Music is crucial to development
Music education offers a unique learning opportunity to explore individual creativity, artistic expression, and in-depth understanding of cultures in the diverse world. Students may elect to take courses in either instrumental or vocal music no matter their previous experience or ability. The Music Department believes that the study of music is crucial in developing the whole boy since it requires empathy, self-discipline, and collaboration.
“[Music] has been one of my favorite classes. It is a challenge but it is so rewarding to practice and play a hard piece successfully. I always look forward to this class as it is a nice change of pace from my core coursework.”
- Justin Manafort ’23
Named after the school’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, the Riddlers are the top choral ensemble at Avon Old Farms School; the Riddlers are selected through a competitive audition process and have progressed through the various stages of choral training. The Riddlers’ repertoire is extensive and includes medieval chant, renaissance polyphony, romantic part songs, folk songs, and contemporary classical music. The Riddlers rehearse and perform independently and with the school’s larger choral ensembles. They travel for performances at major concert venues in New York City and Boston and have recently toured internationally in Ireland, Greece, Canada, and France.
Super G Jazz
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.
Music Enrichment Hour
Music students may use enrichment hour for additional rehearsal time, often according to an individualized plan developed in consultation with the teacher. The music wing of the Susan Casey Brown Auditorium features separate rehearsal spaces where students may practice individually or collaboratively on music projects.
New Avon Sound
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.
Students who have completed at least one year of Chorale or an equivalent at a previous high school are welcome in Honors Chorale. The ensemble is curricular and requires an audition. Students in Honors Chorale continue to refine their vocal technique and expand their understanding of music theory. Sight-singing is a regular part of the Honors level, and students work on their musicianship skills daily in class. Honors Chorale performs a wide variety of choral repertoire at regular performances on and off campus.
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.