Music is an integral part of every boy's education at Allen-Stevenson. All boys have the opportunity to sing, to play a musical instrument and to perform in musical ensembles. Musical activities range from classroom music, which includes singing, playing Orff instruments and recorders, to private study of orchestral instruments, all of which lay the basics for Chorus, Orchestra and Upper School Electives. Through classwork, field trips, and performances, Allen-Stevenson boys acquire practical training in music and develop a well-rounded appreciation and understanding of music. Various technologies are incorporated to support and enhance student learning.
Allen-Stevenson hosts two Orchestras for grades five through nine and two preparatory ensembles in Grades 3 and 4. Instruments are introduced in the classroom, age-appropriately, with contextual storytelling, music-listening and fundamental theory and history. A group of performing professionals, who are instructors at the School, teaches private lessons during the day, rotating some 200 students through the academic day.
The instructors work with students towards studio recitals, instrumental assemblies and orchestral performances. Membership in the orchestras is determined by both social and technical levels of advancement, leaning currently toward preserving the grade-level social dynamic. The highest level, known as the senior Philharmonia, tours on alternate years, with city outings such as Broadway, or off-Broadway shows, or other cultural events. Past trips out of town have included Yale, Princeton, Philadelphia, Mystic Seaport, Providence and Six Flags, usually integrating recreation, sport, and history together with community service and the mission of music. Currently, at Allen-Stevenson, over 200 boys are taking private lessons, with more than 120 boys involved in ensembles during the week.
Allen-Stevenson hosts two Choruses in Grades Five through Eight. Vocal technique is begun in the classroom, age-appropriately, with songs from many cultures. Basic work on pitch matching as well as sight-singing is also part of the classroom music experience. Chorus rehearsals take place in the early morning before school as well as during the body of the school day.
Since 1990, the Allen-Stevenson School Choruses have established themselves as first-rate choral ensembles, performing at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and for many organizations throughout New York City. Professional engagements have included performances of the St. Nicolas Cantata by Benjamin Britten and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, both with the Musica Viva Chorus of New York City.