The Prep School Music Department prepares students to have a life-long relationship with music.

The creation, study, enjoyment and promotion of music as a primary cultural force enhances the lives of our students and the societies to which they belong. Music is a fundamental part of the core curriculum.

Music Gallery

Course Offerings

Music 9

During ninth grade, students focus on developing music literacy skills while continuing to develop their vocal and instrumental skills. Topics include musical composers, composition analysis and historical, cultural and social implications of American folk songs.

Music History/Advanced Music History

Music History provides students with an historical overview of Western music, beginning with the Gregorian chant in the Dark Ages. Students study music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, as well as music from the twentieth century. Students study about orchestral instruments while working on their music literacy skills and mastering the vocabulary necessary to understand the major composers and the salient cultural, artistic and historical events of their time. The final part of the course involves studying contemporary musical genres such as jazz, rock and rap and assessing their influence. Advanced Music History is a continuation of Music History, with most of the focus on the Romantic era. Formal analysis of scores, research into composers, as well as a great deal of listening make up the course. Special emphasis is placed on the history of jazz as well. 

Musical Theater History/ History of american Musical Theater II

In Musical Theater History, students study the history of one of the few truly American art forms: musical theater. Through readings, class discussions and viewing footage of original stage musicals, students explore the historical evolution of the form by examining the ways representative artists approached the basic elements of the American musical: book, lyrics, score, dance and design. Student work emphasizes written analysis of major works.

History of American Musical Theater II uses the foundational knowledge gained in History of the American Musical Theater as a springboard for in-depth exploration and analysis. Together, the class identifies a theme for the semester and selects three musicals from throughout the history of the American musical to study and, through this study, explores the chosen theme. For each of the three musicals, the class watches the full production (or reads the script in its entirety if a video performance is not available), conducts a critical analysis of the work, and “zooms out” to examine the show in its historical context. The class asks such relevant questions as: How was the show received critically and commercially? What other shows premiered in the same season? What were the major events in the news at the time the shows first ran? How does the historical context inform our understanding of the work? How does the content of the show reflect contemporary attitudes and understandings about our chosen theme? How have revivals revised or changed our understanding? How can popular culture reflect societal changes over time?

Independent research and collaborative discussions are emphasized, with a final grade based on a combination of written papers, oral presentations and a student’s ability to engage in critical discussion on a day-to-day basis. 

Musical Theory & Composition

Music Theory Foundations

Music Theory Foundations is designed for any student interested in learning the basics of reading and writing music. The course covers pitch, clefs, duration, rhythm, scales, key signatures and ear training. It is specifically tailored to students preparing for Music Theory I or II, but it is perfect for any student simply who would like to learn or improve their understanding of basic music theory. Several computer apps will be used including Sibelius, Tenuto, Aurelia and Musition. 

Music Theory I

Music Theory I begins with major key signatures and moves onto seventh chords, diatonic structure and composition analysis. There are several songs written, including a 4 chord song (I, IV, VI, V). Sight singing and rhythmic dictation are also covered. Several computer apps are used including Sibelius, Aurelia and Musition.

Music Theory II

The focus in Music Theory II is on minor keys, pitch relationships, rhythmic precision, cadences and harmonic progressions. Important to this course is sight singing in two or more parts, score reading and piano skills. There are four main pieces written, including one for the students in the class to play and perform. Several computer apps will be used including Sibelius, Aurelia and Musition.

Advanced Theory: Jazz

This course is geared towards advanced theory students interested in compound intervals and jazz arranging.

Advanced Harmonies & Arranging

This course is specifically for singers interested in choral and vocal arranging.

Logic I

This course provides an introduction to MIDI sequencing and Apple’s Logic music production software. Students explore Logic by writing and producing various composition projects during the course of the semester.

Logic II

This course offers a continuation of the concepts learned in Logic I, with an emphasis on live recording, sound processing and mixing. Student projects center around writing for and recording live performers, then producing and mixing the results into finished professional-sounding recordings.

Film Scoring

This course is a survey of film music and basic compositional techniques for scoring to visuals.


This course is offered to budding songwriters interested in learning to create melodies that fit with lyrics.

Demo Recording for Singers

This course is geared toward the student performer who would like to acquire a working knowledge of Logic Pro X with the goal of making their own recordings. The class focuses on: identifying appropriate material for recording; learning the basics of MIDI sequencing, arranging and mixing; and basic live recording techniques. By the end of the semester, students create a professional-sounding 3-song demo.

AP Music Theory

AP Music Theory focuses on developing students’ abilities to understand and describe the basic elements of music, both aurally and in written form. Corresponding to the first semester of the typical college music theory sequence, students who take AP Theory will, by the end of the course, strengthen their own musicianship, be better able to communicate their musical ideas to others and be equipped to apply the fundamental skills of tonal music to whatever style or genre interests them.

Concert Chorale

Concert Chorale provides an opportunity for seasoned vocalists who would like to perform at a more challenging level to audition for this elite ensemble. This course is designed to be different than the clubs offered at CGPS. This groups meets every day and is serious about creating superior sound production, blend, dictions and clarity. In addition to the Spring and Winter Concerts, there are many performance opportunities. Classes are divided between full group, sectionals, aural skills development, basic and advanced score reading, and voice workshop.  

Jazz Improvisation

Jazz Improvisation is a course for instrumentalists who would like to study the theory and technique of improvisation in a jazz style. Students study jazz harmony and form and have the unique opportunity to play their instrument every day.  

Treble Choir

This is a vocal performance group open to all girls in grades 9-12. The primary focus of the course is choral skill building. Through a combination of ensemble rehearsals and smaller-group sectionals, detailed attention will be paid to principles of posture and alignment, breath, score reading, diction, tone quality and aural skills. 

Musica da Camera: Chamber Groups

 A mixed chamber ensemble class for advanced singers and instrumental players, Musica da Camera explores a variety of chamber music styles and settings with the goal of putting on various performances at the chamber concert each spring. Open to all intermediate and advanced instrumental students who also participate in CGPS Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble, as well as singers who possess strong note-reading and harmony ability.

goals for graduates
  • Create: The department offers a wide variety of classes that inspire students to explore and create. In addition to traditional instrumental and vocal classes and ensembles, the use of the latest music technology allows any student to have an entry point into the world of music creation.
  • Perform: The department provides our students with real world experiences as performing musicians at School and as well as community events.
  • Respond: Students are invited to engage with music through active listening to help them develop and express their opinions about the music they encounter. We seek to answer the difficult, if not impossible, question: What makes music “good"?
  • Connect: The music faculty teaches students to value music and to understand its place within the arts, society and the human experience. Students are familiarized with the vast array of careers in music creation and the music business. The faculty strives to be role models for the students by fostering their own passions and performance opportunities. The program’s goal is that all students can learn and enjoy music-making experiences and understand their own potential as musicians.