"Music has been one of the primary reasons I love RPCS so much. The fact that it allows me to pursue what I love most of all is amazing to me. I have never, ever lost the desire or the drive to continue music activities here. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be a part of this music program."
At RPCS, we believe in the importance of creating a community which sings together. From the moment a child enters our school, to the time of graduation, music is present at every major school event. Student ensembles are featured from every division during monthly convocations when the entire school community joins together in celebrating important National Holidays and seasonal events. Our skilled and experienced music faculty provides students with a comprehensive music education which includes opportunities to make music within the classroom setting, and both large and small ensembles. Within each division, our faculty focuses on establishing a strong foundation of music within each student. Healthy vocal technique, music theory, an appreciation for master composers, and musicianship skills such as in-tune singing and sight reading, are all intertwined within the music curriculum. The RPCS music program also extends outside of the school community as it provides students the opportunity to experience music through live performances via pit bands, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a variety of area performances. In 2001, as part of RPCS’ Centennial Celebration we commissioned an extended musical composition for our choruses. Award-winning composer, Ruth Elaine Schram composed a piece scored for three choral ensembles—each from a different division of the school—accompanied by a full orchestra. Since our Centennial year, the Centennial Song has been performed at the closing exercises of each division as well as our annual Faculty Awards Assembly.
Our girls are energized by two Lower School music teachers who foster the pure joy of music based on a strong curriculum of Kodaly infused choral singing and using a full complement of instruments from Orff-Schulwerk. RPCS strives to address a child’s powers at the right time and in the right order. In Orff-Schulwerk teaching, the “right order” is teaching a sequence of musical concepts that evolve from simple to complex. The students are in music classes two to three times each week for the entire year. All students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 participate in two major concerts each year. Evident from these spirited events are the accomplishments of the girls in singing, instrument training, choreography, dancing and the pleasure that they get from performing.
Music study continues in the Middle School as students study music history, increase their understanding of sight reading, gain more knowledge of music theory and apply these skills to both instruments and singing. In grade six students play hand bells and in grade seven they play acoustic guitar. In-tuning singing is stressed by instruction in solfege and by singing in unison, two and three-part harmony. In eighth grade music courses become more specialized. Eighth Grade Singers is the only auditioned Middle School ensemble and is completely performance based, primarily singing a cappella music. Art of the Musical is a non-performance based eighth grade elective which culminates in a day trip to New York City to see a Broadway show. Additionally, Middle School Chorus is a non-auditioned course open to all Middle School students and Middle School Hand Bells is offered as an extra-curricular opportunity. The Middle School annually attends a BSO Youth Concert to reinforce not only music history but also contemporary music while experiencing a live orchestral performance in a perfect acoustical concert hall.
Music in the Upper School is a further continuation of the wonderful foundation provided within the Lower and Middle Schools at RPCS. In addition to our three choral ensembles, and music theory classes, all 9th and 10th grade students take a cross-discipline music history course which works in conjunction with their respective History classes. Additionally, RPCS has a year-long AP Music course which is also offered to any student within the tri-school community who has achieved a mastery of basic music theory skills. As our school strives in its Personal Philosophy to “instill a lifelong love of learning,” it is the goal of the Upper School Music program to ignite within students, the desire or passion towards a lifelong love of music.
With three ensembles offered, the Upper School provides a singing ensemble which supports all singing levels and abilities. Students in these ensembles study techniques of good vocal tone production, musicianship, and showmanship. Chorus is a non-auditioned large choral ensemble for the student who enjoys singing music of varying styles and time periods. Somettos is an auditioned vocal ensemble for 9th and 10th graders. Semiquavers is an auditioned a cappella vocal ensemble for 11th and 12th graders. Extensive public appearances in the school and community are an integral part of the Semiquavers experience.