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RPS Voices: The Rutgers Prep Blog

A Touch of Campus: Our Music Department
A Touch of Campus: Our Music Department

Despite the challenges of this year, the Rutgers Preparatory School Music Department continues to provide a vibrant array of musical course offerings to our Upper School students. The Department is committed to immersing our students in high-quality music instruction and safe music-making by upholding standard use of PPE, plexiglass shields, social distancing, and rehearsing outdoors as the weather allows. They are sharing the joy of playing together in student ensembles in person, providing enriching and engaging remote instruction, and eagerly awaiting the day when our virtual members join us again. The ensemble members in Band, Choir, and Orchestra have all been preparing Winter Concert repertoire, which will be released in a virtual video event in the coming weeks. The students and teachers are excited to share the fruits of their labors with the RPS Community!

Chamber and Upper School Orchestras have been rehearsing Winter Concert repertoire. Orchestra members have enjoyed a weekly presentation called “History Jueves” (History Thursdays) where they have delved into the history of Western Classical music, learning about Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical musical eras. In the remainder of the year, they will explore Romantic, 20th Century, and Contemporary music, as well as rehearsing Spring Concert repertoire.



Band students in Concert Band, Saxophone Ensemble and Brass Ensemble are each working on many selections of music as the year progresses. They have worked on project-based learning activities that involved creating duet videos, slideshows on music artists and composers, and a fun project called Soundtrack of My Life. Beat Battles have been enjoyed too!


Students in the Choral Program have been working on a variety of pieces for virtual choir and in-person performances, including a Beatles song, music from Broadway musicals, a civil rights song, Renaissance motets, and music from the American songbook. There have been units on the American Civil Rights movement and exploration of music from around the world. Class has included discussions and assignments about performances during the pandemic, and students have watched performances by some of the most innovative and exciting performing groups in the world today.

Our music theory class has covered the rudiments of notation, intervals, and basic harmony, and we will soon begin studying counterpoint. To ensure that our remote students stay in touch with music while away from the classroom, they have had the opportunity to create research projects and music videos on songs and pieces they love, or on artists and topics that are exciting to them. We cannot wait to have them all back in-person.



The RPS Music Department is proud to support a chapter of Tri-M, a National Music Honor Society.  The members of Tri-M have been focusing on the RPS mantra, "Community Continues". A pen pal program between our members and the 3rd-5th grade students in the Lower School has allowed us to share the joys of music during a time when they have been unable to take part in music ensembles. Lower School students look up to their Upper School peers and set sights on how they will grow musically as they continue to practice and play. Tri-M members are participating in virtual performances, and keeping the music department going this year through their leadership in their US ensembles - both virtually and online. 

Stay tuned for the virtual video event featuring our ensembles!

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