High School Courses

Music

The High School Music program offers the joy of collaborative music making. Students can select from a broad scope of yearlong course offerings ranging from large performing groups to small chamber music ensembles, to Music Theory.  Independent projects also are possible. The music faculty works closely with students to help them find a niche in the program that best suits their interests and abilities. Our aim is to motivate and encourage students to become life-long performers, listeners, or creators.  

In addition to performance opportunities at school, our courses are enhanced by:  
  • Master classes with visiting guest artists who perform for and coach our musicians.
  • Annual participation in the Independent School Music Association Honors Band Jazz and Symphonic Winds Honors Band festivals, and the Inter-school Choral Festival
  • Field trips to hear performances  at Lincoln Center and other N.Y. venues.
  • Commissioned works by guest composers.
Music courses are full-year courses that receive credit in the form of letter grades, meet during the school day, and may not be dropped at midyear.
 
  • Orchestra

    The Dalton Orchestra is open to string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students by audition, and performs works for full orchestra from the standard orchestral repertoire. Special attention is paid to the development of historically appropriate playing styles for music of the baroque, classic, romantic, and contemporary eras.  Recent performances have included works by Bach, Haydn, Sibelius, Telemann, Bizet, and contemporary works by guest composers..

    The orchestra performs several concerts each year and in assemblies and special events. Prominent guest artists and Dalton instrumental specialists offer coaching and sectional rehearsals. Exceptional student members may be invited to perform as soloists by audition.

    Prospective orchestra students should contact the instructor for a placement interview to assess proficiency playing several major scales, a short sight reading selection, and a short solo of their choice.

    Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • Percussion Ensemble

    Percussion Ensemble is a course designed to allow students exploration of a full-range of percussive techniques, traditions and repertoire. Programming will draw on musics from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Caribbean, Europe, popular music, classical music, and improvisation, with a particular focus on student-initiated projects. Students will explore historical and cultural context of music that is studied, and are encouraged to approach music as an object of academic study and appreciation alongside performance. Students will continue in their development of important musical skills, including: fluency in notation reading; deeper senses of rhythmic, pitch, and tone production; unique applications of creativity; and communication through ensemble playing. The Percussion Ensemble will perform twice a year and combine with other HS ensembles throughout the year.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits, approval required
  • Jazz: Crescent

    Parkhurst-type course examining standard jazz repertoire as a source to inspire students to compose and perform their own compositions for instrumentalists in the group. Basic jazz theory, music notation, instrument ranges and transpositions, and score and part preparation will be addressed as part of the composition process. Students will also learn how to rehearse their pieces in preparation for a performance. Activities include ensemble playing, improvisation, and presenting performances.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits, approval required
    Requires Preapproval
     
  • Jazz: Ensemble Clave

    This group will explore and perform music in the Afro- Latin and Brazilian jazz tradition. We will explore the son clave and Brazilian rhythms as they relate to repertoire. Social and cultural influences affecting performance practice will also be covered. Activities include ensemble playing, improvisation, and presenting performances.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits, approval required
    Requires Preapproval
     
  • The Jazz Collective

    Exploring and performing a wide variety of styles, from bebop and beyond. This may include modal, post- bop, jazz- rock, and free jazz periods. Reimagining past and/or present music by living composers will also be within the scope of prepared music. Activities include ensemble playing, improvisation, and presenting performances.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits, approval required
    Requires Preapproval
  • Chamber Music I

    Coached by the instructor, meets twice a week and is open to students currently studying the violin, viola, cello or bass who are eager to play in a small ensemble.  In a relaxed collegial setting, students experience the thrill of collaborative music making as they explore pieces from the chamber music repertoire and develop their sight-reading and technical skills.  Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of sharing/performance opportunities (including the possibility of participating in Chamber Music Concerts) throughout the year.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
  • Chamber Music II

    A performance class for advanced players, students are placed in ensembles such as trios or quartets that meet with an instructor once a week. Ensembles perform in a winter and spring concert. (Please note: Placement in Chamber Music II is contingent upon finding a common rehearsal time with other players).

    Requires Preapproval
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.25 credit
  • Wind Ensemble

    This group is comprised of mixed wind instrumentalists and meets twice a week. The group functions as a “studio class” in that we develop skills through repertoire.  The Wind Ensemble concertizes in small group settings and in combination with string and jazz ensembles as a larger group.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits, approval required
    Requires Preapproval
  • Chorus: The DaltonKnights

    Dalton’s Choral Classes are an opportunity to awaken and develop musical passion through the crafts of singing, musicianship and performance skills. Students stretch their abilities and knowledge in every area of the curriculum—including vocal technique, music reading, part-singing, improvisation, aesthetics, and ensemble skills—through applying physical, intellectual, and emotional energy to personal and group challenges.

