High School
Departments & Courses, In Brief

High School Courses

Music

The High School Music program offers a range of courses in performance, creation and academic study of music. Students can select offerings ranging from conducted and self-directed music ensembles, courses in history, theory and composition, and a Capstone Project for seniors. The music faculty wants to create a welcoming place by collaborating closely with students to develop their unique musical interests and abilities across a range of genres. Our aim is to motivate and encourage students to become performers, listeners, and creators who find personal ways of integrating music into their lives.
  • In addition to performance opportunities at school, our courses are enhanced by:
  • All enrolled music students are given access to instruments
  • Guest artists will perform for and coach our musicians
  • Opportunities for performance and adjudication festivals outside of school
  • Field trips to hear performances at Lincoln Center and other local venues
  • Commissioned works by guest composers
  • Orchestra

    The Dalton Orchestra is open to string players. Drawing upon the core classical repertoire for strings, we perform a diverse repertoire representing many styles and eras. Special attention is paid to the development of historically informed 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, assemblies and special events each year. Prominent guest artists and Dalton instrumental specialists offer coaching and sectional rehearsals. 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.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits    
  • Orchestra

    The Dalton Orchestra is open to string players by consultation with the instructor. Drawing upon the core classical repertoire for strings, students strive to perform a diverse repertoire representing many styles and eras. 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.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
  • 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 music 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.

    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
  • Jazz: Crescent

    This course examines 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.
     
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits

    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.
     
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits

    Requires Preapproval
  • Jazz: Ensemble Clave

    This group will explore and perform music in the Afro- Latin and Brazilian jazz tradition.  Students 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.
     
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits

    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.
     
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits

    Requires Preapproval
  • 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 specific musical skills such as blend, ensemble, intonation and rhythm through applicable repertoire designed for the specific make-up of the ensemble. Repertoire is grounded in the 19th and 20th century British tradition of wind band choices, but includes explorations based in the diverse cultural diaspora of the tradition including American, African and Turkish repertoire, 21st Century New Music and original student compositions, film and theatre music. As performance opportunities arise, the Wind Ensemble may present in small group settings and in combination with string, vocal and/or jazz ensembles as a larger group. Individual progress and collaborative group work are the primary basis for assessment, based on weekly work in class and responsible performance preparation.
    Prerequisite: experience on a wind instrument
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
  • 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.

    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
  • 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. 

    Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
  • IS: Music

    Independent studies are opportunities for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to pursue ideas and passions not covered by current course work.  

    Students must complete this form to apply for preapproval.

    Requires Preapproval
    Graded Pass/Fail
    Fall or Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
  • Dalton Chorus

    The Dalton Chorus gives students the opportunity to develop a passion for music through the craft of singing, musicianship and performance skills. Students cultivate and stretch their abilities and knowledge in every area of the curriculum-including vocal technique, music reading, part singing, improvisation, aesthetics, expression and ensemble skills. Varied repertoire, including classical, world music, jazz, Broadway and pop, is performed throughout the year.

    Prerequisite: None
    Fall or Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
  • Dalton Chorus

    The Dalton Chorus gives students the opportunity to develop a passion for music through the craft of singing, musicianship and performance skills. Students cultivate and stretch their abilities and knowledge in every area of the curriculum-including vocal technique, music reading, part singing, improvisation, aesthetics, expression and ensemble skills. Varied repertoire- that includes classical, world music, jazz, Broadway and pop- is performed throughout the year.

    Prerequisite:  None


    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
  • Jazz: Crescent

    This  course examines 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.
     
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits

    Requires Preapproval
  • Music Capstone

    The Music Capstone is an opportunity for seniors who have shown a dedication to musical study and who wish to develop a unique project that reflects their interests as musician-scholars. The Capstone is designed to be flexible to allow various entry points from musical fields including performance, composition, history, theory, ethnomusicology, popular music, education, cultural studies, sound studies and technology/ production, as well as interdisciplinary projects that significantly overlap with musical practices. Throughout the term, students will attend seminars to discuss representative research in musical fields as well as have significant time to work on and present their own research. Students will develop a two-part project over the course of the Fall term with connected Creative and Research components, culminating in a public presentation of their work.

    Fall Semester, 0.50 credits
    Prerequisites: Seniors only, requires Departmental Approval via application process

    Requires Preapproval
  • Music Composition Workshop

    The goal of Composition Workshop is to unlock each composer’s musical imagination. Students explore the architecture of music and develop a transferable music vocabulary through experiential activities. Multiple tools are utilized—from pencil and paper to midi-keyboard, sequencers, and music writing programs—alongside multi-media elements where possible. Free/low-cost tools, inclusive software, and/or accessible instruments are emphasized.
     
    Historical and cultural context (including non-traditional and/or non-western viewpoints) and the elements of music (rhythm, melody, form, texture, harmony, dynamics and articulation) are explored and developed through a mixture of individual and collaborative projects. Clarity of expression is emphasized, and various forms of musical literacy are explored.
     
