The music curriculum is designed to help students understand that music is an indispensable and integral part of the life of a well-rounded human being. In both the Middle School and Upper School programs, music is identified as a universal language. Students are given opportunities to respond to music and develop their talents through a variety of musical styles. They are encouraged to cultivate ideas, become risk-takers, and develop self-confidence. The program helps them to appreciate music by becoming critical and aesthetically sensitive of music.
Performance Ensemble is required for all Middle School students.
Concert Band is designed for girls in Grades 7 and 8 who have prior instrumental experience. The focus includes the development of listening skills, advanced technique, and the creation of a well-balanced ensemble sound. Concert Band performs at Vespers and the Spring Concert.
Chorus focuses on the development of the individual voice as well as the creation of a well-balanced and blended ensemble sound. Performance selections feature diverse musical styles representing a variety of cultures and eras. This repertoire supports the development of voice and musicianship.
Cantilare is a select chorus open to girls in Grades 7 and 8. Admission to the group is by audition. Cantilare is designed to improve vocal and choral technique through more demanding choral works of various styles. Pieces range from liturgical selections for school worship services to a cappella arrangements of contemporary composers.
In this course, students are taught fundamental music skills such as singing, listening, and reading notation. The primary vehicle of music instruction is beginning band, a mandatory ensemble in Grades 5 and 6. Girls choose an instrument from the years' offerings and are given in-class instruction on the technique and music reading needed to play. Beginning band is supplemented by classroom music instruction.
The curriculum in Music 8 builds on the fundamental music skills taught in Grades 5-7. Singing, music reading, and playing skills are integrated into a year-long focus on composing original music. Students are challenged to write music using both traditional tools, pencil and paper, and contemporary tools such as music notation software and recording programs.
This course is open to all Upper School students with or without prior choral experience. The two-fold focus of this course is the proper training and development of the individual voice and the creation of a well-balanced and blended choral sound. Musical sensitivity grows from learning cooperation in a musical ensemble, making artistic decisions, increasing musical literacy, developing listening skills, and performing. Performance selections feature the diverse musical styles of composers representing a variety of cultures and eras. Recent performances include Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Rutter's Dancing Day, Pinckham's Christmas Cantata, Vivaldi's Gloria, Schubert's Mass in G, Fauré's Requiem, and Handel's Messiah.