Music is an important part of the York Country Day School experience.
Preschool and Lower School
Students begin music in preschool, and continue classroom music and chorus throughout lower school. Music classes strive to build a solid understanding of musical notation, progressing from symbolic notation to standard notation by the third grade. This provides the foundation for the instrumental music program in the fourth grade, where students have the opportunity to begin lessons on band and orchestra instruments.
Lower School students participate in two concerts a year, performing on Orff instruments, hand chimes, and recorders as well as in Lower School Band and chorus.
Middle school students take music class and chorus each year. Music classes continue to build music theory skills, with increased emphasis on sight-reading rhythms and intervals. Students apply their knowledge through performance on recorders, keyboards, and Orff instruments. Chorus and instrumental ensembles perform on the holiday and spring concerts, middle school closing, and occasionally at other events throughout the year.
Middle School Instrumental Ensemble is open to all students. The group varies its repertoire according to instrumentation and utilizes custom arrangements to highlight student musicians. Students perform music in many different styles, including jazz, Celtic, classical and rock. Ensemble skills, intonation, dynamics and rhythmic accuracy are emphasized.
Middle School Chorus marks the first formal step into part singing for sixth through eighth graders. Students are introduced to many aspects of positive choral singing, including breathing techniques, proper posture, dynamics, and balance. Singers gain experience in reading octavos, following a conductor, and grasping melodic and harmonic contour for performance.
Music class, chorus and instrumental ensembles continue in the Upper School, and the program is expanded to include music seminar and independent music magnets.
The Upper School Instrumental Ensemble performs music in many different styles, including classical, jazz, swing, blues, rock and Celtic. Students continue to improve ensemble skills and technical proficiency, tackling increasingly difficult music. Custom compositions and arrangements are featured, and students begin to participate in the composition process.
The Upper School Chorus utilizes a vast repertoire of music to create a successful choral experience for ninth through twelfth graders. The Chorus enhances and trains vocalists in order to utilize solo situations both in Chorus and in Upper School musical productions. Singers work dynamics, expression, and explore performance techniques for advanced choral music. The development of strong musical and personal relationships that will further performers in both Upper School and future endeavors is emphasized.
Music classes continue to focus on music theory while incorporating keyboard skills, composition and songwriting. Students begin to learn about tertiary harmony and musical form. Through listening to various styles of music, students learn about the composers, performers and the musical qualities that make them unique.
The magnet program provides students with scheduled time during the day for in-depth exploration of a topic of interest. Past magnet seminars have produced a hand chime choir, a “junk percussion” collaboration, and a rock concert to benefit Olivia’s House of York, PA. Recent independent magnets include a concert featuring original compositions, a presentation and performance of Romantic music, and a study of the female middle voice which culminated in recitals of art songs and musical theatre pieces. Chorus and instrumental ensemble perform several times throughout the year, at school concerts and events, as well as events in the community.