"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."
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.
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.
"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."
"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."
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.