Band and Instrumental Music
Grades 4 - 9
Band is tremendously popular at Country Day. All students in grades 4 - 9 have the opportunity to participate in band as a year-long Arts elective. The band program includes weekly small group instrumental music lessons in addition to full band rehearsals.
Middle School band: Grades 4 - 6.
Upper School band: Grades 7 - 9.
Skills, Confidence, and a Love of Music
Our young musicians learn technical skills such as correct fingering, how to read music, embouchure (mouth position), breath control, articulation (how to begin and end a note), and how to refine their sound.
They gain a thorough understanding of key musical elements—harmony, melody, and rhythm. In the process, they discover the joy of playing music and strengthen both their confidence and collaboration skills.
Band students can choose to study a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, including:
- Alto Saxophone
- Tenor Saxophone
- Baritone Saxophone
- Baritone Horn
- Guitar (Guitar players are required to also study a woodwind or brass instrument.)
- Bass Guitar (Bass guitar players are required to also study a woodwind or brass instrument.)
- Drums (Drummers are required to also study a woodwind or brass instrument.)
There is a $200 fee for band. Parents are responsible for instrumental rental arrangements and fees. Financial aid is available.
Lessons and Band Rehearsals
Each band student participates in one small group lesson and two band rehearsals per week.
Both beginning and advanced lessons are offered for all instruments and are taught by Debbie Lewis and Bruce Kimball.
These lessons are an integrated part of the band program, and all students who study a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument at GCDS are required to be part of the band.
Experience on stage is an important part of the band program. Both the Middle and Upper School bands have concerts in the winter and spring.
In addition, band students perform at GCDS events such as the Halloween Parade and Grandparents Day and at local organizations such as Head Start and Nathanial Witherell.
For upcoming concerts, see Arts Calendar.
Jazz Improvisation Ensemble
Band students who are ready to expand their range of skills can audition for the Middle and Upper School jazz improvisation ensembles.
Students in the jazz improvisation ensembles are proficient in sight-reading and instrumental technique and have achieved the advanced level of skill necessary to study the art of improvisation.
Members of the jazz improvisation ensembles gain an in-depth understanding of the proper use of major and minor scales and modes needed for improvised solos, as well an appreciation for standard jazz and blues progressions.
Performances by the Middle and Upper School jazz improvisation ensembles are a highlight of the annual Art of Country Day.
BAND & INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC FAQ
How do students decide what instruments they would like to play?
Early in the fall, Debbie Lewis, who directs the Middle and Upper School bands, introduces each fourth grade homeroom class to the different instruments.
Mrs. Lewis also invites the fourth graders—as well as any students in grades 5 - 9 who are considering joining the band—to meet with her in the band room and try the instruments for themselves.
Can students change instruments?
Yes. Students are welcome to change instruments. Though Mrs. Lewis encourages commitment and focus, she understands that opportunities for exploration are an important part of learning. With the goal of sparking a lasting interest in music, Mrs. Lewis works closely with students to help them find an instrument they love to play.
Can students join the band even if they have no previous experience?
Absolutely! Beginners are welcome! Most fourth graders who join the band have no previous experience; and beginners in grades 5 - 9 are equally welcome.The entire band program is designed to support the growth of both beginning and advanced players.
How do students sign up to take band?
If a student in grades 4 - 9 would like to participate in band, his or her parents complete the Band and Group Instrumental Music Lessons Form (login required).
Where can parents rent instruments?
Parents can rent instruments from any music store they prefer. Local music stores include:
Greenwich Music Store
1200 East Putnam Avenue, Riverside, CT 06868
Sam Ash Music Stores
178 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
Merit Music Retail Store
33 East Avenue, New Canaan, CT 06840
Contact Debbie Lewis, director of the Middle and Upper School bands.