Musicianship and Ensembles (Recommended Electives)

Music Classes 

Music and Movement

This class is designed as the first structured music class for children three to five years old. Based upon the Dalcroze approach to music education, it incorporates rhythmic movement and aural training as well as physical, vocal and instrumental improvisation. Children learn while doing what they love most: running, skipping, singing and playing instruments. The class also provides an opportunity for children to interact with other children in their age group.  (45 minutes weekly)

Musicianship Classes for Students Taking Private Lessons

The musicianship curriculum is designed as a sequential course of study in the elements of music, including melody, harmony, rhythm and form. Sightsinging and dictation are included as an essential part of musical training. Understanding the building blocks of music promotes better learning and performing of pieces.  Beginning classes include games and other fun activities. (30 or 45 minutes weekly, depending on level)

Musicianship for Young Children

Introduction to reading music and music theory using games and colorful materials especially designed for young children. (30 minutes weekly)

Musicianship I

Introduction of note-reading in both treble and bass clefs; beginning sight-singing; beginning study of rhythmic notation and singing/playing simple rhythms on the student's instrument; introduction of intervals and scales. (45 minutes weekly)

Musicianship II

Mastering note-reading skills in treble and bass clefs; further study in sight singing; introduction to dictation; continuing work with intervals and scales; circle of fifths; chords. Development of sight-reading skills on instrument/voice. (45 minutes weekly)

Musicianship III

Review of note-reading skills; scales; circle of fifths. Continuing interval and chord study. Continuation of sight-singing and dictation. Development of sight-reading skills on instrument/voice. (45 minutes weekly)

Advanced Musicianship

Study of musical styles in the context of an historical perspective. Introduction to composition; introduction to harmonic analysis; introduction to counterpoint. (60 minutes weekly)


Performance opportunities during the school year.

Young Children's Chorus

Introduction to group singing for children ages 4 to 8. Music reading not required. (30 minutes weekly)

Vocal Ensemble

Designed for children ages 8 and up who have basic music reading skills, this class offers the opportunity to work on both classical and popular repertoire. Unison and part-singing. (45 minutes weekly)

String Beans

String Beans is a beginning string ensemble for violin, viola and cello. Students with basic playing and reading skills who are ready to discover group music- making are encouraged to enroll. Repertoire typically samples classical and popular styles. Audition required. (45 minutes weekly)

Advanced Violin Ensemble

This class explores violin concerto and ensemble repertoire in a group setting. Designed for intermediate to advanced violin students with permission from the director of String and Suzuki programs. (60 minutes weekly)

Preparatory Center Junior Orchestra

The Junior Orchestra explores music in a variety of musical styles. Special emphasis is placed on the development of sight-reading skills, ensemble playing and musical interpretation. Performances throughout the school year. Audition required. (60 minutes weekly)

Exploring Improvisation and Jazz

Exploring improvisation begins with Soundpainting, a method developed by New York composer Walter Thompson using hand gestures to indicate specific instructions. Soundpainting is an excellent way for students to begin improvising. The class continues with an introduction to jazz improvisation, focusing on chamber music arrangements of traditional jazz pieces. Jazz theory and history are also explored. Designed for students ages seven and up, with at least two years' experience on an instrument. (45 minutes weekly)

Chamber Music

Playing in chamber groups is an essential, enjoyable and highly satisfying experience for young musicians. Students may be assigned to groups or may form their own ensembles: duets, trios, quartets, piano duets in classical or jazz styles. Each group will receive coaching from a faculty member. Coaching focuses on solving technical challenges and bringing out artistic content. (45 minutes weekly)