The Four/Fives and the Kindergarten classes enjoy music twice a week. The music teacher visits the classroom with “baby piano” and sings songs, introduces rhythms and movement, and talks about the great composers with the boys.
First, second and third graders have two music classes each week. The boys learn a wide variety of songs, clap and write rhythms, learn the basics of music notation and begin to appreciate the music of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Each grade also works hard to perfect a class performance. The first grade presents the annual Christmas play, the second grade performs a musical play based on their study of America, and the third grade sings a program of popular songs with the girls from the Spence School.
The instrumental music program begins in the fourth grade. The boys are divided into four sections and alternate between strings, bells, singing and recorder. After each eight-week cycle the students give a “switch” concert for parents to demonstrate their skills.
In fifth grade, boys choose one instrument for the entire year. They begin a more intensive study of their instrument and perform several times a year. The recorder students are members of the Recorder Consort and perform at the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols. The string players study orchestral playing, while the bell ringers and singers work on notation, pitch, rhythm and listening skills.
Fifth and Sixth Grade boys are all members of the school’s Glee Club. They perform in the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols in December, and in the spring term each grade presents a musical play. The fifth grade often presents a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, while the sixth graders have performed original operas and historical musical revues. The sixth grade also works with music technology to compose and create their own musical compositions.
Private lessons are available throughout the school day, before and after school. There is a modified Suzuki violin and cello program, piano lessons, recorder and woodwind lessons, as well as guitar and percussion lessons. The students who participate in the private lesson program are invited to perform at an end of the year recital. The more advanced piano students perform at Steinway Hall with girls from the Marymount School.
The Ensemble, made up of students from Grades Three to Eight, rehearses twice weekly before school. The students perform for the student body in January and in May, and recently they have participated in performances with the girls of the Brearley School. The Ensemble provides an opportunity for talented and dedicated young musicians to hone their craft, and they recently made their Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall.
The Chamber Singers is made up of boys from Grades Four to Eight who love to sing. They meet once or twice weekly and prepare music for many different occasions. They sing at all of the school Masses, they sing at Lessons and Carols, they perform for the student body in a more relaxed setting, and they have performed outside the school in many different locations. Students audition for the Chamber Singers in September, and rehearsals are held before and during school hours.
Boys who enjoy studying the recorder may become members of the recorder consorts. The boys learn soprano, alto, tenor or bass recorder, and play four-part music during their rehearsals. The recorders play at the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols and at a Recorder recital in May.