Instruments and Voice

The Dutchess Day music program offers opportunities for students to learn to think critically and discover musical concepts by imitation, exploration, and experimentation. It is by playing music through movement, improvisation, and composition that students connect with others as they create and perform in various ensembles. We believe that our music program prepares students to become confident, life-long musicians and creative problem solvers. 


On a typical day in the music building, you will hear choruses rehearsing, Afro-Cuban rhythm patterns being played on drums, and diverse music history being taught. You will see children using their bodies to keep a steady beat, dancing artfully to the famous “Aquarium” from Carnival of the Animals or to Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va,” and learning a traditional folk dance like “Tinikling” from the Philippines. 


Students receive music instruction at every grade level, from PK through 8th grade. We develop the child’s voice and body as their primary instruments for intuitive music-making and branch out beyond that to explore many musical instruments, styles, and genres. Wherever possible, the music curriculum aligns with literature and cultural studies from the homeroom classes.  


Our sequential curriculum is designed to achieve specific goals and objectives. Third grade students learn melody and notation while exploring the recorder. Our fourth graders learn composition and accompaniment skills on various Orff instruments. The fifth graders build and design their own Appalachian dulcimers and learn traditional folk songs. Our new upper school co-curricular music program gives our 5th -8th graders the opportunity to choose from innovative courses like: The History of Rock, African Percussion, Soundtrap Composition, Uke and Guitar Exploration, and Songwriting. Students are given the choice to sing in chorus or to participate in a variety of instrumental ensembles such as rock/jazz string, woodwind, or beginner band.  


In addition to music classes in which students learn the fundamentals of singing, instrumentation, movement, basic music theory, listening skills, music history and appreciation, students also can study a musical instrument with a private teacher. Our young musicians and singers perform in recitals and concerts throughout the school year and have the option of participating in NYSSMA solo evaluations. Our music teachers personally mentor our young musicians and singers, accompany them to competitions and make countless opportunities available to them in the music field. Our aim is for students to leave DDS with a deep understanding of the cultural importance of music, as well as a command of music theory, comfort with using their own voice raised in song, and the idea that music-making is an essential part of a life well-led.