At Renbrook School, we believe in teaching music for music’s sake. Music is an essential part of being human. The musical skills and concepts that students learn at Renbrook enable them to appreciate and engage in music for a lifetime. Participating in music fosters confidence and discipline in our students. Renbrook musicians are given challenges that inspire them to learn and grow.
Renbrook Upper School students have many choices in music including:
5th Grade Band
Learning an instrument is an exciting opportunity for students to develop a new passion or hobby, and to learn to use their brains and bodies in a brand-new way. Students learn the technical skills to play traditional band instruments while developing other important skills: independence, patience, active listening, and more. Students learn proper playing technique, develop fluency in music reading, and learn how to work and communicate as musicians. Students meet in small groups throughout the year and may combine as a full band the second half of the year.
Instrument choices include flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. Students should expect to build a consistent at-home practice habit in order to have the best experience possible and reach their potential. Students perform twice per year.
Concert Band: Grades 6, 7, 8
Student musicians continue developing their skills in collaboration with peers in Concert Band. Students learn their role in a traditional band ensemble with members in their same grade and should expect to maintain a consistent at-home practice habit in order to reach their potential and support the growth of the whole group. There may also be opportunities to rehearse and perform in small chamber ensembles. Students in Grade 6 are invited to learn a new instrument even if they did not play in fifth grade. Students perform twice per year.
Jazz Band: Grades 7, 8
Jazz Band is a smaller ensemble for students who desire extra playing opportunities. Students get to play different styles of jazz including blues, rock, and more. Instruments that don’t belong in a traditional concert band are welcome in jazz: piano, drum set, electric guitar, and electric bass. The Jazz Band performs twice per year.
String Ensemble: Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
Renbrook offers an extracurricular string ensemble for students who take classical strings lessons outside of school. This ensemble typically meets after school and welcomes students who play violin, viola, cello, or string bass. Students learn how to collaborate in a small chamber group and perform at least once per year.
Music Connections: Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
Students will become fluent in reading and interpreting music, develop an understanding of the “building blocks” of music, and connect with music that has meaning for us and our world. Units differ in each grade. Some unit examples include Music of South Africa, American Music and Social Change, Musical Theater, Afro-Caribbean Drumming, and Songwriting. This is a non-performing class.
Chorus: Grades 5, 6
Students who love singing will get to engage in a traditional choral singing group. Students will learn to interpret a choral octavo, use solfege to develop reading fluency and aural skills, and develop their ability to sing in unison and in harmony. Students will perform at least twice per year.
Renaissance: Grades 7, 8
Seventh and eighth-grade singers with a passion for singing are invited to audition for our smaller singing ensemble, Renaissance. This ensemble frequently performs for special events around Renbrook in addition to two concerts per year. After-school rehearsals are required, and some at-home practice is expected so that all students reach their potential as musicians and singers.
Musical Theater: 5-6, 7-8
Students are invited to participate in a musical theater production where they will learn to love the stage! We have two musicals: a one-act production for fifth and sixth-grade students, and a larger production for students in grades seven and eight. Students must audition, though all those interested will be cast in the show. In a role that suits them, students will sing, dance, and act. Students will learn how to perform with confidence, practice being responsible, supportive cast-members, and have a fabulous time. Rehearsals will take place after school. Other non-performance opportunities for students include prop and set design, stage managing, and working on the backstage crew.