As an integral part of the Lower School Specialty Program, our music curriculum aims to develop each student’s musicianship, provide hands-on experiences in music performance and theory, and nurture musical artistry through carefully selected materials and sequenced instruction. Students learn through a music education approach call Orff Schulwerk, of which our music teacher Cindy Hall is widely recognized as an expert. This approach combines singing, movement, poetry, and playing instruments. Improvisation and composition are emphasized as students work on projects which extend and develop their understanding of musical concepts.
Based on the Music Standards from the National Standards for Arts in Education, the curriculum provides students with age-appropriate skills and a conceptual understanding of composing, performing, reading and writing music, music analysis, and links music to history and culture.
After-school Chorus provides an opportunity for motivated third through fifth graders to perform a more advanced repertoire.
The orchestra program at Rowland Hall is open to all students of all ability levels, beginning to advanced.
The Lower School offers an orchestra class for students of any experience level that meets before school. Under the direction of Teresa Hicks, a member of the Utah Symphony, students learn fundamental string technique in a supportive environment and perform a variety of classical and popular repertoire at concerts throughout the year.
The Middle School orchestra classes, under the direction of Jeremy Innis, are open to students with at least one year of experience. The middle school orchestra meets throughout the year during the school day and performs classical and popular repertoire at school concerts throughout the year. The Middle School also offers an advanced chamber music class, which is open by audition to advanced string players, pianists, and other classically trained musicians. All middle school musicians are expected to enroll in private instruction outside of school.
Upper School students with experience on a stringed instrument may take the upper school orchestra class during the school day. In this class, students further their technical abilities, interpretation, and musicianship in preparation for performance beyond upper school. The ensemble competes at regional and state festivals and performs at school concerts and off-campus venues. Students also compose music for their instrument and ensemble; these student compositions are premiered at concerts and performed in collaboration with other arts classes.
At the Upper School, students experienced in reading notated music are encouraged to further their musical skills in the AP Music Theory course. The class covers the fundamentals of music theory, harmonic practice, composition, and aural skills. After completing the course, students are well prepared to take the AP Music Theory exam and to enter advanced music theory courses in their first year of college. After the exam, students complete a composition project to be performed by a student instrumentalist or ensemble at the school.
The Upper School also offers an Advanced Chamber Ensemble (ACE) class for high-level student-musicians. It gives advanced students an opportunity to play college-level repertoire. Read more about ACE in Fine Print and listen to a recording below.
Rowland Hall is known for having one of the best—if not the best—instrumental jazz performance programs among high schools in the state of Utah. Starting in the Lower School, students can sign up for beginning band, and very often stay involved through twelfth grade, skillfully honing their talents under the direction of professional musician-teacher Dr. Bret Jackson.
Middle School and Upper School jazz musicians have the opportunity to perform during multiple school concerts and at various school functions. Upon hearing one of our jazz band performances you may think you’ve enjoyed the stylings of professional musicians well beyond their teenage years.
Dr. Jackson helps his students, no matter their level of technique or years of experience, develop a better understanding of jazz through both performance and study of jazz styles and musicians. During rehearsals band members are provided the opportunity to improve their skills in reading and interpreting music notation, improvisation, and articulation of musical notes and phrases.
Rowland Hall’s choral music program is open to any student who exhibits interest in singing and developing vocal technique in choral ensembles. Under the direction of Jeremy Innis, the students study music of different periods, styles, and varying levels of difficulty. Skills such as singing with pitch accuracy, proper vocal tone, correct breathing and posture, balance and blend, diction, and proper rehearsal/performance etiquette are vital to the program.
Middle School students sing informally in their advisory groups, grade gatherings, and school wide meetings. Students are also offered a choir course during their elective period. The choir class focuses on developing good vocal and ensemble technique through performance of popular, classical, and folk music in a variety of cultural traditions. Students also have opportunity to compose songs and collaborate with other students on songwriting.
The Upper School offers students a primarily a cappella vocal ensemble called “Cantabile,” which meets as a yearlong course before school. Throughout the year, Cantabile performs in concerts, school functions such as assemblies and chapels, and off-campus events. Cantabile performs a wide range of repertoire including Renaissance, Baroque, popular music, jazz, and new music by contemporary composers.