The Berkeley Carroll School

Performing Arts

Music is an invaluable part of life not only for the joy and pleasure it brings, but also for the ways in which it enables us to understand the human experience. As Nietzsche said, “Without music, life itself would be impossible.”

In the Middle School, every student learns to play at least one musical instrument. Students learn a wide range of musical styles and genres -- everything from the classical and standard repertoire to contemporary music. Fifth and sixth grade students choose one of these string or wind instruments to study: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, french horn, and trombone. They learn how to read and compose music, how to improvise, how to work in a group, and how to care for their instrument. Twice yearly, they perform in a public concert.

Seventh and eighth graders can elect to continue their instrument and build their skills as they move to a more advanced repertoire through solo as well as small ensemble and large ensemble configurations. Students become confident playing in different keys and meters as they experiment across genres and musical forms. Improvisation is key and solo playing is encouraged. Students perform frequently throughout the year. Seventh and eighth graders can also choose to enroll in a comprehensive vocal music study or a production design arts elective which provides them with hands-on experience in set design, set construction, and lighting, with emphasis on the safe and proper use of basic tools.

Middle School students in all grades can participate in the jazz ensemble, string orchestra, wind ensemble and choir. These groups provide students with the opportunity to perform for Berkeley Carroll audiences, the New York City community, and beyond.

In 5th and 6th grades, all students take instrumental music (wind or strings, depending on instrument).
In 7th and 8th grades, they have more choice. In the performing arts block they can choose to continue with instrumental music, or switch to choral music or production design.
Dance, theater and jazz are offered as electives.

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