Performing Arts & Music
WELCOME to The Stanwich School Performing Arts Music Program
We are looking forward to seeing the smiling faces of our returning students and to welcoming our new Stanwich friends to become part of the STANWICH ADVANTAGE!
MUSIC BENEFITS the hearts and minds of all children and gives them creative joy in the development of their innate gifts. Our uniquely qualified STANWICH PERFORMING ARTS TEAM offers a vibrant program made available to every Stanwich student from kindergarten through grade twelve.
One of the many STANWICH ADVANTAGES is that we are the perfect sized school to be able to give MORE OPPORTUNITIES to our students than any other school around. Whether our students wish to enjoy music as a hobby or are inspired to pursue performing as a career, the Pre-K through grade twelve years are the crucial time to learn to read music and create a lifelong passion. By “cross-training” in singing AND instrumental lessons, vocal AND instrumental ensembles, piano recitals AND musicals, rigorous music classes AND joyous performances, the brain is vitally stimulated through this ALL PLAY and SING experience. This allows for a deeper level of understanding and appreciation of music. Larger schools, and most likely the school that many of you attended as children, could only allow one thing due to scheduling conflicts and too many students. We have all heard over and over from parents, “I can’t sing” or “I never got to play a string or band instrument” or “I wish I would have taken piano lessons.” Our students will never have to say that. We have the STANWICH ADVANTAGE!
Our piano program is one of our unique STANWICH ADVANTAGES. We have often had over 100 students taking weekly lessons. Piano lessons at an early age make physical changes to the structure of the brain, increasing the ability to learn science and math later in high school and college. The corpus callosum is the bundle of neural fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. Gottfried Schlaug, from the University of Dusseldorf, said that the corpus callosum is 10 - 15% thicker in students who take piano at an early age. Recent studies have confirmed that this benefit continues into adulthood. Unfortunately, starting to take piano lessons as an adult does not make this change to our fully developed brains!
Our STANWICH PERFORMING ARTS TEAM is also proud to have the only school in the area with an orchestra! Our strings program offers a recital at the end of each semester for the Primary House students. The IH and Upper School orchestras perform at the winter and spring concerts along with our other performing ensembles including IH Band, IH Percussion Ensemble, US Band, US Jazz Band, IH Bell Choir, US Bell Choir, IH Choir, IH Singing Spartan Lunchtime Voice Class, and US Advanced Vocal Ensemble.
Our STANWICH ADVANTAGE is that we require each of our grade one through grade five (lower school) students to sing in choir AND play an instrument including recorder in the PH, and band, orchestra, bell choir, or piano workshop in the IH. After that, we require one ensemble choice in Grades 6, 7, and 8 including Band, Orchestra, Bell Choir, Advanced Vocal Ensemble, or music appreciation (grade 8 option only) with extra options including Jazz Band and the musicals. We hope that after grade 8 we have instilled a love for music so the studnt will choose to continue playing and singing throughout their Senior High years. Whether they are required to be in an ensemble or not, every performing group is available in every students schedule. The STANWICH ADVANTAGE guarantees that we can offer this promise – no other school can say the same.
Another STANWICH ADVANTAGE is that every student in the school is also able to participate in a MUSICAL or maybe even more than one! Each student in grades one through six works on an individual grade musical during the week in drama class culminating with a performance for their peers and parents at the end of the year. In addition, each student in the IH, JH, and SH also have the option to participate in large group musicals that rehearse after school at no additional charge also culminating with performances for the school and parents at the end of the year. Our school is unique in the fact that a majority of our school population chooses to participate and they have created a beautifully supportive and positive environment. Our students have been on stage so much during their Stanwich years that they become fearless!
An extra special STANWICH ADVANTAGE is our MUSIC BREAKOUT performances (similar to a talent show) that take place at the end of each trimester. Anyone taking a private lesson in something is invited to sign-up to perform. This is often voice solos, duets, trios, quartets, piano solos, instrumental solos, rock bands, dances, or even karate and martial arts performances! Our students thrive in this safe performing environment and always look forward to preparing for this event.
Formal music classes and ensembles are offered throughout the day as part of the core curriculum (see below for more details). However, many families are also interested in private lessons at school, eliminating the hassle of driving to lessons in the evenings or on the weekends. We are thrilled to be able to offer these optional lessons and ensembles before, during, and after the school day (denoted by an asterisk below*) that will be billed separately to you by Stanwich (refer to billing information below). These are either scheduled through the “afters” program or through each individual teacher.
Please feel free to reach out to any of us with questions regarding any of our programs or to schedule private lessons.
Welcome to the STANWICH ADVANTAGE!
