Music

A wide range of music opportunities is available to all Princeton Day School students of any age. In addition, we have an extra-curricular program taught by our faculty as well as a distinguished adjunct music faculty in the areas of woodwind, brass, string, percussion, voice, guitar, piano, and harpsichord.

Detailed information on each program is available by clicking on the links below.

If you are interested in private study, please email Tomasz Rzeczycki, Music Lesson Coordinator. For general questions about our music program, please contact Deb Sugarman, Performing Arts Chair.

Private Lesson Program

Princeton Day School has an outstanding adjunct music faculty available to students for private lessons. Lessons are scheduled once a week at a mutually convenient time for student and teacher. Lessons are available for the following: strings (violin, viola, cello), guitar, piano, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, flute, trumpet, drums, and voice (grade 8 & up). Lessons will start in September. If your child is interested in taking lessons, please send an email to trzeczycki@pds.org and include the student's name, grade, instrument/voice, current instructor (if any), any requests for lesson day/time, and preferred parent contact information. Please note that requests are taken into consideration when setting the schedule but cannot be guaranteed. There are limited number of students who can be accommodated in the lesson program; returning students will be scheduled before students new to the program. Rates and policies for private music lessons are found in the FAQ and Private Lesson Contract. If you have any questions, please contact Tomasz Rzeczycki.

Lower and Middle School Music Ensembles

Lower School

Three strings ensembles, organized according to experience and ability, rehearse weekly after school. Performances include the LS holiday concert, LS Closing Ceremony, and several school assemblies. Director: Dr. Tomasz Rzeczycki

Middle School

5th Grade Concert Choir: These students meet twice weekly to rehearse. Performances are expected at a Thanksgiving concert, a holiday concert and a spring concert. In addition, outside performances may be available to the students (singing at a Trenton Thunder game for example).

6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Chorale: This ensemble meets twice weekly to rehearse. 8th grade students who would like to perform in medium to large roles in the 8th grade musical are strongly encouraged to participate in this choir. Performing opportunities are expected throughout the year. In addition, outside performance opportunities may be available.

MS Bands
5th through 8th grade band members will meet twice weekly to rehearse in one of our two experience-based bands. In addition to these rehearsals, sectionals will be scheduled by the band director during resource. Students must provide their own instruments. Private lessons are offered for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students for an additional fee. See Private Lesson Program link above for more information.

MS Strings Ensemble
5th through 8th grade orchestra members will meet twice weekly to rehearse in one of our two experience-based orchestras. In addition to these rehearsals, sectionals will be scheduled by the orchestra director during resource. Students must provide their own instruments. Private lessons are offered for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students for an additional fee. See Private Lesson Program link above for more information.

MS Jazz Band
This extra-curricular ensemble is open to interested students in grades 5-8 who have studied their instrument for at least one year. Students must participate in the curricular band, choir or orchestra classes to be eligible. This ensemble meets after school one day per week throughout the school year.

Upper School Ensembles

UPPER SCHOOL

Princeton Day School Choir
This choir meets as a scheduled class twice weekly and is open to all students in grades 9-12. No audition is required.

Princeton Day School Band
This ensemble meets as a scheduled class twice weekly and is open to all students in grades 9-12. No audition is required.

Princeton Day School Orchestra
This ensemble meets as a scheduled class twice weekly and is open to all students in grades 9-12. No audition is required.

Madrigal Singers
The Madrigal Singers is an extra-curricular select choir made up of students in grades 10-12 from within the Princeton Day School Choir. Auditions are held in the late spring for participation in the following school year.

A Cappella Groups
Participants in the extra-curricular all-female and all-male a cappella groups are selected through auditions and directed by students.

CHAMBER MUSIC PROGRAM
Instrumental students are placed in small ensembles and work with a faculty member on a selected repetoire of various styles. Rehearsals take place outside the school day (or at mutual free times for the players and teacher). Emphasis is placed on collaboration, ensemble playing, and musical independence. Students participating in the Chamber Music Program must be taking lessons with a private instructor (either at PDS or elsewhere). Chamber groups will perform in various settings throughout the school year. Chamber Music is also open to vocalists. Students must be enrolled in band, orchestra, or chorus to participate in Chamber Music.

Lower School Players' Circle (Extra-Curricular)

Three times each year, PK through 4th grade students who take private lessons on any instrument, regardless of the amount of time they have been studying, may participate in an informal recital called Players' Circle. In front of family and friends, students are supported through the process of being "on stage." To take part in this, performers need to be accompanied by an adult. They may play one piece no longer than three minutes in length. It does not need to be memorized, but it should be performance-ready. They will announce their piece and composer, perform their best, and then bow. Duets and ensembles are welcome to participate as well. Guests are invited to the Lower School Music Room after dismissal, and the event begins at 3:15. p.m. It is followed by light refreshments. Look for sign up opportunities in the LS Newsletter.

LS Group Lessons for Beginning String Students

Princeton Day School now offers group lessons to Kindergarten and 1st Grade students who have little or no experience in string instruments. The course will be comprised of 3-10 students and will take place on Wednesdays from 1:30-2:15 in the lower school music room. This course is designed for those students who would like to continue their string instrument education in our Private Lessons Program in the future. Please see the linked contract.

Private Music Lesson FAQ

What age does a student have to be to take lessons?

  • Students can begin string instruments in first grade.
  • Students can begin piano or harp in second grade.
  • Students can begin all wind and percussion instruments in fifth grade.
  • Students can begin voice lessons in eighth grade.
When and where are the lessons?
  • Lessons take place in one of the four practice/teaching studios in the lower level hallway that connects the gym to the Performing Arts area.
  • Any lesson can take place before and after the school day.
  • Lower School string students take lessons during the school day.
  • Upper School students can schedule lessons during a free period.
  • Lessons cannot begin until the school receives a contract signed by teacher, parent and student.
Why do we have to commit to eight lessons?
  • In order to bring high quality music teachers to PDS, we need to ensure that their schedules remain consistent. Many of our adjunct music faculty would not be able to commit to travelling to our campus without this assurance.
  • We believe eight lessons is a reasonable number for our faculty to expect from each student for whom they reserve space in their schedule.
  • We also believe eight is an appropriate number of lessons for students to commit to in order to give the experience a fair amount of time. Sometimes the teacher and student need several lessons to learn how to work most effectively together.
  • Eight lessons is the most reasonable number of lessons to try to fit into a PDS trimester. It allows for the possibility of holidays, snow days, illness, etc. and gives plenty of time for a make-up lesson if necessary.
  • Containing lessons to a single term makes expectations, scheduling and billing much clearer. This system cuts down on confusion and provides a definite beginning and end point for the contracted lessons.
  • If a student finishes 8 lessons before the end of a trimester, extra single lessons can be added for an additional fee (same rate). These would be billed separately, and would not be part of the next set of eight.
If there is more than one teacher, can we switch?
  • Absolutely. However, the switch must be made at the beginning of a new trimester. Students must always complete a set of eight lessons with their original teacher.
How do I pay for lessons?
  • Once a signed contract is received, lessons are billed to your PDS account through the business office.

Sign Up for Private Lessons

Adjunct Music Faculty

Christine Chan Piano

Sherry Hartman-Apgar Clarinet, Saxaphone

Channing McCullough Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone

Steve Hayden Guitar

Christopher Hodson Voice

Alexandra Porter Voice

Jesse Neuman Trumpet

Andrea Schafer Harp

Tomasz Rzeczycki Cello/Violin/Viola

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