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Music

Music is required of all Middle School students. Pingry’s Middle School music program seeks not only to foster skill development in singing and playing in ensembles but also to help cultivate an appreciation for many diverse styles of music. Performance material is selected from a rich and broad spectrum of historical and cultural sources.

The Department has an adjunct staff which provides private lessons on most instruments at the school. These lessons are given after school hours and are billed separately to the student account. As an integral part of the learning process, private lessons are strongly recommended. They can be arranged through the school or scheduled by the student outside the school. Students who participate in the program usually go on to play and/or sing in the Upper School.

Optional sectionals are also offered after school from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for Woodwinds, Percussion, Strings, and Brass.

Music Ensembles

Music ensembles provide students with the opportunity to prepare for performances in a variety of venues. Students may sing or play instruments at age-and skill-appropriate levels. The teamwork experience is crystallized in the music ensemble. Learning to work together toward specific student-driven performance goals is key to the ensembles' value and success. Music ensembles provide the basis for two seasonal, school-wide concerts. They allow students specifically interested in music performance the opportunity to hone their musical performance skills.

Middle School Band

Middle School Band is open to students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 playing band instruments. This ensemble performs a standard repertoire for Middle School wind/band ensembles.

Tenor/Baritone Chorus

This ensemble is for Tenor/Baritone students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 desiring a performance repertoire that focuses on the changing male voice. Grades 6 and 7 are scheduled for a trimester of regular classes. Grade 8 rehearses with all forms on Friday afternoons throughout the year.

Middle School Girls' Chorus

Middle School Girls' Chorus is for girls in Grades 6, 7 and 8 desiring a performance repertoire that focuses on developing the treble voice. Grades 6 and 7 are scheduled for a trimester of regular classes. Grade 8 rehearses with all forms on Friday afternoons throughout the year.

Middle School String Orchestra

Middle School String Orchestra is for string players in Grades 6, 7, and 8. The group performs of standard repertoire for Middle School string ensembles. The full group rehearses on Friday afternoons from 2:05 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Percussion Ensemble 8 (Elective)

Students enrolled in the percussion ensemble will get to play anything they can strike, scrape, or slap. Basic to intermediate rhythmic notation is taught at the beginning of the trimester as well as how to construct several basic hand held percussion instruments. Students work together as a large ensemble as well as in smaller groups for collaborations and concerts with the Chorus, Band, and String Orchestra. Mastering proper technique on all instruments will be strongly stressed. Students will get to play many percussion instruments, including drum-set, congas, bongos, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, triangle, finger cymbals, tambourine, etc. Students get the chance to immerse themselves in and perform many different genres of music including jazz-fusion, rock, Latin, and classical.

Middle School Jazz Band 8 (Elective)

The Grade 8 Jazz Band provides the opportunity for students to learn and perform in a jazz ensemble setting. Students will learn to play in three major stylistic genres: Swing, Ballads, and Latin/Afro-Cuban. Members are also introduced to jazz improvisation and chord/scale relationships. Focus is on development of the “Swing” style of jazz and the required rhythmic and melodic phrasing to play in that style. Listening is a key component to assimilating the jazz style and is encouraged by hearing recordings of jazz masters in class and providing information for listening to jazz outside of the classroom.

Chorus/Vocal Music 8: Expression Through Song (Elective)

In this course, students will have the opportunity to develop their singing voices, musicianship, and performing skills. They will learn challenging music literature from classical and traditional to musical theatre and pop a cappella. Students will become stronger sight-readers, develop their listening skills, learn how to work in small groups, and they may have the opportunity to write music or create their own arrangements. Students will develop their vocal technique through both one-on-one instruction with the teacher and in group warm-ups. The singers will learn to interact with each other as they communicate the meaning of the music they are singing, and they will learn to do so in a way that is appropriate for different styles of music. In addition to learning music as a class, students will have the opportunity to perform and practice in small groups, perform for the class, and learn how to give and receive critique and feedback. Students who hope to continue singing in the Upper School, whether in Balladeers, Buttondowns, Glee Club, or the musical performances are encouraged to sign up for this elective.

Middle school students singing in the Winter Festival