Instrumental Music - McDonogh School

Instrumental Music

Instrumental music is an integral part of arts education at McDonogh. Eight thriving bands and six-string instrument ensembles involve fully a quarter of Middle and Upper School students. Instrumental music teachers strive to instill a lifelong passion for making music, and they help students learn the skills needed to get and give joy through performance.

Private vocal and instrumental music lessons from professional musicians are available to all students for an additional fee.

Lower School

Lower schoolers encounter instrumental music through a variety of different channels. In their general music classes, students play, learn about, and develop skills on many instruments in order to hone their musical skills and gain a deeper appreciation of world culture and music history. Starting in third and fourth grade, students have the opportunity to further their instrumental skills by joining the Lower School string ensemble or drum corps. Those musicians especially interested in pursuing individual instrumental lessons may do so through our private music program.

Middle School

Fifth grade marks the beginning of the band and strings program at McDonogh, both of which are offered as part of a series of performing art electives. The Middle School band and strings curricula focus on posture, technique, and creative process, with a strong emphasis on building students’ confidence and creativity through music. Students in the band and strings ensemble perform throughout the school year in a variety of informal and formal settings.

Upper School

The Upper School instrumental program includes several musical ensembles that aim to support the varied needs of our student-musicians, from the most advanced technicians to those just beginning their instrumental practice. Students with previous instrumental experience are encouraged to join the Upper School concert band, jazz band, or string ensemble, all of which function as performance ensembles with a strong focus on cultivating both individual talent and combined skills. Repertoire for these ensembles meet students just beyond their level of ability in order to challenge their musicality and facilitate personal growth. The Upper School also offers a music tech course that utilizes professional-quality equipment and industry-standard programs as an entry point into the field of audio engineering and digital recording. All instrumental programs in the Upper School aim to provide environments where students feel a true sense of passion and inspiration through musical experiences.