Vocal and Instrumental Music Department

Music Teachers: Dr. Brian Semos, Mr. Michael Barker and Mr. Ryan Sullivan

Telephone: 301-649-8294 (Instrumental Music) 301-649-8293 (Vocal Music)


Teacher Bios

2017 Dr. Semos

Dr. Brian Semos

Dr. Brian Semos is happy to be teaching Piano 1 & 2 this year at Northwood. He has taught Choir, Guitar and Piano since the second year of the re-opening of the school. He is also an adjunct professor at Bowie State University, serving as the Assistant Choir Director. Other courses being taught at BSU are Italian, German, French & English Diction for Singers, Sight-Singing, Fundamentals of Music, & Voice.

2017 Mr. Barker

Mr. Michael Barker

Michael Barker began his journey into music in Ponca City, Oklahoma, taking up the trumpet at the age of 9. He added to his music studies beginning piano lessons in the 6th grade, adding the French Horn in the 7th grade, and singing in numerous school and church choirs. Throughout high school, Mr. Barker continued to participate in both instrumental and choral programs as a member of numerous church choirs, the High School Orchestra, serving as President of the High School Chorale, and as Drum Major and student director of the Big Blue Band, the high school’s 150-member Marching Band.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Barker continued his journey toward a career in music at Oklahoma Baptist University, having received a vocal music scholarship and President's Leadership Award, and graduating from OBU with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. His journey continued to Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Seminary where he earned a Master of Music Degree. While at Southern, he developed his skills as a conductor, studying privately with Dr. Richard Lin, and developing his skills in instrumental music, with private study of the French Horn at the University of Louisville, and performing in the Seminary Winds, small ensembles and as a soloist.

In 2007, Mr. Barker's journey brought him to Maryland, where his wife, Marsha had recently accepted a new position. He joined the Northwood High School music program as the guitar and piano instructor and actively participated in other areas of the music program, including assisting with the band program and performing as a pit musician for musicals and Billboard Magic. Mr. Barker has most recently been involved with the Academy of Music, Theatre and Dance, teaching Beginning, Concert and Symphonic Bands, Symphonic Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Guitar 1. In addition, he has been actively involved with Northwood’s musical productions, Billboard Magic and the Spring Musical, as music arranger and orchestra director.

This year takes Mr. Barker into the 37th year of his journey as a professional musician, his 26th year overall as a teacher, and his 11th year as a teacher at Northwood.

2017 Mr. Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan holds a Master's in collaborative piano performance from Carnegie Mellon University. His undergraduate in music education was completed in 2010 at the University of New Hampshire. As a new choir director to Northwood High School, he is excited to unite his two passions within music: performance and education. Mr. Sullivan is an active freelance musician in the Washington, DC area. His past experiences have included providing music for weddings, church services, various rehearsals of instrumental and choral music, opera, and musical theatre. Mr. Sullivan has held teaching positions in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, instructing vocalists, pianists, and strong players. He is excited to bring his broad-based background and expertise to the students of Northwood's Academy of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

2017 - 2018 Course Offerings

General Chorus

General Choir is designed for students in Grade 9 to learn the fundamentals of choral singing technique, including diction, breathing, tone production, intonation, and sight-reading. Membership in this choral group is open to all 9th grade students. This ensemble will perform a wide variety of choral music with required performances during the winter and spring concert seasons. 9th Grade Only—No audition required

Vocal Ensemble/Chorus

Open to students in Grades 10 through 12, Chorus is a general choir taken by students who desire to strengthen their vocal technique and/or musicianship for a performing arts credit. Students will learn the fundamentals of choral singing technique, including diction, breathing, tone production, intonation, and sight-reading. Membership in this choral group is open to ladies in grades 10 through 12. This ensemble will perform a wide variety of choral music with required performances during the winter and spring concert seasons. 10th through 12th Graders—No audition required

CONCERT BAND

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade III level of difficulty or higher. This class is for Woodwind, Brass and Percussion instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in elementary and middle school instrumental programs. Participation in the Northwood HS Marching/PEP Band is mandatory for all students enrolled in this class. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Public performances during and after school are required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. No audition required to enroll in this class.

SYMPHONIC BAND

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade IV or higher level of difficulty. This class is for Woodwind, Brass and Percussion instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in ensembles of concert band and/or advanced band levels. These skills will be further developed through the study of modern wind band literature of varying genres. Students will perform in both staged concerts and in motivational ensembles promoting school spirit.. Participation in the Northwood HS Marching/PEP Band is mandatory for all students enrolled in this class. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Public performances during and outside of the school day may be required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. Director approval and/or audition required to enroll in this class.

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Students will develop a high level of skill in the performance of jazz, blues, jazz-rock, soul, and other styles of music. They will extend their skills of jazz interpretation and improvisation through studying this literature. They continue to study jazz harmony and theory, along with the historical influences on jazz as it developed into an American art form. Public performances during and after school are required to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. Director approval and/or audition required to enroll in this class.

STRING ORCHESTRA

Students will develop and refine the skills that will enable them to perform music at the Grade III or higher level of difficulty. This class is for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass instrumentalists with music reading and playing skills acquired through participation in elementary and middle school instrumental programs, and/or private instruction. These skills will be further developed through the stud of orchestral string literature of varying historical periods and genres. Additional experiences may include improvisation, chamber and solo performance. Students will perform in staged concerts, and may also perform during and outside of the school day to meet course objectives. This class may be repeated for credit. No audition is required to enroll in this class.

GUITAR I

Students learn beginning guitar technique, including selected major, minor, and seventh chords; basic finger picks and strums; tuning technique. Music Theory and historical perspectives are studied as they relate to guitar performance. Students acquire more advanced guitar performance skills in semester 2. The technology aspects of contemporary guitar are studied. This course is open to all students regardless of music background and may be repeated for credit.

PIANO I

Students learn to read music and acquire standard piano technique. This course is open to all students, regardless of musical background. Students develop effective practice habits and perform selections of gradually increasing difficulty as they progress independently. They listen to and analyze examples of excellent piano performance.

PIANO II

Students study and perform a wide variety of intermediate and advanced repertoire. They improvise, compose, and arrange music in a variety of styles. Students refine their understandings of music history through analysis of repertoire. This course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Piano 1 A/B

Music Theory and Composition A/B

Students study the elements of music, with emphasis on music terminology, notation, and major and minor keys. They practice melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic dictation; keyboard harmony and sight-singing; and learn how to compose music in different styles for various combinations of voices and instruments. This class may not be repeated for credit. 0.5 credit per semester. Grade Level: 9 - 10 - 11 - 12