Music thrives at The Northwest School! Instrumental, choral, and popular music ensembles of varying levels of experience are open to all students. 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 string or wind instrument. Instrumentalists with previous experience in 6th, 7th or 8th grade may enroll in Middle School Band or Middle School Orchestra. Skilled players are invited to audition for Advanced Band or Advanced Orchestra. All students my join the Chorus or study Popular Musics.

Upper School students have an array of year-long music classes to choose from. Skilled musicians may audition for the Jazz Band, Concert Band, Orchestra, House Band (popular music ensemble), and Vocal Collective. All students are welcome to sing in the Upper School Chorus or join the Popular Musics class. The Performing Arts Department joins forces every other your with the Theatre Department to produce a musical.

With two arts blocks in our schedule, all students can be dedicated members of an ensemble without giving up the opportunity to explore and discover other art forms.

  • Upper School: Concert Band

    Calling all musicians and future-musicians! This course is open to experienced and non-experienced instrumentalists. New musicians will learn alongside experienced musicians during full ensemble instruction. Individual playing assignments and goal-setting will be differentiated based on experience and ability to appropriately challenge each student. Experienced musicians will have opportunities for student leadership and peer collaboration. All students will explore technique and notation fluency as well as music from all genres and music of student interest!

  • 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 is an auditioned ensemble for students with at least two years of experience (or by audition). 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, Latin, funk, and rock. Students will perform in a variety of settings as a big band as well as small combos. Students will also explore the musical and political impact of jazz throughout history.

  • 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/House Band

    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: Popular Musics

    This class dives into the world of music fundamentals with a hands-on approach. Through playing guitar and keyboard, students explore the basics of music creation and composition.

  • Upper School: Singing for the Soloist

    This course teaches students how to sing, as a soloist, a varied repertoire of music from Broadway, folk music, classical, art songs, and more. Students examine music for contextual clues/storytelling, technical purposes, and how the music fits into the wider cultural context of when it was written.

  • Upper School: Vocal Collective

    This advanced choral ensemble explores a variety of musical styles with a modern and socially conscious focus. The ensemble will sing in predominately four-part and five-part textures. The ensemble will perform several times each trimester.

  • Middle School: Advanced Band (7/8)

    This course is for students with at least one year of experience on a band instrument or by audition. This ensemble will learn advanced concepts of music theory, musicality, extended techniques, composition, improvisation, and community action through music as well as developing fluency in music literacy and technique. Music of all genres from diverse composers will be studied and performed in a variety of performance opportunities.

  • Middle School: Advanced Choir

    This course focuses on singing in a collaborative group context. Teamwork, engaged participation, and positive attitude are emphasized in addition to learning proper vocal technique.

  • Middle School: Advanced 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: Intro to Band

    This is your opportunity to learn to play the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, or percussion! We play all styles of music from classical to pop, movie music, student compositions, and more. Students who do not have an instrument will have one provided. Welcome to the Band Family!

  • Middle School: Intro to Orchestra

    This is your chance to learn the violin, viola, cello, or bass! Orchestra starts in 6th grade and continues through 12th grade, playing everything from classical to rock to film music. We play gigs, busk, and team up with band, theatre, and dance for fun performances.

  • Middle School: Intro to Strings

    This is your opportunity to learn to play the violin, viola, cello, or double bass! We play instruments used in all styles of music from classical to pops, movie music, fiddle. Instruments are provided for everyone in the class.

  • 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: 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.

Performance Calendar