In grade 5, all students are introduced to wind instruments and play in the band rather than a general music class. This model offers every young student an opportunity to explore his or her interest in instrumental music. Many children go on to play an instrument in the Middle/Upper School bands.
Middle School Instrumental Music is an elective course open to all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. Prior experience on a wind instrument in fifth grade is desirable, but not necessary. Students work primarily in a class method book as sixth grade students, and then as seventh and eighth grade students begin to focus more on music for performance, supported by exercises in musicianship stressing tone, intonation, and scale technique development. The Middle School Band performs a Winter and Spring Concert. The Music performed is appropriate to difficulty level, and programming is drawn from serious concert band literature and lighter jazz and pop repertoire. Students are prepared for and encouraged to further their instrumental development in the Upper School Band.
Lab Band prepares students to perform with expression and technical accuracy, both individually and within an ensemble. All the qualities of good musicianship are emphasized, including tone quality, reading skills, blending, rhythmic accuracy, interpretation, and intonation. A variety of musical selections are rehearsed and performed both on and off campus.
Guitar Instruction: Blues and Jazz is a one year course for Upper School students wishing to become acquainted with the performance of blues and jazz improvisation. An interview with perspective candidates will be conducted by Mr. McNamara prior to admittance to the class. A pre-requisite to this class is each student’s possession of an electric guitar. Music reading is an important component of the class, and some working knowledge of music notation and guitar technique is a pre-requisite. The class will not be a blues/rock jam session. The relationship of early blues, as it relates to rock, and then as it becomes more complex in jazz will be the focus of the early classes. The focus will then shift to jazz and will explore the II/V chord progression and how scales and arpeggios are used to improvise over it. The class is a lab experience with no performance requirement, and will consist of part instruction time and part student practice time.