    3606 Chorus: The DaltonKnights
    This course explores the musical and social possibilities of male ensemble singing. Students learn about the relationship between craft and personal expression as they cultivate fundamental musical skills, including vocal production, tuning, improvisation, and reading. The rehearsal environment is fun and fraternal, and repertoire is drawn from worldwide traditions such as South African, Georgian, European Classical, and American Pop. The DaltonKnights rehearse twice a week and perform several times a year.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • Chorus: Circa

    Dalton’s Choral Classes are an opportunity to awaken and develop musical passion through the crafts of singing, musicianship and performance skills. Students stretch their abilities and knowledge in every area of the curriculum—including vocal technique, music reading, part-singing, improvisation, aesthetics, and ensemble skills—through applying physical, intellectual, and emotional energy to personal and group challenges.

    3607 Chorus: Circa
    This course is a female vocal ensemble that rehearses twice a week and performs several times a year. The environment is modeled on the 'singing circle,' historically an opportunity for women to engage socially through singing, and where the ensemble's interpersonal connection is central to the success of its sound. Repertoire is drawn from world traditions, particularly those with a strong treble-voice emphasis such as Balkan polyphony, World folk songs and American Pop.  There will also be opportunities to create original arrangements of known repertoire through harmonizing and other improvisation techniques.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • Music Theory and Practice

    A thorough survey of the foundations of musical language ("music theory") that will aid students in arranging, composing, performing, analyzing and listening to music. This class will cover clefs and note reading, intervals, chords, harmony, keys, and key relationships. Students will learn to harmonize a melody using basic voice leading rules, and learn to describe harmonies and musical language using appropriate terminology. Students will regularly complete short composition and part-writing assignments as well as brief written analyses.  Special projects will illustrate these topics using examples from existing musical literature. In addition, the Western classical tradition, jazz, and world music will be contextualized through special units with guest presenters.

    Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor
    Fall/Spring Course, 0.25 credits, two meetings per week
  • Chant: The Power of Sound

    This wellness class explores the benefits of vocal vibrations on the body, mind, and emotions. Grounded in ancient practice and supported by contemporary science, chanting and “toning” has been shown to oxegenate cells, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce stress hormones while calming the mind. Each class begins with a brief physical warm up, followed by sustained vocalizing. It is not a “singing class” per se--no musical ability or experience is needed—but the work is complementary to singing practices of all kinds in that it opens and releases the voice. Offered for PE or Music credit.

    Prerequisite: An open mind and willingness to make vocal sounds.  Open to all grades
    Eligible for PE credit or Music elective credit (but you must continue to attend even if you are in athletics)
    Fall/Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits, two meetings per week
  • Sprezzatura

    Sprezzatura is an advanced SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) singing ensemble. The repertoire focuses mostly on Renaissance Madrigals and also includes contemporary pop arrangements.~Students build upon their foundation of ensemble-singing skills (part-singing independence and applied vocal technique), notation fluency, and aesthetic curiosity (openness to exploring unknown and sometimes challenging aesthetic sensibilities/experiences). The learning process is collaborative and fast-paced, and a high standard of effort and execution is expected. Sprezzatura rehearses once a week, with an optional second lab period. Performances include participating in the seasonal choral concerts (including singing with the Combined Chorus) and other school events.

    Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor
    Fall/Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
    Requires Preapproval

Faculty

  • Photo of Chris Landriau
    Chris Landriau
    Middle and High School Music Department Chair & K -12 Music Curriculum Coordinator
    (212) 423-5214
    Empire State College - B.A.
    Oberlin Conservatory
  • Photo of Jordan Brown
    Jordan Brown
    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    (212) 423-5213
    Florida State University - M.M.
    Florida State University - B.M.
    Yale School of Music - Postgraduate studies
  • Photo of Glenn Makos
    Glenn Makos
    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    (212) 423-5217
    West Chester University, PA - B.S.
    Manhattan School of Music - M.M.
  • Jon Menges
    MS/HS Jazz/Brass Teacher
  • Photo of David Morgan
    David Morgan
    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    (212) 423-5428
    Manhattan School of Music - B.M.
  • Photo of William Solomon
    William Solomon
    Middle and High School Percussion Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3020
    Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri - B.A.
    The Hartt School, University of Hartford - M.A.
    The Hartt School, University of Hartford - Ph.D
212.423.5200 | info@dalton.org
(K-3) 53 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
(4-12) 108 East 89th Street, New York, NY 10128