Instrumental Music at Avon Old Farms School
Students involved in band or orchestra during their middle and high school years demonstrated significantly higher levels of math proficiency by grade 12. U.S. Department of EducationYoung men can tap into the music within under the guidance of our skilled and intuitive faculty.Instrumental music at Avon is divided into three performance ensembles: the Avon Big Band, The New Avon Sound, and the Chamber Orchestra. Students participate fully in regional and All-State honors programs of the Connecticut Music Educators Association, and National Association for Music Educators honors ensembles.
"There is no better thrill for me than to see our students progress and thrive, and I join them in the joy that music provides."
Rob Volo, Performing Arts Department Chair
Students can study one-on-one with faculty in weekly lessons for an additional fee. Study is available in voice, guitar, piano, percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments.
As members of the Big Band, students learn the basics of playing and the history of jazz. The band plays in an ensemble setting and course requirements include at least three performances during the school year. Students are introduced to the greatest jazz musicians and their impact on the genre. This course is open to all students at any experience level.
This elite jazz band is a select number of instrumental students who show exceptional skills in reading and improvising. This group plays music at the advanced level and performs numerous times throughout the year. In the past, the group has performed at neighboring schools such as Pine Grove Elementary and Miss Porter’s School. The curriculum includes advanced techniques in improvisation and the history of jazz music. Students will learn to transcribe and play solos, as well as how to develop their own improvisational skills.
This course is designed for guitarists of all levels; from the absolute beginners, to students who have been playing for years. Through the use of the online course, Guitar Now Online, and the technology of our music lab, students are able to work independently at any level, without disturbing others next to them, and at their own pace. An instructor is in the room monitoring and answering questions, as students learn basic chords or difficult rock guitar transcriptions. This course is offered as a full year course, or by semester. Due to the online aspect of the course, this class can be taken for as many semesters a student desires.
The Chamber Ensemble accepts any instrumentalist interested in playing "classical" repertoire; from Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, to arrangements of contemporary music from movie soundtracks, broadway, and popular music. Instrumentation includes traditional orchestral instruments, as well as pianists and keyboardists. The ensemble meets two evenings a week, and performs 4 concerts a year.
Starting as a student inspired jazz combo, Super G Jazz has become a mainstay in the Music Department since 2012. The ensemble plays and studies traditional jazz standards, and has many performing opportunities throughout the year. Meeting one evening a week, the group is designed for students that wish to explore and improve their improvisation skills beyond the Big Band setting. Emphasis is placed on increasing the students jazz vocabulary, while learning classic melodies of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Grant Green, and many other legends of jazz.
"I play cello every day solely to express the exquisiteness of humanity. I feel a deep, universal connection when I play music in front of an audience."
John Park '16
This course is designed to introduce the history of music to musicians and non-musicians alike. The course is open to all students and the design is catered to introducing the great music and composers of the past 400 years in a way that no formal music training is required.
Students will be asked to listen to and identify major works from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky, Copland, as well as many others, while they improve their listening skills. The course will also survey American music from the 18th century to today, focusing on Blues, Jazz, Swing, Pop, Rock, Country, and Rap. Assignments and discussions will focus on how social and political events have shaped the way music was written and enjoyed. This course will satisfy the arts requirement for graduation.
The Independent Study is designed for talented and motivated musicians who wish to pursue an in-depth study in a specific field of interest. Each student has an individual program of study developed jointly by the student and teacher to meet the student’s needs and interest. The independent study culminates in a public solo and/or ensemble performance. Such opportunities are based on faculty availability; normally, this arrangement is based on a semester or trimester basis, depending on whether meetings take place during a regular academic class period or during the afternoon sports period.