The Foundation for a Meaningful Life Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Upper School - Music Courses
Upper School Music Courses
The music faculty is committed to the concept of "learning by doing" and recognizes the value of performance in every student’s experience. Each year, Upper School students choose a music course from an array of options that include bass or treble chorale, bells, string ensemble, band, and music exploration. The courses are designed to extend the theory and performance skills developed in the Lower School, but students new to Fay will also find that they can succeed in a beginning-level ensemble with little or no previous musical experience. See the detailed course descriptions below.
Fay’s Treble Chorale is open to all upper-voiced* students of any singing ability in grades 7, 8, and 9. Students build on skills learned in the Lower School by studying the rhythms, intervals, and scales of the year’s repertoire. Treble Chorale typically sings music in two- or three-part harmony representing a variety of historical periods and styles. Treble Chorale also performs at least one piece in a foreign language each year. Performances are scheduled throughout the year for on campus events. Motivated singers are encouraged to audition for MMEA’s Central District Honors Choir.
*Upper voices typically include soprano and alto singers
Fay’s Bass Chorale is open to all lower-voiced* students of any singing ability in grades 7, 8, and 9. Students build on skills learned in the Lower School by studying the rhythms, intervals, and scales of the year’s repertoire. Bass Chorale typically sings music in two- or three-part harmony representing a variety of historical periods and styles. Bass Chorale also performs at least one piece in a foreign language each year. Performances are scheduled throughout the year for on-campus events. Motivated singers are encouraged to audition for MMEA’s Central District Honors Choir.
*Lower voices typically include tenor and baritone singers.
Fay’s Chamber Singers is open to advanced singers in grades 8 and 9. The group is made up of both upper- and lower-voiced singers who have auditioned for and been accepted into the group. Members of Chamber Singers are expected to develop their musicianship and musicality to a high level. Students in Chamber Singers must be a part of another one of Fay’s music ensembles. Chamber Singers typically perform in three- and four-part harmony at events both on and off campus. Motivated singers are encouraged to audition for MMEA’s Central District Honors Choir or Massachusetts All-State Choir.
Fay’s Bell Ensemble is open to all students in grades 7, 8, and 9. No previous ringing experience and all those interested in performing in this unique music ensemble are encouraged to join. The Bell Ensemble focuses on learning basic ringing techniques and sight-reading skills. Ringers in the Bell Ensemble work closely together to perform three- and four-octave arrangements of repertoire representing a variety of historical periods and styles. Performances are scheduled throughout the year for on-campus events.
Fay Bells is open to students in grade 8 and 9 who have been selected by the director and have completed Bell Ensemble. This class is for more experienced and skilled ringers. Students practice more advanced techniques, and the repertoire is more challenging. Students in this group are more accomplished in theory and ear training.
Concert Band is the next step for students who have successfully completed Beginning Band in the Lower School (or the equivalent). Students are placed in this group with the approval of the director. The band’s repertoire spans a wide range of musical styles and periods. Success in this course requires practice outside of class. Students meet twice during the six-day rotation and usually perform twice throughout the year. Special ensembles may be selected out of the larger group as performance opportunities arise. Instruments include everything from Beginning Band with the addition of percussion (percussion students must have at least one year of band experience or the equivalent of private lessons).
Fay’s Wind Ensemble is composed of students with advanced skills who have been selected by audition or recommendation. The Wind Ensemble plays music of a more difficult nature representing a variety of cultures and styles. Students in Wind Ensemble often audition for outside ensembles including advanced ensembles at various performing arts colleges or district festivals for middle and high school students. Private lessons are sometimes required.
The String Ensemble is open to students with prior experience. The instrumentation includes violin, viola, cello, and contrabass. This group performs music in a variety of styles and performs on numerous occasions throughout the year.
The String Orchestra is a select group of string players that meets twice during the six-day rotation. The students involved determine the repertoire for the group, although a string quartet is the ideal instrumentation. They play music that is more advanced than the String Ensemble.
Fay’s Jazz Ensemble is composed of students with advanced skills, and students are selected by audition or recommendation. Private lessons are sometimes required. The Jazz Band performs jazz, rock, and pop and has specific instrumentation (sax, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, drums, and piano, woodwinds), which limits the size of the group. Students in the Jazz Band meet twice during the six-day rotation and usually perform two or three times throughout the year. Members of the Jazz Band must also be in the Wind Ensemble or String Ensemble as long as their instrument is in the instrumentation of these two ensembles.
Studio Recording is open to students in grades eight and nine who completed Music Exploration or have a teacher recommendation. Students in Studio Recording use technology, recording equipment, and instruments to create and record music. Students in the course should have experience using recording software, playing an instrument, or singing. Students learn the basics of digital music creation with the use of GarageBand, Logic Pro, Audacity, and live sound equipment. Students will also have training on live sound and lighting equipment in the theater and have first-hand experience working for events on campus.
Music Exploration is a year-long music course open to students in grades 7, 8, and 9. Throughout the year, students engage in units including world drumming, handbells, orffestra, ukulele, and electronic music. Instruction will focus on the basic rhythmic skills required for music making, including beat competency; ensemble playing; rhythmic, pitch, and contemporary notation (such as tabs and chord symbol notation); a short introduction to Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and recording technology; and an opportunity to collaborate with peers to create minimalist arrangements of popular songs. This is a non-performance-based class, although students may have the opportunity to perform for their peers.