Comprehensive music instruction begins in junior kindergarten and continues all the way through the Upper School, where our student musicians participate and receive awards in state, regional, and national competitions. In all three divisions, our students are provided numerous opportunities to explore and develop their musical talents and cultivate their musical skills. Concerts and performances at every level help create a sense of community.
In Lower School, we believe music is a universal language and inspires acceptance, community, and creativity. We strive to meet our students' developmental level and encourage a love for all aspects of music. They also learn to experience the beauty of performing music with others. Each class is filled with singing, clapping, and playing rhythms with a large variety of instruments. Third graders are introduced to the recorder with the Recorder Karate program and by fourth grade, they practice at home and record their progress with learning new songs. This process prepares students for the Middle School music program.
Band, orchestra, and General Music are introduced to our Middle School students in the fifth grade. Those interested in playing a woodwind, brass, or string instrument are encouraged to join either band or orchestra. Instrumental students learn to read music, play their instrument with technique, and develop tone quality. General Music focuses on the elements of music and students learn to sing and play melodies, rhythms, and chords on a variety of instruments. In seventh and eighth grade, musicians are given the option to continue with band or orchestra, or join a mixed choir, which explores two and three part music, demonstrating a comprehensive music approach to choral singing. All music courses, which are part of the daily curriculum, expose students to music from a wide range of cultures and genres. In addition to classroom rehearsals, students get to explore music theory and composition using technology. All Middle School musicians share their talents in several performances throughout the year.
Our Upper School music program offers numerous opportunities in vocal and instrumental music. Each class hones musical acumen through rehearsal and performance of advanced levels of music. Students develop and demonstrate musicianship, artistry, and leadership skills through these experiences. They choose from concert choir, chamber/honors choir, a capella choir, concert band/honors concert band, and orchestra/honors orchestra. Additionally, AP music theory, film and music production, and digital music studio are offered.
Here's a shout-out to Gary Forbis, the incredible Upper School choir director who gave me—from what I can tell—one of the best choral educations in the country. I could sight-read music. I could sing harmonies. And he did everything from Benjamin Britten to a 'Grease' medley.
—Kristen Anderson-Lopez '90, Academy Award winning songwriter for "Frozen" and "Coco," as quoted in the Charlotte Observer