Instruments and Voice

Music sounds energetic, beautiful, creative, rhythmic, and most of all, FUN! 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 Phillipines.

Students receive music instruction at every grade level, from PK through 8th grade. Our early childhood music program is designed, in the words of leading music educator John Feierabend, to help every child become a “tuneful, beatful, and artful” musician. 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 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.

 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.

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 have the opportunity to study a musical instrument with a private teacher, and participate in a choral and/or instrumental ensemble. 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. Sixth graders explore cross cultural rhythm making on West African drums. The seventh graders learn the acoustic guitar and how to play various genres of music from folk, blues, jazz to rock and roll. Finally, our eight graders study Broadway musicals in depth and culminate their year by performing a full production with costume, lights and sound for the entire school community.

Our mission is to help our students experience the sense of achievement and joy that comes from learning to read and perform music in a safe and inclusive environment. 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.