All students have the opportunity to take music classes and instrument lessons. Students in 4th-7th grade take introductory classes in the fall, and students in 8th and 9th grade choose their arts electives, which include music classes. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their musical instruments to school. Private lessons are offered in piano, stringed and brass instruments, and woodwinds.
In 4th and 5th grade, music students are introduced to elements of rhythm, melody and basic musical notation by playing the wooden flute, West African drums and other percussion instruments. Students develop original music and play in a group ensemble.
In 6th grade, music students explore the music and lives of numerous 20th century composers. Students write a biography about a chosen a composer and prepare a musical critique of his or her music. Using the computer software Garageband, students also write and arrange original compositions.
In 7th grade, music students explore American music and culture from 1900 to the present, touching upon folk, blues, jazz, country, Cajun, and gospel music. They learn to write lyrics in the blues style. At the end of the term, students play traditional American music as an ensemble on instruments of their choosing.
Guitar Students learn harmonic and melodic development, multiple chord forms and scales, and the entire fingerboard of the guitar. Proper right and left hand techniques are emphasized, and exercises are used to develop hand strength and agility.
Jugband Students with differing musical backgrounds explore playing in an ensemble with traditional and nontraditional instruments. They practice developing and maintaining rhythmic and melodic accompaniments in different musical styles, including blues, swing, bluegrass, and rock.
Play Band Students perform live music in the end of the year performance. They refine their instrument skills and develop improvising skills.