THE STANWICH PERFORMING ARTS TEAM
The STANWICH MUSIC FACULTY:
Mr. James Bettincourt – firstname.lastname@example.org
WW String Program, PH String Program, IH Strings and Orchestra, US Strings and Orchestra, *Private strings and guitar/bass guitar lessons
Miss Kerry Gotschall – email@example.com
WW Music, *PH Stage Dazzlers (afters), *PH Spirit Singers (afters), IH Bell Choir, IH Musical (a no charge afters program), US Bell Choir, JH Musical, SH Musical, *Private voice and piano lessons
Mr. Kreg Gotschall – firstname.lastname@example.org
PH Assemblies, PH Music and Drama, IH Assemblies, IH Choir, IH Drama, *IH Singing Spartans (lunchtime voice class), IH Musical (a no charge afters program), JH Musical, SH Musical, *Private or buddy lessons in voice and guitar
Head Piano Teacher and Piano Program Coordinator, Piano Workshop, *Private piano and voice lessons
Mr. Mike Soprano – email@example.com
IH Band, *IH Percussion Ensemble (afters), IH General Music Class, US Band, US Jazz Band, *Private instrumental lessons
Dr. Caroline Worra – firstname.lastname@example.org
Department Chair, PH Assemblies, PH Music and Drama, IH Assemblies, IH Choir, IH Drama, *IH Singing Spartans (lunchtime voice class), IH Musical (a no charge afters program), JH Musical, SH Musical, US Advanced Vocal Ensemble, *Private voice and piano lessons
You will be billed monthly by Stanwich for private piano, voice, and instrumental lessons. This is a change from previous years. The fee is $47 for each 30 minute lesson. Forty-five minute or hour-long lessons may also be arranged with the individual teacher. Some students may even want 2 lessons a week.
The IH Singing Spartan lunchtime voice class is $225 billed per semester.
The PH Stage Dazzlers, PH Spirit Singers, and IH Percussion Ensemble occur after school and are billed through the “afters” program.
The PIANO PROGRAM:
Students may begin private lessons as early as the Pre-K level (4 years old and up) and may continue all the way through Grade 12. At the end of the year, students are excited to participate in the spring recitals, sharing their music with parents and classmates. We will have recitals for Wildwood, Primary House, Intermediate House, and the Upper School. Each child receives a long-stemmed rose to congratulate them for their fine performance! During instrumental time, IH students may take Piano Workshop in addition to their private lessons.
For all returning Stanwich piano students: Please contact your teacher from last year, or your new one, if you have changed teachers. They will forward that information on to me. Include lesson day/time suggestions, if after or before school times are preferred. Lessons will begin the 2nd week of school.
For new piano students: Families must have a piano or a full-sized keyboard to practice on at home. We recommended that the youngest students start with ten minutes of daily practice with someone nearby to offer encouragement. It is easy for children to just practice what they like to play the most and not tackle new material. We make the lessons fun and challenging, assessing each child's needs as we go. Lessons for new students will begin the third week of school.
We look forward to hearing from you and will be so excited to show the students our new piano studio rooms! If you have any questions, please email Diane LaSala at email@example.com .
THE STRINGS PROGRAM:
Primary House - The Stanwich School is pleased to offer 1st 2nd and 3rd grade students the opportunity, during the school day, to study a string instrument and participate in a performing ensemble. If you are interested, please follow the link below to complete the online form.
Students may choose violin, viola, cello, or bass. Students will attend small group lessons once each week and participate in a winter and spring performance.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Bettincourt ext. 241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for the PH, follow the link below:
IH String Orchestra - Students in the I.H. string orchestra program will work on developing individual musicianship through small group instruction, as well as the ability to play within an ensemble setting by participating in the I.H. orchestra. Students will learn the fundamentals of music theory, ear training, sight reading, strings technique, critical listening skills, and performing. The orchestra will be performing original concert works for string orchestra in the winter and spring concerts. Student’s work is assessed on the basis of their growth of musical skills and knowledge, in class conduct, in and out of class preparation, participation and contribution to the musical success of the whole ensemble.
Upper School String Orchestra - Students in the Upper School string orchestra will develop individual musicianship skills, as well as the ability to play as an ensemble by practicing and performing selected repertoire. Students will work on numerous fundamentals including sight-reading, music theory, ear training, critical listening skills, strings technique and scales. Their work is assessed and graded on the basis of the growth of their musical skills and knowledge, their attention, and participation and contribution to the musical success of the whole ensemble. Exams include a winter and spring concert.
