A robust and meaningful music program that serves students of a wide range of skill, interests, and ages is central to the mission and philosophy of Highland School. Students from Pre-K to Grade 12 are actively engaged in learning about, creating, and performing music and take full advantage of the rehearsal and performance facilities in our Center for the Arts.
Music in the Lower School
The Lower School music program encourages children to grow in their understanding, appreciation, and love of music by giving them the tools to express themselves musically in meaningful and enjoyable ways. Highland's curriculum presents concepts and skills in a logical and developmentally appropriate way. Children sing, play Orff instruments, experiment with music and patterns, and participate in performances for family, faculty, and classmates.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students take music twice a week with a focus on singing and performing. In assemblies, all school gatherings, and at special events, our youngest students are performing in front of an audience. As students progress through the Lower School, our students are introduced to elements of musical theory and vocabulary with an increased focus on singing with attention to intonation, tone quality, and good diction.
Informal music education through class plays
In addition to our formal music program, classroom teachers incorporate song and music into class plays, assemblies, and events. In twice-weekly music classes, Lower School students are introduced to elements of musical theory and vocabulary with an increased focus on singing with attention to intonation, tone quality, and good diction. Students practice and perform instruments including recorder, Orff instruments and have the option of learning violin or cello as part of our elective strings program.
Middle School music program
The Middle School Music curriculum builds on the concepts and skills established in the Lower School. Music theory and history are incorporated into each grade's music class. From fifth through eighth grades, each class performs as a chorus at school events and assemblies throughout the year. In addition to required music classes, students in seventh and eighth grades may audition for an elective chorus and an annual Middle School musical theater production.
Music programs in the Upper School
Students in Highland's Upper School have a range of opportunities to explore, study, and perform. Through our elective guitar, jazz, and a capella choral classes, students interested in music can explore, and broaden their musical potential. Under the direction of our dedicated music faculty, and with formal and informal opportunities to practice, rehearse, and perform in a supportive and safe environment. "As a result of this atmosphere, our students are willing to try new things. Our teachers encourage them to go beyond their comfort zones. There are truly no barriers–either artificial or real."
"Kids gravitate to The Michael A. Hughes Center for the Arts generally and our music department specifically," says Highland's Artistic Director Michael Hughes. "They feel safe here because we've worked hard to create a very supportive environment."
Spring musical offers students a top-quality experience
Students in ninth through twelfth grades may also audition for our annual Spring musical. With rehearsals and performances in The Rice Theater in the Highland Center for the Arts, our students can enjoy a professional-quality experience as part of a high-quality production that is supported by the entire Highland community.
"Students come back and talk about the experiences they had in our musicals and music department and how meaningful the involvement was for them. More well-rounded and a level of confidence," Mr. Hughes recounts. " By overcoming a challenge, these students realize they can do it and that confidence carries forth into other endeavors. They don’t forget their experiences, they don’t forget the roles they’ve had. It’s real and meaningful."