Music is truly an international language. Dwight School’s goal for music education is to establish a strong foundation that allows students to carry music through the rest of their lives, either as dedicated performers or as enthusiastic audience members.
Preschool & Kindergarten
As with the visual arts, music education begins with fundamental building blocks in Preschool and Kindergarten. Students are exposed to a variety of instruments, rhythms, and songs in the music classroom, where they discover that music is a language. Kindergarteners start learning how to sight-read, as well as how to improvise and begin expressing themselves confidently through movement with music.
In Lower School, musical activities continue to connect with IB transdisciplinary themes and units of inquiry. Through that prism, students start to learn basic principles of music notation, sight-singing, and two- and three-part harmonies. They explore and play a variety of world and classical instruments, and perform in solo and ensemble settings. So, too, do they learn how to work collaboratively while using various music technologies, as they express their own ideas based on musical genres, styles, and history.
Students’ talents and confidence develop further through a range of personalized learning and performance opportunities, including an annual concert at Symphony Space. Every two years, Lower School students also have the exceptional opportunity to perform alongside older students from across Dwight’s global campuses at Carnegie Hall.
As they enter Middle School, students continue to expand their knowledge and skills in music theory, develop ear-training skills, learn about the form and structure of music, and organize their own groups to compose and perform original pieces. Working with electronic instruments and digital music software programs, students have a rich palette of creative tools to practice their instrumental and vocal skills, record in our state-of-the-art recording studio, and collaborate with others in curricular and extracurricular music and theater programs.
In Upper School, students study advanced music theory, including tonal and chromatic harmony, four-part voice writing, and rhythmic analysis. They also hone advanced skills in traditional and digital composition, using multiple software programs to create performance-ready music in a variety of styles and formats. Units throughout Upper School music include a focus on reading and analyzing scores, creating music for film and television, and further developing instrumental and/or vocal skills. Additionally, students deepen their understanding of non-Western musical cultures and traditions, and perform in solo and group recitals.
The full breadth of music learning activities at Dwight include:
- Playing instruments
- Music technology
- Music appreciation
- Music history
- Film scoring
- Bi-annual Carnegie Hall performance
- Annual Lower School performance at Symphony Space
- Dwight Conservatory after-school lessons
- Upper and Middle School Choruses; Honors Choir
- Lower School after-school music programs including our very popular Junior Orchestra and Concert Choir
- Intermediate and Advanced Jazz Bands
- Winter and Spring Music Recitals
- Field trips to New York City cultural institutions
- Assemblies with presentations of different orchestral families done by well-known orchestral musicians
- Our annual Lower School community outreach musical performance at the Goddard Community Center