THE VOICE PROGRAM:
PH Stage Dazzlers and Spirit Singers are Primary House options for after school activities. In the Winter, the Stage Dazzlers works to perform a small musical and in the Spring, they are invited to perform in one of the Upper School Musicals. More information can be found in the “afters” program or feel free to contact Kerry Gotschall email@example.com
IH Singing Spartans (lunchtime voice classes) including a 4th and 5th grade girls class and a 4th and 5th grade boys class. These classes are designed for fun and camaraderie, which allows everyone to become comfortable singing in front of each other. Students bring their lunch to the drama room and musically bond together in these safe small group girl and boy groups. Karaoke versions of songs are requested and students all sing together. As students gain more confidence, they start to sing trios, duets, or even solos in front of each other as they prepare for Breakout performances, the Young Musicians Festival, and the end of the year Doughnut Dinner Theatre. These students also perform as a group at the winter and spring concerts. Feel free to contact Kreg Gotschall for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Voice Lessons are offered to teach students proper breathing and singing techniques, allowing them to sing any style of music from pop to rock to musical theatre to classical. Often times these students choose to perform at the trimester Breakouts and the end of the year Doughnut Dinner Theatre as well as in the Young Musicians Festival at the end of January. We have often had around 50-60 Stanwich performances at the Young Musicians Festival! We encourage our Private voice students to also attend the Lunchtime Voice classes at no additional fee as they are wonderful role models for other students that might not be as confident. Feel free to contact Caroline Worra for more information email@example.com
Buddy Voice Lessons are the same as private except you sign-up with a friend and then the price is split in half by each singer. Sometimes students enjoy having a buddy to sing with! If you’d like this option but don’t have a singing buddy in mind, we will do our best to suggest someone.
THE BAND PROGRAM:
Intermediate House – Symphonic Band - In the Intermediate House, students are able participate in the band program. The primary goal of our band program is to provide a well-rounded musical education for every child. This education focuses on building a solid foundation of musical knowledge upon which artistic performances are created. Participation in the band program develops musicianship, stimulates creative thinking, and provides students with a means of self-expression.
After choosing their instrument, students will meet twice a week for one small group lesson and one large ensemble lesson. During these lessons, students are taught music theory, ear training, proper playing technique for their instrument, and performance practice. These lessons also complement what is taught in the general music classroom. The repertoire for all ensembles is always both educational and entertaining.
The instruments that are available to choose from include the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba and percussion.
There are two concerts per academic year for parents, family and friends. Our winter concert is in December, and our spring concert is in May.
Upper School – Wind Ensemble - In the Upper School, students have the opportunity to continue on their instrument in the band program, and beginners are always welcome. Students will meet twice a week with the large ensemble, and once a week for an individual or small group lesson. They will continue to develop the skills taught in the Intermediate House band program, as well as learn new techniques within those same categories.
The students will be asked to perform more difficult repertoire for their concerts, which are also in December and May.
Upper School – Jazz Ensemble - Students in the Upper School may also sign up to perform with the Spartan Express Jazz Ensemble. This group meets once a week and works on jazz, funk, rock and pop repertoire from different time periods. The jazz ensemble will also perform at the winter and spring concerts.
We are proud to offer the bell choir in the Intermediate House and Upper School. We own two beautiful sets of bells that our students love to play. They continue learning and using their music reading skills while preparing to perform at the Winter and Spring Concerts. Many playing techniques and styles of music are included!
MUSICALS AND PLAYS:
Musicals are a great way to meet others interested in performing on stage in these fun, free, after school rehearsals. We offer an IH Musical, a Grade 6 Musical, a Junior House Musical, a Senior House Musical, as well as a Senior House play. More information will be sent out about this soon, but feel free to contact Caroline Worra at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. A majority of our Stanwich community participates in this wonderful Stanwich tradition. Performances are enjoyed by students, families, and the Greenwich community at the end of the school year.
MUSIC AND DRAMA CLASSES:
Primary House - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students participate in music and drama classes 2 or 3 times a week to prepare for a Thanksgiving Concert, a Holiday Concert, a Spring Concert, as well as individual grade musicals. During these classes, we teach healthy singing techniques as well as teach our students to read music while singing a wide variety of songs, playing recorders, and piano. While giving confidence to perform, we are also striving to give our students a solid foundation in theory and music listening skills that will prepare them for a lifetime of reading and loving music.
Intermendiate House - We are excited to teach our grade 4 and 5 students once a week throughout the entire year in drama classes. This is a change from the past when students would only take drama for one trimester. This will allow for more time to experiment with drama games and fun activities while preparing for different performances. Each grade will participate in their own musical as well as other performing possibilities throughout the year.
INTERMEDIATE HOUSE GENERAL MUSIC:
4th and 5th grade students in the general music classes will continue their music theory studies. These studies include note identification, time signatures, key signatures, note alterations, intervals, scale studies, ear training, sight singing and musical terms and techniques that they see in their music that they play in their instrumental and vocal ensembles. The students will also use what they learn in class to play instruments while reading music. Students will also learn about musical theater. They will study and watch one musical per year, and learn how a musical is put together.