About our program

Our Music Department faculty teach one of the most diverse and unique programs in the state, and we are the only school in Texas utilizing Popular Music Education as our primary curriculum. Complete with traditional and non-traditional music classes, students advance their musical skills and knowledge and develop an appreciation for a variety of music genres. Whether a student plans on pursuing a career in music or not, there is a place for everyone in the Music Department.

From Guitar 1 in which students study basic standard music notation and learn to read chord charts using the Nashville Number System, to Modern Band Lab, which incorporates recording and songwriting, to Varsity Symphony, which fuses together elements of Popular Music Education and technology, student work culminates in themed shows at the end of fall and spring quarters. These performances have become some of the #8220;must-see” shows of the year.

In addition to regular courses, students may also participate in our many extracurricular activities, such as Drumline, the heartbeat of St. Michael’s; CruBands that perform at home football games, pep rallies, and other school functions; Praise Band for those students who wish to use their musical andsinging ability in chapel services; and Tech Crew, designed to give students the opportunity to learn about professional sound equipment using the industry’s latest technology.

Current Music Course Offerings

List of 4 items.

  • Modern Band Lab

    Modern Band Lab is one of the hallmarks of our music course offerings at St. Michael’s. Designed by our music teacher, Steve Moreland, this class combines guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals and other common instruments. Based around Popular Music Education pedagogy, students form teams or “bands” which practice and perform together on a variety of projects. Fall semester is centered on learning the soft skills necessary for creating music in a group context. Spring semester incorporates recording and songwriting components as the students create a student-produced album. Students will leave the class with a portfolio of self-created videos and recordings and a basic understanding of all of the innovative tools available to the modern day musician.
  • Drum Set Studies

    This course is designed for the beginner drum set player. Students will learn how to play the drum-set in a variety of musical settings while developing four-way independence, using both their hands and feet. Class topics include reading basic music notation and reading standard drum shorthand.
  • Guitar 1

    Designed for the beginning or intermediate guitar player, this class focuses on skills necessary for learning to play “contemporary” and “commercial” guitar. Students are introduced to popular music beginning with Elvis and The Beatles and continue their learning through modern day artists. Students learn how to read chord charts using the Nashville Number System and basic guitar tab in addition to being introduced to basic standard music notation. This course prepares students to enter the Modern Band Lab class and utilize the skills learned in a standard pop or rock band setting.
  • Varsity Symphony

    As a performing ensemble, this class combines strings, woodwinds, brass, keyboards and percussion instruments and functions similar to most high school band and orchestra programs with one major exception: By fusing together elements of Popular Music Education and technology. In this class, our instrumentalists have the opportunity to participate in horn, string or rhythm sections for some of our Modern Band ensembles. Students with previous music experience are encouraged to participate in this class. The Varsity Symphony also competes at the TAPPS Music Championship and individual competitions throughout the year.

Music Department Fun Facts

  • Approximately 25% of St. Michael’s students are involved in the music program.
  • Only school in Texas with a Popular Music Education curriculum as its primary focus.
  • We will soon have a student-run record label.
  • Professional musicians interact with students in classes.
  • Music industry-aligned program.
  • Over 60 universities now offer popular music education and modern band courses.
  • Students have had internships at major recording studios and labels in Austin and Nashville.


Each semester the entire Music Department collaborates on a themed show at the end of fall and spring quarters. These performances have become some of the “must-see” shows of the year.
Previous shows have included:
  • A Tribute To The Beatles (Fall 2014)
  • Sounds of Motown (Fall 2015)
  • Dude, It’s A 90s Concert (Spring 2016)
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Fall 2017)
  • Night At The Grammys (Spring 2017)
  • California Dreamin’ (Fall 2017)
  • Music Without Borders (Spring 2018)
  • Magical Mystery Tour (Fall 2018)
  • Legends, Vol. 1 (Spring 2019)


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3000 Barton Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78735  (512) 328-2323
St. Michael's Catholic Academy is mindful of its mission to prepare the student holistically for leadership, service, and decision making consistent with Catholic values; and admit students of any race, color, or national and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the school. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and/or ethnic origin, age, or gender in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate against students with special needs; a full range of services might not be available.