Form IV Music Survey | Form IV Computer Composition | Form V-VI African Drumming
Forms III-VI Upper School Chorus | Forms III-VI Browning Chamber Ensemble | Forms III-VI Browning Jazz Ensemble
Music Survey is a required one-trimester course that covers Western European music from the madrigal of the late Renaissance to the atonal and serial compositions of the twentieth century. Aspects of musical form, compositional technique, and cultural influence are explored. Students complete study sheets covering the material of a particular time period or genre, and this information is further elaborated upon through class lectures and guided listening activities (a CD set is given to each boy). A written test culminates the investigation of that unit’s material. In addition to work in the classroom, the boys attend the final dress rehearsal of an opera at the Metropolitan Opera and write a review of their experience.
The third trimester elective for Form IV music is a computer composition class using the sequencing programs GarageBand and LogicExpress 9. Using this software, the boys download music from the internet or access a library of audio loops from the software. They then manipulate these music files and loops to create their own compositions. The software also has a notation feature that provides the option of composing original music by “dragging” notes to an empty score. Students are required to compose a soundtrack to a movie trailer and a work in rondo form containing sources with contrasting stylistic features.
The African Drumming course is a half-credit elective for boys in Forms V and VI. The class is designed to develop technical skill in playing the conga and djembe and build a sense of community and generosity among the boys. Proficiency on the instrument is calculated into the grade, but is secondary to the development of a serious attitude toward mastering the technique and sensitivity to the varying levels of ability found in the group. The Drumming Circle performs each year for various Browning events. Because this is a performance-based class, regular attendance is imperative for success.
The Browning Upper School Chorus is a yearlong half-credit performance elective open to all boys in the Upper School without audition. Basic singing technique is emphasized through the study of music ranging from popular to classical. Three-part arrangements for men’s (changed) voices are the standard, but mixed-choral arrangements (S-A-T-B) are sung with the sister independent schools in joint concerts held during the academic year. The chorus performs for a number of school functions throughout the year.
The Browning Chamber Ensemble is a yearlong half-credit performance elective open to all Upper School boys with permission of the instructor. Boys study technique on their particular instruments and work together to create a unified and balanced ensemble sound. Chamber music from the standard classical repertoire, arranged for the particular complement of instruments in the class, is studied and brought to performance level.
The Browning Jazz Ensemble is a yearlong half-credit performance elective open to all Upper School boys with permission of the instructor. Boys study technique on their particular instruments and work together to create a unified and balanced ensemble sound. Jazz and stage band music from the standard repertoire, arranged for the particular complement of instruments in the class, is studied and brought to performance level for a concert in the late spring.