A robust co-curricular choral and instrumental music program and the Middle School play provide further opportunities for so-inclined boys to augment their musical and dramatic skills and experiences. On-site instrumental instruction, taught by a staff of professional tutors, is offered in all wind band and percussion instruments. Guitar lessons are also available. Fenn offers a thriving performance ensemble roster which includes the Treble Chorus boys’ choir, an a cappella vocal ensemble, First Year Band, Second Year Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, and the Jazz Ensemble. When there is sufficient interest, small ensembles such at String Ensemble, Chamber Music, Saxophone Ensemble, and Brass Ensemble are offered.
Lower School Music
The Lower School music program includes opportunities for singing, playing, listening, critiquing, and performing. In addition to curricular classes, many Lower School boys elect to participate in co curricular opportunities such as the Treble Chorus, Beginning Band and Intermediate Band, and an instrumental lesson program.
In fourth grade, students actively participate in a wide variety of musical experiences. Emphasis is placed on developing proper vocal technique, basic note reading, and keyboard playing. Games promote critical listening and strong note reading skills. Discussions and listening lessons chosen from the works of classical, popular, and non-Western musicians prepare students to apply basic musical terminology and theory to effectively critique and describe music. Music history components focus on the Baroque and Classical eras and representative composers, and non-western music is also introduced. Students prepare for and participate in a final evening choral performance at the end of the semester, either in December of May.
The fifth-grade music program utilizes a variety of classical, popular, folk, and non-Western music to build upon skills and knowledge acquired in the fourth-grade. Vocal technique, music reading, listening skills, and critique are reinforced. Boys sing in two- and sometimes three-part harmony. Continued keyboard instruction allows boys to play simple melodies, learn basic chords, and participate in ensemble playing. Music history elements focus on the Baroque and Romantic eras and representative composers. Performance continues to be an important goal of the fifth-grade program. Students participate in an end-of-term evening choral concert in december or May.
Middle School Music
Sixth grade music students build upon skills and knowledge acquired in the Lower School program. Composition and music analysis becomes the focus in the Middle School. Note reading skills and principles of form, unity, contrast, and texture are applied through musical composition. Boys create several pieces, both collaboratively and individually, using Sibelius and Garage Band computer software. Boys present these original compositions in class and critique one another’s works, applying proper musical terminology.
The seventh grade music curriculum gives a broad survey of Western music history and emphasizes composition. Students study music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance with a focus on chant, the origins of modern notation, and the evolution of harmony. Boys also study aspects of the Classical and Romantic era, including representative composers and works. The term ends with an exploration of the Jazz Age, with an emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance, women composers, and African-American musicians. Several composition assignments utilizing Sibelius and Garage Band computer software correlate with the historical eras studied in the music curriculum, and boys work individually and collaboratively to compose and critique original pieces.
In addition to the curricular music program, boys may elect to enroll in The Fenn Band, The Fenn Marching Band, jazz ensemble, string ensemble, an a cappella ensemble, and on-campus lessons in wind band instruments, percussion, and guitar.
Upper School Music
The Upper School program presents opportunities for composition, instrumental music, and vocal music. Offerings are designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests, abilities, and confidence levels. Admittance into classes is not by audition, but a willingness to take risks and a commitment to improve one’s skills is expected.Music offerings vary by term, but include Composition, Steel Drums, Rhythm Ensemble, Dance, Introduction to Guitar, and the winter musical (performed in conjunction with Nashoba-Brooks School and the Fenn Drama Program). In addition to the curricular music program, boys may elect to enroll in The Fenn Band, The Fenn Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Ensemble, an a cappella ensemble, and on-campus lessons in wind band instruments, percussion, and guitar.