Lower School Music Program

Lower School music continues from Preschool with Feirabend's "Conversational Solfege" Program. The music classroom is always active as music is something that should be experienced with the entire body. In every music class, students sing, dance and play music games. They use a variety of instruments, including drums and Orff xylophones. Students also begin to study the recorder in Grade 3.

Beginning Band - Beginning band is a newer course at the Albany Academies. It is an ensemble designed for students who are just beginning their instrumental music instruction. It is currently open to 4th and 5th graders. Within this course, students are selected to perform on a wind, brass or percussion instrument. Students take part in weekly lessons as well as ensemble rehearsal. Lessons and rehearsals encompass the fundamentals of their instrument as wells as rhythm and note reading and performing.

Middle School Music Program

The Middle School Music program expands on the performance opportunities for student-musicians. Fifth & Sixth Grade students have the option of further developing their vocal techniques in chorus or joining the band program wherein they can begin or continue studies on wind, brass or percussion instruments. Seventh & Eighth Grade continues this with more advanced studies.

In Chorus, students establish good vocal habits and techniques such as posture, breathing, vowel formation, diction, etc. They also develop their musicianship through sight-reading, learning to follow a score and singing pieces with more than one vocal line.

Middle School students also participate in General Music classes. The frequency of this course varies depending on grade level. In each grade, these courses are highly participatory and continue to develop skills from Lower School using John Feierabend's "Conversational Solfege" program. They also include more advanced elements of music history, composition and instrumental performance.

Upper School Music Program

Band & Chorus
The Upper School Mixed Chorus is a coeducational vocal performance ensemble. It is open to all students in Forms III-VI regardless of skill level or experience. This course is designed to develop the student's vocal ability and general musicianship through learning and rehearsing assigned pieces and performing them as part of a Choral Ensemble.

Lessons
Regular small group lessons are a required piece of any band program. For band students who do not take private lessons outside of school, our Band Program offers small group lessons during the school day. Students are pulled from their academic courses on a rotating basis once each six-day rotation. Lessons should be rescheduled if there is crucial class work happening during the lesson time (test, quiz, presentation, etc).

Four Phase Program

List of 4 items.

  • 1. Beginning Band Lessons

    Beginning lessons are offered to Fifth & Sixth Grade students wishing to learn a band instrument for the first time.
  • 2. Concert Band

    Concert Band is open to all fifth and sixth grade musicians who have prior experience of at least one year performing on a percussion, woodwind, or brass instrument.

    Students who wish to learn an instrument for the first time may do so through the Beginning Band Program, which includes group lessons and a year-ending performance. Students will study music at a novice to intermediate level with no less than two concert performances each school year. Rehearsal instruction is given with an emphasis on the continued musical growth of each individual band member. This will include the development of routine practicing habits, increased technical ability, improved characteristic tone quality, and learning to play musically within the ensemble setting. Instruction on pertinent music theory for band musicians, as well as background information on composers and compositions will also be included in classroom instruction. Small group lessons are provided for each member once per rotation during the academic school day. These may be substituted with outside private instruction. Performances are culminating experiences without an equivalent substitute and are a required component of the course.
  • 3. Symphonic Band

    Symphonic Band is open to all seventh and eighth grade musicians who perform on a percussion, brass, or woodwind instrument.

    Piano players (who would mainly play a mallet perfusion instrument such as glockenspiel or xylophone) may join with permission of the director. Students will study music at an intermediate level with no less than two concert performances each school year. Rehearsal instruction is given with an emphasis on the continued musical growth of each individual band member. This will include the development of routine practicing habits, increased technical ability, improved characteristic tone quality, and learning to play musically within the ensemble setting. Instruction on pertinent music theory for band musicians, as well as background information on composers and compositions will also be included in classroom instruction. Small group lessons are provided for each member once per rotation during the academic school day. These may be substituted with outside private instruction. Performances are culminating experiences without an equivalent substitute and are a required component of the course.
  • 4. Wind Ensemble

    Wind Ensemble is open to all Upper School students who perform on a percussion, brass, or woodwind instrument.

    Piano players (who would mainly play a mallet percussion instrument such as glockenspiel or xylophone) may join with permission of the conductor. Students will study music at an intermediate to advanced level with no less than four concert performances each school year. Rehearsal instruction is given with an emphasis on the continued musical growth of each individual band member. This will include the development of technical ability, improved characteristic tone quality, and mature musicianship within the ensemble setting. Instruction will also include lessons on music theory, music history, and different genres and periods of music.

Performance Pieces

Performance pieces will focus on the traditional high school band compositions, but will also include jazz and popular arrangements. Private lessons are highly recommended to all members of the ensemble, and weekly sectional lessons during study hall blocks are provided for all ninth and tenth grade members. Performances are culminating experiences without an equivalent substitute and are a required component of the course. Unique to the Wind Ensemble is our annual Pops Concert that is performed before the entire school body, as well as a special annual concert at the College of Saint Rose with members of the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO).

Additional Opportunities for Band Students

Along with participation in lessons, ensembles and concerts within the school, band students at the Academy are afforded further opportunities for performance -- including NYSSMA Solo Festivals, Colonial Council Music Festivals, Albany Academies Chamber Ensemble, Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO), festivals/trips at theme parks, etc. There are also opportunities for leadership in the form of Section Leaders.

Private piano lessons available

We are pleased to offer private piano instructions through our school. The lessons are not sponsored by the Academies but are offered as a service to our families and students. The lessons are provided during free periods or after school from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the AA & AAG campuses. Please note that we will not allow a student to miss class during the school day to take a lesson.

If you are interested in piano lessons, please contact Eleanor Van Pelt at (518) 273-4458 or ehvanpelt1216@gmail.com. All arrangements should be made between parents and Ms. Van Pelt. The Albany Academies are not involved with scheduling or canceling lessons or accepting payment for the lessons. 

For more information on Morey Hall please visit his website www.moreyhallmusic.com.

The Albany Academies

The Albany Academy: 135 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2300  Fax: 518.427.7016 

Albany Academy for Girls: 140 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2300  Fax: 518.463.5096

Schellenberger Alumni/ae Center: 93 Academy Road - Albany, NY 12208
518.429.2414 Fax: 518.429.2380

Our Mission

Who We Are: The Albany Academies—The Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls—develop capable and confident students through single-gender education in the Lower and Middle School, and through coordinate education in the Upper School.

What We Do: Employing individualized and positive education, The Albany Academies provide students with the knowledge, skills, and character needed for leadership and success in the creative, entrepreneurial century that lies ahead.