High School Courses

Music

The High School Music program brings the joy of collaborative music making into Dalton students daily lives.  Students can select from a broad scope of yearlong course offerings ranging from large performing groups to small chamber music ensembles.  Independent projects also are possible in performance courses and in theory and composition. 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 create, motivate, and encourage our students to become life-long performers and/or listeners.  Students are encouraged to write their own arrangements.
 
In addition to concerts at the Dalton School, our courses are enhanced by: 
  • Master classes with guest artists who visit Dalton to perform for and coach our musicians
  • Trips to Lincoln Center performances
  • Frequent participation (by audition) in Chamber Music competitions
  • Chorus performing tour of Europe every two years and yearly performance in the Interschool HS  Choral festival
  • Independent school Jazz Festival participation
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. 
  • Chamber Jazz

    This group meets two times a cycle and performs jazz standards and original compositions in a small group setting. The group appears at various events throughout the year and performs at fall and spring concerts.
     
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • Chamber Music II

    A performance class for advanced players, student 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).
     
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.25 credit 
  • Chant: The Power of Sound

    An experiential inquiry into the universal practice of vocal chanting and its applications for health and well being. Chanting practice, like meditation, has historically been associated with religion. But science and psychology have recently revealed measurable benefits, and this has secularized both practices. Sustained vocal vibration has been shown to oxygenate cells, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase lymphatic circulation, increases levels of melatonin, reduces stress hormones, and release endorphins. Students will begin each class period with an extensive physical warm up (primarily Yoga) to prepare the “instrument,” followed by chanting drawn from diverse cultural lineages. They will investigate the “why” of chanting's benefits by learning about concepts such as resonance, entrainment, and [ https://www.ted.com/talks/evan_grant_cymatics ]cymatics, and explore how chanting practice might apply to their daily lives. This is not a singing class, per se, in that it doesn't focus on personal expression. However, the vocal freedom inherent in the work is nevertheless complementary to singing practice of all kinds.

    Prerequisite: An open mind and willingness to make vocal sounds.
    Fall/Spring Semester Course, 0.25 credits, two meetings per week
  • Chorus: Circa

    Dalton’s Choral Classes are an opportunity to awaken and develop musical passion through engaging 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.

    This course is a female a cappella 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
  • Chorus: The DaltonKnights

    Dalton’s Choral Classes are an opportunity to awaken and develop musical passion through engaging 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.

    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
  • Jazz Combo

    This group meets two times a cycle, performing a variety of repertoire, including original material. The group appears at various events throughout the year and performs at fall and spring concerts.
     
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.50 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • 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
    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
    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.

    Full year, two meetings per week.
    Requires Preapproval
  • 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 Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Falla, Hindemith, and Arvo Pärt.
     
    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 invitation of the conductor.
    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, 1.0 credit
    Requires Preapproval
  • Percussion Ensemble

    This performance course is offered to students with a background in playing standard percussion instruments. Students must also be able to read rhythmic notation at the high school level and have a working knowledge of the keyboard to play the mallet parts (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, etc.) Students with a strong piano background and/or drumset experience are particularly encouraged to enroll. The ensemble performs two times per year along with the HS Orchestra, and for assemblies and other venues.
     
    Prerequisite: Reading rhythmic notation, and permission of instructor
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
    Requires Preapproval
  • Small Jazz Group

    This ensemble meets two times a cycle, performing standards and original compositions while developing ensemble interplay. The group appears at various events throughout the year and performs at fall and spring concerts.
     
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    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.

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
    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 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
    Requires Preapproval

Faculty

  • Chris Landriau

    Middle and High School Music Department Chair & K -12 Music Curriculum Coordinator
    (212) 423-5214
    Empire State College - B.A.
    Oberlin Conservatory
  • 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
  • Amy Gardner

    Music Teacher
  • Glenn Makos

    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    (212) 423-5217
    West Chester University, PA - B.S.
    Manhattan School of Music - M.M.
  • David Morgan

    Middle and High School Music Teacher
    (212) 423-5428
    Manhattan School of Music - B.M.
  • William Solomon

    MS/HS Music 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