Brunswick’s instrumental music program offers many exciting opportunities for students who take an instrument or would like to learn an instrument. Courses range from small combos where improvisation and composition are encouraged to large performing ensembles that give three major concerts each year in conjunction with Greenwich Academy.
The newest courses offered include a guitar ensemble that is available to students with little or no previous guitar experience as well as students who have been playing for several years. Another new course is the recording studio in which students create a variety of musical projects often producing several CDs throughout the year.
An award winning big band, the Blue Notes is our premiere instrumental performing group. With the traditional instrumentation for this style of ensemble, the Blue Notes learn a variety of jazz and popular genres including swing, funk, soul, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll as well as developing advanced skills in improvisation. This group is often asked to perform for various school and community functions.
The GA’WICK Orchestra is a unique chamber ensemble made up of students, faculty and administrators from both Brunswick and Greenwich Academy providing a cross-generational music experience for both the students and the adults playing in this group.
All instrumental music offerings at Brunswick are open to students from both campuses and meet as a regular academic course. A number of our students have gone on to play at their colleges and universities and many continue to play for their own enjoyment and pleasure. Instrumental music is an important and enriching part of our student’s academic day.
In the Middle School Instrumental Program, students are given a hands-on approach to understanding and performing basic concert band music. As part of the academic curriculum, band teaches students the importance of discipline, practice, and teamwork in the performing arts. In turn, instrumental music in the Middle School plays an important role in the development of the students' social and creative skills.
Middle School instrumental music can be divided into three stages. In the fifth grade, those students who have not previously studied a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument, are evaluated and then a recommendation is made as to what instrument a student should study. In the first weeks the student learns the basic principles involved in holding the instrument, the correct way to breathe, and correct embouchure placement. Percussion students will study drum rudiments and learn notes and scales with the mallet instrument called the Glockenspiel. Together with the technical aspects of instrumental music come the introduction of musical notation and rhythmic study. It is suggested, at this stage, that each boy devote at least fifteen minutes of individual practice on their instrument each day.
In the second stage, sixth and seventh grades, students begin to apply the skills they have developed; they study moderate level concert band literature. Scales and chord studies take on a more serious and demanding role in the study of music in this stage.
When the Middle School musicians reach the eighth grade, the third stage of musical growth takes place. The boys' skills have developed to the extent that they perform difficult arrangements of middle school level concert band literature. For advanced students, there is a jazz band program in which they can study basic blues and improvisation skills.
Brunswick School • Greenwich, CT
Upper School 100 Maher Avenue • Lower & Middle Schools 1252 King Street • Pre School 116 Maple Avenue
Main phone: 203.625.5800 • Alumni phone: 800.546.9425