It is our conviction that everyone is capable of experiencing the joy of music. The Music Department is committed to making music a part of students’ daily lives. By providing a variety of opportunities and individual and shared experiences, we strive to foster a lifetime appreciation and engagement in music. Students gain musical knowledge and are challenged to explore their musical potential through creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. In this way, we develop a thoughtful, inspired, and enthusiastic music community.
The Music Department Habits of Mind provide a basis for musical growth for students at all levels: Develop Craft, Listen, Create and Innovate, Reflect, Envision, Engage and Persist, Understand Music in the World. Fostering these habits promote a deeper understanding of music.
The Lower School music program engages children in discovery and learning through dynamic teaching methods.
Music classes provide opportunities for aural, visual, and kinesthetic learners, who need to hear, feel, understand, see, and physically express themselves. Students are introduced to basic elements of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and timbre. Children explore these fundamentals through body percussion, speech, singing, movement, folk dances, singing games, and playing pitched and unpitched instruments.
Fourth and fifth grade students further their knowledge, performing in Lower School choral groups and participating in the exploratory instrumental program.
The Middle School music program supports students in this dynamic developmental stage. Each year builds on previously learned skills, encouraging students to use music to express and explore their own identities. Being involved in musical communities gives students opportunities to build confidence and meaningful experiences in a welcoming social climate.
Chorus, jazz ensemble, chamber ensemble, and drum line give Middle Schoolers venues to express themselves and be recognized by their peers.
The Upper School music program promotes a balance between process and performance. Emphasis is placed on creativity, discipline, and innovation. All courses, whether composition or performance-oriented, stress careful attention to craft. Students are encouraged to discover their musical identities, pursue their interests, and develop talents through classes in music technology, history, and composition.
An extensive range of vocal, instrumental, and production opportunities allow students to demonstrate their skills and share their work with the Park School community.
The music department offers in-depth courses in singing, playing, performing, audio production, and music technology. Performing opportunities include vocal and instrumental ensembles in all three divisions.
The Lower School Chorus is non-auditioned for students in Grades 4 and 5 and meets once a week. Many skills are developed during rehearsals, including proper vocal technique, diction, blend, ensemble skills, music reading, and part work. The chorus performs at assemblies and seasonal concerts.
Soundwaves are comprised of students who are in the Lower School Chorus and enjoy more performance opportunities with work on advanced choral repertoire. Members of Soundwaves rehearse for one hour after school on Thursday. The Soundwaves’ performances include assemblies, concerts, and a variety of Park community events.
The Middle School non-auditioned chorus sings folk music from around the world, arrangements of show tunes and popular tunes, and composed art music. They rehearse twice a week — once during the school day and once after school on Monday. Middle Cs perform at assemblies, seasonal concerts, local venues, and regional festivals.
The B#s are comprised of students who are in the Middle Cs and enjoy more performance opportunities with work on advanced choral repertoire. The group rehearses for one hour, once a week. The B#s' performances include assemblies, concerts, and a variety of Park community events.
This non-auditioned chorus sings a variety of choral works and arrangements in several styles and languages. Parksingers is a class that rehearses three times a week for credit. Members of Parksingers perform in assemblies for all divisions, at seasonal concerts, and at the annual AIMS Choralfest.
This non-auditioned a cappella chorus sings traditional Renaissance secular and sacred music. The group also performs contemporary Celtic music. Members of Madrigal Singers meet once a week during a Parksingers rehearsal. Madrigal Singers must also be members of Parksingers.
The auditioned female a cappella ensemble performs traditional and contemporary songs. Eightnotes is a class that rehearses twice a week for credit, with frequent additional rehearsals in preparation for a variety of school and community events. Singers are expected to create original arrangements tailored to the group, and often participate in competitions and festivals. Eightnotes must be members of Parksingers.
The auditioned male a cappella ensemble performs traditional and popular songs. Vocal Chords is a class that rehearses twice a week for credit, with frequent additional rehearsals in preparation for a variety of school and community events. Singers are expected to create original arrangements tailored to the group, and often participate in competitions and festivals. Vocal Chords must be members of Parksingers.
Exploratory Instrumental Class
All fourth graders learn fundamentals of orchestral wind instruments with their regular music class. During the year, students perform in class ensembles on the wind instrument of their choice.
In fifth grade, students are encouraged to continue study of their chosen instrument with group lessons after school. Students learn the special skills necessary to perform in an ensemble. Public performances will be scheduled.
5th Grade Concert Band
The Concert Band is a natural progression from the fourth grade exploratory instrumental studies in which every fourth grade student learned the basics in playing the flute and clarinet.
Every fifth grader will be asked to either play an instrument in our Concert Band OR to sing in the Lower School Chorus. Lower School Chorus and Concert Band will both rehearse on Mondays, during the school day, from 2:15-2:55 p.m. Those students who wish to play an instrument and sing in a chorus will be able to join Soundwaves on Thursdays from 3-4 p.m.
Students who join the concert band may choose to play flute, clarinet, or saxophone. We will have a few percussionists and pianists to play with the group and they will be selected by audition. The band is a performance ensemble, not an instructional group, so students who participate in Concert Band are strongly encouraged to take part in our FREE after school group lessons or in private lessons. Flute, clarinet, or saxophone group lessons will be held on Mondays, right after band rehearsal, from 3:10-4 p.m.
4th and 5th Grade Jazz Band
Jazz Band will take place on Fridays from 3-4 p.m. in Chris Peterson’s classroom. Students can play classroom instruments like the xylophones and drums. Students are encouraged to bring their own personal instruments (guitar, bass, and wind instruments) if they are currently enrolled in private lessons.
The Chamber Ensemble explores a variety of styles and arrangements specifically tailored for strings and winds. In addition to work on Baroque, Classical, and folk repertoire, the group provides a showcase for Middle School composers. The Ensemble meets once a week before school with extra rehearsals prior to performances.
This non-auditioned group learns music from the Classic era of jazz and explores contemporary styles. Playing traditional and non-traditional jazz instruments, students focus on improvisation and authentic engagement. Rehearsals are Friday after school, with extra rehearsals as needed. Performances include seasonal concerts and regional festivals.
Drumline focuses on world drumming traditions — from DC go go to samba to hip hop. Drumline works on rudiments, stick control, and rhythm-reading skills. Rehearsals for Drumline are during lunch on a rotating schedule, with extra rehearsals as needed. Performances include school assemblies and community events.
String ensemble is a class that rehearses three times a week for credit. The group performs concert and contemporary popular repertoire. Park Strings performs several times a year at assemblies, Goldsoundz*, and seasonal concerts.
JV Jazz is an activity that is open to all students interested in learning and improving skills on their instruments with jazz standards and classic tunes. The group rehearses once a week during co-curricular time. JV Jazz performs at Goldsoundz* and an end-of-year assembly.
Park’s auditioned combo meets twice a week after school with several additional rehearsals for performance preparation. This for-credit class is open to instrumentalists and vocalists interested in and familiar with learning jazz, Latin, Afro-Cuban, and contemporary styles. Ensemble and improvisational skills are emphasized. Jazz Ensemble performs at assemblies for all divisions, seasonal concerts, and community events.
Extra Performance Opportunities in the Upper School
Goldsoundz is an eclectic community music series that occurs several times a year, having grown to be a venue for musical creativity and expression. Goldsoundz provides opportunities for student-driven ensembles, MCs, and live sound engineering.
Rooted in Park’s performance tradition, Cabaret is an acoustic evening of student and faculty performances.