V MS and HS All-Region Orchestra Clinic and Concert at the I.M. Terrell  Academy for STEM and VPA on January15-26, 2019.  Middle and high school students from Ft. Worth were able to interact with four outstanding conductor/clinicians from Texas, Idaho and Florida.  Several Ft. Worth students earned first chair positions in their ensemble and section.

    Five FWISD instrumental music students advanced through competitive TMEA auditions and performined as All-State musicians at the TMEA Convention in San Antonio in February 12-15, 2020. 

    Four FWISD mariachi ensembles advanced to the State UIL Mariachi Festival held at the University of Texas at the Rio Grande Valley on February 21-22, 2020.  The schools advancing were North Side High School, Carter-Riverside HS, Polytechnic HS and Paschal HS.  The ensembles performed well with outstanding soloists being named from our attendees.  North Side Mariachi Espuelas de Plata earned a Division I award at the state event with straight Division I's from all judges.  Congratluations to all attendees.  Seventy-One mariachi groups from throughout Texas participated. This UIL State event is very rigorous by UIL standards as few groups received Division I ratings.

    The TMEA Region V All-Region Mariachi Clinic/Concert was held at North Side High School.  FWISD was represented in the Clinic/Concert with the most outstanding middle school and high school mariachi students in the district.  Students worked with two outstanding mariachi clinicians and represented North Side, Polytechnic, Paschal, South Hills, Carter Riverside, Elder, and Riverside.   The clinic/concert was hosted by Ramon Nino, Corina Cantu, Charles Johnston, Wendy Martinez and Josue Duran on the North Side Campus.  Congratulations!

    Congratulations to the Southwest High Jazz Band as they were named Best In Class in Class 5A at the 2019 UTA Jazz Festival.  This annual UTA Jazz Festival is celebrating over 40 years of jazz competitions, clinics, performances with special guest artist appearances. This festival attracts many jazz ensembles from the metroplex.  The Southwest Jazz Ensemble is conducted by Adam Kramer and Michael Dawson.   On the same week-end the Paschal Jazz I Ensemble was named Best In Class at the TCU Jazz Festival.  This jazz festival is now over 50 years in existence. There were performances by outstanding high school jazz ensembles from across the State of Texas. Matt Sawyer is the director of the Paschal Jazz Z Jazz I Ensemble.

    In the 2019 Region V UIL Assessments, participation from ensembles was at an all-time high with 32 FWISD middle and high school orchestras participating.  24 orchestras met or exceeded standard receiving a Division I or Division II in both concert and sightreading.  FWISD is proud that 13 orchestras earned a UIL Sweepstakes award for Division I in both concert and sightreading. FWISD high school bands also particpated in the Region 5 UIL Assessments held at the Mansfield Performing Arts Center. 19 ensembles participated this year with 11 ensembles meeting or exceeding standards in both concert and sightreading.  Additionally 7 bands met or exceeded standard in concert.  A FWISD record of 12 performed as varsity ensembles, 6 performed as non-varsity and 2 performed as sub non-varsity.  The FWISD middle school bands participated in the Region V Middle School concert and sightreading UIL Assessment on April 24 and 25 at the Mansfield Performing Arts Center.  Fort Worth middle school bands had very dramatic improvement in scores. The results earned many schools a First Divisionin UIL for the first time in history -  Congratulations to all!

    The beginning band and orchestra students in FWISD completed performances at our beginning band and orchestra benchmarks.  The beginning ensembles have completed just one year on their instruments in beginning classes.  Each school performed and were adjudicated using a performance rubric by three selected adjudicators. This is event has proven to be a great summative assessment for each campus program.

    The FWISD high school marching bands competed on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at the Region 5 UIL Marching Contest at the Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield.  14 FWISD bands competed with 7 bands receiving a Superior Rating of Division I and 6 bands receiving an Excellent Rating of Division II.  There are 4 5A Bands that advanced to the Area F UIL Marching Contest that was held at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletics Complex on Saturday, October 26, 2019.  High School Bands advancing from FWISD are Carter-Riverside, North Side, Arlington Heights and Southwest.   Congratulations!

    On Saturday, October 19, 2019 TMEA Region 5 High School orchesra auditions were held at Juan Seguin High School in Arlington, Texas.  Approximately 250 students assigned to Region 5 were auditioning for a coveted few spots in the All-Region orchestras. FWISD Instrumental Music is very proud to announce that 39 of our FWISD students were selected to participate in the TMEA Region 5 All-Region Orchestras.  Congratulations to all of the orchestra students and to our orchestra directors for their outstanding preparation and hard work.  FWISD is proud of you! 


Paschal HS Marching Leadership Camp

Paschal HS Marching Leadership Camp

19-20 All-State Finalists

2019-2020 All-State Students

FWISD Mariachi

Visual and Performing Arts