Music is alive at The Northwest School! Instrumental and choral ensembles are offered to Middle and Upper School students with varying levels of experience. Performance and compositional based experiences are available at all grade levels.

Middle School students may select from a variety of courses that vary in length from 1-3 trimesters. All 6th graders have the opportunity to learn a beginning string or wind instrument. Instrumentalists with previous experience in 6th, 7th or 8th grade may enroll in Concert Band or String Ensemble. All students may enroll in Chorus classes or Digital Music in the Media.

Upper School students have an array of year-long music classes to choose from. Advanced instrumentalists may audition for the Jazz Ensemble or Chamber Orchestra. Advanced singers may audition for A Cappella Choir. Upper School students without prior musical training may take Chorus or Music Studio. Musical Theatre does a large musical theatre production every other year.

  • Upper School: A Cappella Select Choir

    This performance ensemble is designed for experienced singers with strong musical ears, who love to sing, and who are ready to take choral singing to the next level! Mixed voices will prepare students for a wide range of challenging and fun A Cappella literature from a variety of styles, cultures, eras, and languages. Opportunities for solo and small ensemble work, group song arrangement, and choreography are offered at the interest and direction of the choir members.
  • Upper School: Choir

    This class provides students the opportunity to choose and sing songs from the music based on the interest of the choir members. This is a flexible choir, providing solo/small ensemble opportunities and large choir experiences. Students will learn music literacy, ear training, and their professional experience will be enhanced.
  • Upper School: Jazz Band

    This band acquaints students with the basics of reading and performing jazz literature. A variety of styles and concepts are explored, including traditional and modern jazz, improvisation, the blues, and Latin jazz.
  • Upper School: Music Studio

    This course dives into the world of composition and digital production. Students explore the basics of MIDI notation and how to input music with MIDI keyboards. Through the course of the year, students will learn basic composition, arranging, tracking, editing, and mixing, and will ultimately create original works using GarageBand.
  • Upper School: Orchestra

    Advanced musicians join together to play orchestra and chamber music spanning all genres from baroque and classical to pop tunes and movie scores. Students in this class will play at multiple performances throughout the year and engage in community outreach.
  • Upper School: Performing Music Ensemble

    This class offers students the unique opportunity to form the Northwest School’s own House Band. Students in the class study, perform, and ultimately create their own music in a wide range of popular styles, including folk, indie, rock, bluegrass, and jazz. Students get hands-on experience with tools essential to performing in a band, including working with microphones, using amplification, and working with effects such as looping, delay, and distortion.
  • Upper School: Theatre Pit Orchestra

    This class, in collaboration with the theatre department, will study the art of playing for musical theater. Students will learn skills essential for pit and studio work, including using mics and pick-ups, working with an aviom, playing with a click track, and reading show shorthand. Students in the class will perform as the pit orchestra for Northwest School’s musical production.
  • Middle School: Band (7/8)

    This performing ensemble is open to wind, brass, and percussion players. Students will develop reading, ensemble, and technical skills. Student musicians learn concert and jazz band repertoire, including classical pieces, contemporary pieces from movies, TV and other media, and big band jazz arrangements.
  • Middle School: Choir

    This class sings fun songs, in 2-4 parts, from a wide variety of styles, eras, and cultures (including a few songs that the class chooses themselves). The choir performs one to two times per trimester and is available for singers of all ability levels.

  • Middle School: Concert Orchestra

    This intermediate and advanced class of string musicians plays all genres, from baroque and classical to pop tunes and movie scores. The orchestra is open to violin, viola, cello, and double players who have achieved proficiency on their instrument and can read music.
  • Middle School: Digital Music in Media

    This class explores the use of music in media and the effect it has on mood, emotions, and storytelling, both in radio and on big and small screens. Students will learn how to use GarageBand to create their own music and will finish the course with a portfolio of work.
  • Middle School: Introduction to Band Instruments

    This class teaches students the essential elements of music through the hands-on experience of playing their choice of wind instruments. Students choose from flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, and learn note and rhythm reading. The experience gives students the vital listening skills required to play in an ensemble.
  • Middle School: Introduction to String Instruments

    This class teaches students the power of music through hands-on experience of playing stringed instruments. In addition to gaining the basic proficiency of an instrument and learning to read the written language of music, students develop the unique teamwork found in performing with an ensemble.

  • Middle School: Orchestra

    This class combines experienced Middle School musicians with graduates of our Introduction to Strings class. The class focuses on advancing technique, increasing music-reading skills, and developing independence within the ensemble. As an added bonus, the class includes a unit on conducting, and each student receives a chance to direct the ensemble during a performance.
  • Middle School: Show Choir

    This class is for the student who loves to create an expressive and engaging performance when they sing. Students will learn some choreography and movement while they sing, and add other expressive aspects to songs. The choir performs one to two times per trimester.

Performance Calendar