Music

The Evening Arts Program extends the artistic and creative possibilities by providing a wide range of arts-based classes after dinner. It is an opportunity for students to try something entirely new or to delve more deeply into an art form for which they have already developed a passion. While active participation is required, these classes are ungraded. The classes meet from 7:30-9 PM either once or twice per week, and students are required to participate at least two evenings per week. The Evening Arts program operates in two sessions: Fall and Winter/Spring. Unless otherwise noted, classes run during both sessions.

African and Caribbean Drumming

Explore African, Caribbean, and Brazilian percussion music. Learn drumming techniques, traditional rhythms, improvisation, and how to create your own percussion music. The class is fun, relaxed, and supportive.  All drums and percussion instruments will be provided. No prior experience is necessary, all you need is to bring your good heart!

Chamber Music

Students in Chamber Music expand their musical skills through exploration, study and performance of the classical chamber ensemble repertoire. Participants receive coaching on style, phrasing, and historical practice, while learning how to effectively cooperate with a smaller group of artists. Repertoire is selected based on the abilities and instruments of the enrolled students. Preparation of assigned music and practice outside of class is expected. Students in Chamber Music must be taking private music lessons and participation in the activity must be approved by the Music Director.

Jazz I (Ensemble)

2 evenings

In Jazz I, students are given the musical tools needed to become improvising players. The group affords students the opportunity to improvise and create imaginative solos in a variety of jazz styles, including the Blues. Rehearsalincorporate jazz theory into performance practice. The course focuses on how to jam and rehearse effectively while developing skills and an individual style. The group performs publicly when appropriate. Students need to have basic competence on an instrument. Placement in Jazz I or II is by audition. Full year commitment.

Jazz II (Combo)

2 evenings

In Jazz II, students continue their exploration of the jazz idiom and hone their musicianship while advancing their theory and performance skills.  More complex concepts of jazz theory are covered in depth, including reading and interpreting a lead sheet, improvising in various musical forms and styles, as well as constructing group arrangements.  Jazz II performs frequently throughout the year. An intermediate skill on an instrument and permission of the instructor are required. Full year commitment.

Madrigals

2 evenings

The choral ensemble of The Putney School, Madrigals endeavors to build musicianship and artistry through the performance of challenging and varied repertoire. Rehearsals focus on diction, ensemble vocal technique, intonation, rhythmic precision, interpretation and style. The ensemble has an emphasis on standard choral literature from all historical periods of Western musical practice, while exploring contemporary and modern choral compositions. Madrigals meets one evening and sectionals are one afternoon per week. The group performs frequently. Full-year commitment.

Music Lessons and Practice

Students in the Music Lesson and Practice activity combine a once a week lesson with a scheduled practice time for Evening Arts credit. This activity gives students the structure of both instruction and practice within in the busy Putney schedule. Students must be enrolled in music lessons to be in this activity. 

Music Writing & Production

winter/spring

In today's digital world, there are countless ways to record and produce music. In Music Production, we will focus on individual production styles and techniques, with each student experimenting in a chosen DAW (digital audio workstation). We will focus on live audio recording, computer-based music creation, the fundamentals of mixing, and playful production techniques. We will take sound samples and transform them by chopping up and rearranging the melodic intervals, changing tempos and adding beats, layering other tracks (guitars, voices, ambient sounds, etc.), or drenching them in effects such as reverb or distortion. Working on their own laptops or on the computers in the midlab, students will engage in creative collaborations such as scoring mini films and creating class-wide "mash up" songs. Students will also have ample opportunity to create and share their own musical piece

Putney Community Orchestra

Open to all players of orchestral instruments from the advanced beginner level and up, including members of the greater Putney community. This ensemble is dedicated to music for string, chamber, and full orchestra (including works with chorus) from various historic time periods. Students are often featured as soloists. Prerequisite: basic ability on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument and the desire to share and experience music making. There are two different levels of participation: Evening Arts Double (two hours Wednesday evening, one afternoon for one hour); Evening Arts single credit (Wednesday evening only). Full year commitment desired.

Songwriting

fall

As a class we’ll investigate the elements that go into crafting songs: lyrics, melodies, rhythm, chord progressions, arrangements, sounds, emotion, and inspiration. We’ll work on these ideas both by listening to examples of great songs, and by splitting up into groups and working on exercises: mini songs that we create and share with each other each week. Students can also bring in songs they have been working on to workshop in class, and we’ll aim toward a performance of new material in the last few weeks. Students should have a basic knowledge of an instrument (some chords or notes, depending on the instrument, would be enough) and a willingness to sing and perform in front of each other.

Traditional Music Ensemble

Bluegrass and Irish fiddle tunes, Appalachian folk songs, contra and square dances: they all have their roots in the Celtic music brought over by Scots-Irish immigrants. We'll explore the music and dance of the Celts home countries (Ireland, Scotland, and France) as well as what they morphed into once they came here. We'll jam in a big group and also split into smaller combos of matched abilities. This is a class for interested musicians of any level: if you don't already play an instrument, you can start on Irish pennywhistle and/or bodhran (frame drum) -- both will be provided for a low cost.