The Evening Arts Program extends the artistic and creative possibilities by providing a wide range of arts-based classes after dinner. It is an opportunity for students to try something entirely new or to delve more deeply into an art form for which they have already developed a passion. While active participation is required, these classes are ungraded. The classes meet from 7:30-9 PM either once or twice per week, and students are required to participate at least two evenings per week. The Evening Arts program operates in two sessions: Fall and Winter/Spring. Unless otherwise noted, classes run during both sessions.
African and Caribbean Drumming
Explore African, Caribbean, and Brazilian percussion music. Learn drumming techniques, traditional rhythms, improvisation, and how to create your own percussion music. The class is fun, relaxed, and supportive. All drums and percussion instruments will be provided. No prior experience is necessary. All you need is to bring your good heart!
Chamber Music offers instrumentalists the ability to expand their musical skills through exploration, study and performance of the classical chamber ensemble repertoire. Participants will receive coaching on style, phrasing, and historical practice, while learning how to effectively cooperate with a smaller group of artists. Repertoire will be selected based on the abilities and instruments of the enrolled students. Preparation of assigned music and practice outside of class is expected. Students in Chamber Music must be taking private music lessons and participation in the activity must be approved by the Music Director.
This course focuses on the theory and practice of jazz improvisation. Students will develop both an awareness and understanding of jazz tradition and a personal style within that tradition. The course includes the study and mastery of chords, scales, modes, and rhythms in order to give the student improviser the tools needed for mature musical expression. This course is open to any student interested in the various practices and processes of musical improvisation. This course is recommended for all students interested in playing in one of the school’s jazz performance groups.
Jazz I - Ensemble
In Jazz I, students are given the musical tools needed to become improvising players. The group affords students the opportunity to improvise and create imaginative solos in a variety of jazz styles, including the Blues. Rehearsalincorporate jazz theory into performance practice. The course focuses on how to jam and rehearse effectively while developing skills and an individual style. The group performs publicly when appropriate. Students need to have basic competence on an instrument. Placement in Jazz I or II is by audition. Full year commitment.
Jazz II - Combo
In Jazz 2, students continue their exploration of the jazz idiom and hone their musicianship while advancing their theory and performance skills. More complex concepts of jazz theory are covered in depth, including reading and interpreting a lead sheet, improvising in various musical forms and styles, as well as constructing group arrangements. Jazz II performs frequently throughout the year. An intermediate skill on an instrument and permission of the instructor are required. Full year commitment.
The choral ensemble of The Putney School, Madrigals endeavors to build musicianship and artistry through the performance of challenging and varied repertoire. Rehearsals focus on diction, ensemble vocal technique, intonation, rhythmic precision, interpretation and style. The ensemble has an emphasis on standard choral literature from all historical periods of Western musical practice, while exploring contemporary and modern choral compositions. Madrigals meets one evening and sectionals are one afternoon 2 block per week. The group performs frequently. Full-year commitment.
Music Lesson and Practice
Students in the Music Lesson and Practice activity combine a once a week lesson with a scheduled practice time for Evening Arts credit. This activity gives students the structure of both instruction and practice within the busy Putney schedule. Students must be enrolled in music lessons for this activity.
In Music Production, we will focus on individual production styles and techniques, with each student experimenting in a chosen DAW (digital audio workstation). We will focus on live audio recording, computer-based music creation, the fundamentals of mixing, and playful production techniques. We will take sound samples and transform them by chopping up and rearranging the melodic intervals, changing tempos and adding beats, layering other tracks (guitars, voices, ambient sounds, etc.), or drenching them in effects such as reverb or distortion. Working on their own laptops or on the computers in the midi lab, students will engage in creative collaborations such as scoring mini films and creating class-wide "mash up" songs. Students will also have ample opportunity to create and share their own musical piece.
Putney Community Orchestra
Open to all players of orchestral instruments from the advanced beginner level and up, including members of the greater Putney community. This ensemble is dedicated to music for string, chamber, and full orchestra (including works with chorus) from various historic time periods. Students are often featured as soloists. Prerequisite: basic ability on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument: the desire to share and experience music making. Orchestra is a two-credit activity - two hours Wednesday evening combined with one afternoon 2 Music Practice sectional. Full year commitment.
As a class we’ll investigate the elements that go into crafting songs: lyrics, melodies, rhythm, chord progressions, arrangements, sounds, emotion, and inspiration. We’ll work on these ideas both by listening to examples of great songs, and by splitting up into groups and working on exercises: mini songs that we create and share with each other each week. Students can also bring in songs they have been working on to workshop in class, and we’ll aim toward a performance of new material in the last few weeks. Students should have a basic knowledge of an instrument (some chords or notes, depending on the instrument, would be enough) and a willingness to sing and perform in front of each other.
Traditional Music Ensemble
Traditional music is born out of the life of a culture and imbued with its flavor and style. Cultures change, move, blend; and traditions transform when they are planted in new soil. In this activity, we will focus on Celtic traditional music and how it has transformed once transplanted to the Americas, but we will also broaden our explorations to music from around the world. We will play in large and small groups, both instrumental and choral. No musical experience is required. Instruction on various instruments will be provided.