Middle School music introduces students to new instruments and ways of accessing music. For the Festival of the World celebrating the 6th graders' explorations of global cultures in the spring, students' repertoire is expanded to include material from many continents. All 6th graders learn to play the alto recorder; 7th graders learn to play the mountain dulcimer. In 7th grade, students have an opportunity to learn about Opera, culminating in a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera. All 8th graders will study some basic guitar. Eighth and ninth graders might play in a steel pan band or an English handbell ensemble. There are units in learning blues form and instrumental improvisation, and a pop colloquium in which students bring favorite recordings in order to analyze genre and musical preference.
Students also have many impromptu chances to present their forays into musical expressions through the jazz rock ensemble, chorus, morning meeting presentations, the yearbook assembly and May Day. Movement and traditional dance are woven throughout our program at all levels. There is also an after-school program for private lessons (fee-based), in which students can study violin, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and voice.
The sixth grade Festival of the World caps a yearlong study of global cultures, religions and geography. Each student studies a different country, creating a range of informational and artistic projects, including a model of a famous landmark.