Preparing Boys for Life.

Music Program

The Music Department at Haverford provides a wealth of experiences in active music making from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Students sing, dance, play percussion instruments, study guitar, use equipment on the cutting edge of music technology to orchestrate, arrange, compose music, and study the works of the master composers. They perform in orchestras, choirs, and select vocal and instrumental ensembles. As practicing musicians and music educators who are dedicated to bringing out the best in each boy, we strive to share our love of our art.

Did You Know?

Studies report a high correlation between students' improvement in mathematics and reading skills and their participation in music classes taught according to the Kodaly Concept of music education. This sequential program has been in place at The Haverford School for more than 25 years.

Lower School

Pre-kindergarten

Boys learn the fundamentals of musicianship:

  • Understanding a steady beat
  • Playing and reading rhythm patterns
  • Developing a clear pitch and proper singing voice

Boys are actively engaged throughout the music lessons through singing, listening, moving creatively, and playing musical instruments.

Kindergarten

In kindergarten music, boys learn the fundamentals of musicianship:

  • Understanding a steady beat
  • Playing and reading rhythm patterns
  • Developing a clear pitch and proper singing voice

Each student is given the opportunity to learn the basics playing the violin, helping to stimulate parts of the brain responsible for reading and writing. Boys are actively engaged throughout the music lessons through singing, listening, moving creatively, and playing musical instruments.

First Grade

The Haverford School uses the Kódaly approach to teach boys to read basic melodic and rhythmic notation through a rich variety of authentic folk music from America and around the world. Boys are actively engaged throughout the music lessons through singing, listening, moving creatively, and playing musical instruments. Foundational music elements are stressed in each lesson:

  • Understanding a steady beat
  • Playing and reading rhythm patterns
  • Developing a clear pitch and proper singing voice

Second Grade

Every second grade boy participates in The Coro Primo which is our youngest choir in the School. Boys may also elect to participate in beginning string ensembles.

Third Grade

The recorder is introduced in third grade, and all boys sing in the Treble Choir, where they learn to blend harmonies.

Fourth Grade

Boys continue their study of reading music and performing in the Treble Choir. In fourth grade, boys may elect to receive a year of study on a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Ensemble opportunities include Treble Choir, Fantastic Fords, String Ensemble, and Chime Choir.

Fifth Grade

In fifth grade music, ear training and theory are emphasized utilizing technology. Ensemble opportunities include Centennial Singers, Celebrantes, Fantastic Fords Band, String Ensemble, and Chime Choir.

Middle School

Sixth Grade

Building on the Lower School music program, 6th grade students learn musical literacy and artistry through active participation in music making. The boys explore a variety of Classical music genres through the study of musical form ranging from the symphonies of Beethoven and Haydn to Menotti’s opera for children, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Working with Garage Band, the boys learn the basics of multi-track recording by creating a podcast on a Classical composer.

In addition, all middle school boys are encouraged to join our performing ensembles: The Fantastic Fords Concert Band, The Haverford School Orchestra, Centennial Singers and Celebrantes.

Seventh Grade

Seventh grade students refine music literacy skills through the study of guitar. Repertoire is selected from folk, classical and popular genres. Students learn to read a guitar chord chart, and to accompany folk and rock songs using a variety of major and minor chords. In class, culture and diversity are discussed through the exploration of the birth of Rock and Roll as well as study of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Students also travel to the Kimmel Center to experience a live performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In addition, all middle school boys are encouraged to join our performing ensembles: The Fantastic Fords Concert Band, The Haverford School Orchestra, Centennial Singers and Celebrantes.

Eighth Grade

Eighth grade music is the culmination of the Middle School curriculum. In small groups, students utilize the music literacy and performance skills gained over the previous two years to compose their own songs and prepare them for a final performance in front of their peers. Students write lyrics, choose chord progressions and strumming patterns, and compose melodies. Both singing and guitar playing are requirements for the songs, but students may also incorporate instruments on which they have achieved proficiency through private study – such as piano, electric bass or drums. During this time, study of music theory and history proceed through class guitar and group presentations.

In addition, all middle school boys are encouraged to join our performing ensembles: The Fantastic Fords Concert Band, The Haverford School Orchestra, Centennial Singers and Celebrantes.