    Students should be prepared to share work in a “workshop” setting, and to give and accept input from peers. Process, rather than product, is emphasized. Whether you are, or aspire to be, a songwriter, beatmaker, poet or symphonic composer, Composition Workshop is an opportunity to stretch boundaries, expand skill sets and develop a relationship to your muse.

    Prerequisite:  None
    Semester Course, 0.50 credits
  • Music Composition Workshop

    The goal of Composition Workshop is to unlock each composer’s musical imagination. Students explore the architecture of music and develop a transferable music vocabulary through experiential activities. Multiple tools are utilized—from pencil and paper to midi-keyboard, sequencers, and music writing programs—alongside multi-media elements where possible. Free/low-cost tools, inclusive software, and/or accessible instruments are emphasized.
     
    Historical and cultural context (including non-traditional and/or non-western viewpoints) and the elements of music (rhythm, melody, form, texture, harmony, dynamics and articulation) are explored and developed through a mixture of individual and collaborative projects. Clarity of expression is emphasized, and various forms of musical literacy are explored.
     
    Students should be prepared to share work in a “workshop” setting, and to give and accept input from peers. Process, rather than product, is emphasized. Whether you are, or aspire to be, a songwriter, beatmaker, poet or symphonic composer, Composition Workshop is an opportunity to stretch boundaries, expand skill sets and develop a relationship to your muse.

    Prerequisite:  None
    Fall Semester Course, 0.25 credits
  • Music Performance Workshop

    This class provides students a space to explore a broad range of music-making in small unconducted groups. Students of any instrument/voice and skill will be placed in groups to learn, rehearse, and discuss music along with regular coaching by a music department faculty member. Pre-formed small groups can sign up together by speaking to a department chair prior to registration, or students can register independently. Student interest and experience will dictate the repertoire from a variety of styles including classical, pop, rock, R&B/hip-hop, singer/songwriters, and other genres. Students are encouraged to participate in public performance opportunities throughout the year.

    Prerequisite: None (students wanting to work together need preapproval)
    Fall/Spring semester course, 0.25 credits, can enroll multiple times
  • Music Technology

    An introduction to music technology software and hardware, focused on seminars and workshops addressing basic acoustics, digital audio, MIDI, and MIDI sequencing and notation software. Lab activities will place an emphasis on the operation and components of the typical MIDI and digital audio lab (hardware and software). Students will produce projects in areas such as digital audio, music notation, and MIDI sequencing.

    Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
  • 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. 

    Semester Course, 0.25 credits, two meetings per week
  • Percussion Workshop

    Percussion Workshop is a course designed to allow students exploration of a full-range of percussive techniques, traditions and repertoire. Programming will draw on music from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Caribbean, Europe, popular music, classical music, and improvisation, with a particular focus on student-initiated projects and collaborative compositions and arrangements. Students will explore the 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 musical skills, including: fluency in reading notation; deeper sense of rhythmic, pitch, and tone production; unique applications of creativity; and communication through ensemble playing. The Percussion Workshop will perform and combine with other HS ensembles throughout the year.

    Fall or Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
  • Topics in Pop Music: Historical and Critical Analysis

    The history of popular music is a rich site for musical, cultural, and critical analysis and discussion. Pop music is a collaborative form that is easily accessible, omnipresent in contemporary culture, and reflects changing societal tastes and technologies. This class will serve as a survey introduction into a historical study of pop music while also responding to current events in the pop music landscape.

    Materials will be drawn from recordings, books, articles, liner notes, podcasts, various reporting formats, and music videos based on student interests and current events. Students will be strongly encouraged to make connections with other areas of study and approach their work in an interdisciplinary mode. As a culminating project, students will generate a researched and annotated playlist to draw connections among songs, artists, styles, geographies and topics. 

    Spring Semester, 0.25 credits

Faculty

  • Photo of Elizabeth Cruz
    Elizabeth Cruz
    Music Department Co-Chair and Music Teacher
    Syracuse University - B.A.
    Columbia University - M.S.
  • Photo of William Solomon
    William Solomon
    Music Department Co-Chair and Middle/High School Percussion Teacher
    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
  • Photo of Jordan Brown
    Jordan Brown
    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    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
    West Chester University, PA - B.S.
    Manhattan School of Music - M.M.
  • Photo of David Morgan
    David Morgan
    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    Manhattan School of Music - B.M.
  • Photo of Ya-Chin Pan
    Ya-Chin Pan
    Upper Strings Music Teacher
    Cleveland Institute of Music - B.M.
    Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University - M.M.
(Grades K-3) 53 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5463
General: info@dalton.org | Admissions: fpadmissions@dalton.org

(Gr. 4 Dalton East & PE Center) 200 East 87th Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5262
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(Grade 5-12) 108 East 89th Street
New York, NY 10128
General: (212) 423-5200 | Admissions: (212) 423-5262
General: info@dalton.org | Admissions: admissionsmshs@dalton.org