Music & Art

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The music program advances Brown School’s mission for mindful and individualized education by nurturing discovery, creative thinking, and collaboration alongside skill development. Our goal is that this playful and joyous process-approach to learning inspires students to develop the self-motivation to study music during the short-term and to engage with music throughout their lives, whether as performers or patrons.

The music classroom is also a place where we respectfully explore, celebrate, and critique diverse musical traditions from a plethora of cultures, styles, and periods. We envision this combination of process-oriented and culturally-literate education nurturing the next generation into citizens who act with empathy and approach challenges with the growth mindset of creative problem solvers.

Program Content

Our program focuses on equipping students with age-appropriate “musical life skills”:

  • the ability to find and keep a steady beat and coordinate movement to the beat—an essential skill for further musical training and social interactions such as dancing
  • the ability to sing in-tune—an enjoyable and satisfying activity which is also an essential skill for social and cultural events from birthday parties to ceremonies
  • listening skills—the technical knowledge and observational skill to thoughtfully analyze, interpret, and appreciate music
  • an understanding of appropriate decorum for performers and audience members in various musical settings
  • the ability to select, prepare, and perform music
  • the skill and self-confidence to create and share original music
  • an understanding of how music connects to other domains and contributes to the aesthetic life of society
  • a positive experience with music which meaningfully connects to personal life

In support of these goals, students from Preschool through 8th Grade engage in age-appropriate musical activities which include:

  • focused listening
  • singing
  • playing a variety of pitched and unpitched instruments
  • exploring musical ideas through movement
  • sharpening skills through games
  • creating music through improvisation and composition

Performing Arts

The goal of the Brown School Performing Arts Program is to foster the musical development of each child and provide a vehicle for self-expression, creativity, and musical enjoyment in order to enhance their lives now and in the future. Every student at Brown School is given several opportunities to engage in musical and theatrical performances during the year.

Lower School Musical – Students in preschool through fourth grade perform skits and musical selections that are linked to the school’s curriculum as part of the Lower School Musical.

Musical – Students in fifth through ninth grades are welcome to participate in a full-scale musical theater production each December. Students can participate by acting and singing on stage, or by being part of the lighting, sound or stage crews.

Music Cafe – Students in fourth grade through high school have the choice to participate in Open Mic Nights in our Music Cafe. This allows them the opportunity to share their vocal or instrumental skills in a solo or group setting.

Concerts and Events – Students in all grades have the opportunity to participate in concerts and events throughout the year. Our Veteran’s Day assembly, Winter Concert, Ringing Singers, and Fine Arts and Music Fair are just a few of the annual events where students can showcase their musical and performing talents.

Visual Arts

The Brown School visual art curriculum has many core similarities between grade levels. Each year students are able to build on the techniques, processes, concepts, and material presented in the previous years. Projects and concepts presented in the art curriculum often reflect on and make connections to the grade level classroom curriculum. Students are also introduced to in-process critiques that help to mature not only the students’ artwork, but also their critical thinking skills, oral communication skills, and personal aesthetic. Looking at art through a critical lens is extremely important when creating work that is complex in both execution and concept.

After school, students in sixth grade and up have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics of the Visual Arts, a regional competition sponsored by the New York State Teachers Association.