Upper School

Music Theory and Guitar

This is a yearlong introductory level course to understanding, reading, writing and creating music. It is intended for students who want to pursue their passion for music but need help building a strong foundation of musical skills, concepts, and language. This course will function as a prerequisite for other higher-level music classes unless a firm grasp of the concepts and skills is demonstrated to the teacher. Students will be expected to begin their mastery of basic to intermediate rhythms in various time signatures, including rhythmic markings; note identification in multiple clefs in every key signature including ledger lines. Intervals, scales, triads and seventh chords will be introduced both visually and aurally as well as popular song structures/forms, allowing for both analysis and composition of songs. In order to reinforce these concepts, students will be signing, playing the guitar, using MIDI keyboards, percussion and using digital compositional tools such as Garage Band and Logic Pro.

Advanced Music Theory and Music History*

This is a yearlong honors level course intended for the most musically proficient and inquisitive students. This is a two-pronged course in which we will cover collegiate level theoretical topics that are applicable to all styles of music. These skills will be reinforced through an intense study of music history. We will start in the medieval era and watch and listen to how music evolves throughout time up to the current hits that are listened to today. As we listen to Gregorian chant we will find a better understanding of melody. The polyphony of the Renaissance will inform our understanding of chord progressions, while the Baroque era will be better understood though counterpoint exercises. While our understanding and appreciation of music deepens through our study of classical music, it culminates in applying all of these concepts to modern music. We will analyze what it is that makes music affect us the way it does and learn how to manipulate sound the same way musicians have throughout history.

Advanced Guitar and Bass Guitar

This is a yearlong course for all of the aspiring guitarists/electric bassists. It will teach the necessary techniques to allow students to learn and play intermediate to advanced repertoire in groups and as individuals. Some of the skills that will be covered are scales and modes in multiple octaves and fingering positions; chords in multiple positions across the fret board; fingerpicking exercises designed to increase speed, control, dexterity, and musicality; and applying learned skills to repertoire from a diverse array of musical genres.

Music Production and Recording

This course is for students interested in creating and recording music. This course will focus on digital music production and the art of recording music. Students will learn how to use a soundboard to mix music, how to use MIDI instruments and digital instruments to enhance their compositions, how to use music software to create their own compositions, how to set up microphones to record voices and/or instruments, and how to produce a finished product such as a digital album. Students will learn the basics of how to use the relevant technology and then put their compositional skills to the test.

Traditional and Digital Songwriting

This course is designed to help students compose their own music. A brief study of some modern compositions will inform us, but the bulk of the course will be the art of writing your own songs. Students will learn how to compose using digital and traditional methods, but in the end will have significant authority in deciding what kind of music they are interested in writing. Students will learn the art of writing a good melody, the art of writing effective harmonies, understanding the texture, layering of multiple parts in music, analyzing the components of compositions from various genres, the technological aspect of using digital software to compose music including both music production software such as Garage Band or Logic and music notation software such as Finale and the art of lyric writing or being a librettist.

Glee Club

Students learn the technical aspects of good signing, including breath control, formation of vowel shapes and vocal tone, proper diction in a variety of languages, range extension and agility. Students study repertoire from a variety of genres, from classical to folk to jazz and modern. They perform a capella music as well as music accompanied by piano and orchestra. Through their rehearsal and performances, students learn a valuable skill that can be used as a form of self-expression as well as a powerful form of communication. As the music is being rehearsed daily, various compositional techniques and elements of form are pointed out. Glee Club members participate in service learning through outreach performances. This chorus performs at 4 major concerts each year, at Haverford, in New York City, and in our community. The Glee Club joins forces with area girls' schools and with Haverford's boychoir to perform works such as Vivaldi's Gloria, Handel's Messiah, and Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert Masses. Glee Club is a graded course that meets three times a week before school.

Orchestra

Orchestra is an auditioned ensemble. Students must demonstrate satisfactory ability on their principal instrument to participate, as determined by the director. Students learn to phrase artistically, and develop techniques of articulation, expanded dynamic range, and stylistic interpretation through performance of a range of repertoire covering multiple styles and genres. Orchestra members develop ensemble skills such as leading, critical listening, and collaboration. In addition, students refine technical skills on their given instruments. The Orchestra performs during the annual Haverford School performances. Orchestra is a graded course that meets three times a week before school.

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