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Music

Winter Sing

Music

Calhoun’s music program nurtures creative expression and inspires a lifelong love of music. A wide array of elective offerings, along with opportunities to study one-on-one with faculty, give students a strong foundation in musical technique and exposure to genres and styles from around the world.

In our study of music, we strive to be the best we can be as performers, but we also use music to deepen our learning across disciplines. Through the practice of an instrument or participation in a chorus, students heighten their skills as collaborators, leaders and community members.

In the Lower School—Early Childhood division, children receive an introduction to music through studies with a World Music specialist and learn the basics of music reading, rhythm and solfege through movement and singing, Orff instruments and percussion instruments. Beginning in fifth grade, students can take formal instrumental lessons. The music program includes concentrations in woodwinds and brass, strings and chorus. In Upper School, students may choose to add jazz or percussion to their studies after building a solid foundation with an instrument.

Our music teachers are experienced masters of their craft who bring their range of passions and expertise to their work in the classroom.

Meet Our Music Staff

Student Performances

Students in preschool through 12th grade have the opportunity to showcase their talents to the community in a range of performances held throughout the school year.

Winter and Spring Sings

The annual Winter and Spring Sings showcase the musical talents of students in 3rd-5th grades.

Calhoun Jazz Festival

Jazz Fest is a space for people to come and watch the people within our community perform. We feature Calhoun student bands, student bands from other schools, and faculty performances.

Upper School Jazz Night Concert

Student jazz bands perform for the community each year at Jazz Night.

Upper School Winds Ensemble

Upper School winds and brass players perform in a large ensemble and in small chamber music groups. 

Strings Concerts

Middle and Upper School strings ensembles perform classical music along with contemporary favorites.

Hear From Our Teachers

Victor Lin, Head of Jazz Studies

"My job is to empower people to realize who they can be and to see the power in doing that for others. The number one thing students learn is how to support someone else. To me, the best musician in the band needs to use their confidence to empower the least confident one."

Middle School music

"In my experience, when we examine world music history critically through the lens of marginalized voices, students can learn through music to position themselves as activists and thinkers, allies and accomplices."

Luke Cissell

"My highest aim is to create a space in the classroom where the joy of making music together can be experienced by all. In the classroom we work together to nurture an atmosphere that values play, inquiry, experimentation, deep listening, differing points of view, and highly individual ways of engaging and connecting with music."

Ben Baron

"Process is our focus, and the results that follow are determined by the interests, motivation, discipline and work ethic of our students. This, along with our expert faculty on each instrument, provides students with the support and guidance necessary to fully explore their musical passions."

81st Street Performing Arts Theater

Calhoun's Mary Lea Johnson Performing Arts Center has multiple floors dedicated to the performing arts. We have two theaters, and dedicated rehearsal spaces for our student musicians and actors.