As music is fundamental to human expression on many levels, at UNIS, our Music Department gives students the curriculum and environment to learn about, explore, experience, perform and enjoy music in relation to themselves, others, and the world around them, past and present. From Junior School through Tutorial House, and, for some, culminating in IB Music, UNIS Music cultivates the development of vocal, instrumental and theoretical skills that are necessary for aesthetic enrichment and creative musical expression. Through this process, our overarching goal is to also develop life worthy skills necessary for creating global citizens of high character.

Gary Capetandes, Music coordinator - allegra levy, administrative coordinator & private lesson coordinator

To contact the music department, please email: Alevy@unis.org or Gcapetandes@unis.org or you can reach us by phone at (212) 584-3168.

Winter Concerts

 

Curriculum Overview

Junior School

Students in the Junior School develop musical skills and literacy through singing, movement and instrumental playing. A Kodály-centered approach from Pre-kindergarten through Junior Four engages children in active music making, with their voices as the first and main instrument. Singing games and dances help to internalize music concepts and teach music in real-life situations. Song repertoire is drawn from a wide variety of cultures and contexts within each culture; students explore songs for work, play, ceremony and reflection. A series of Junior School assemblies feature group singing in a communal setting. Students in Junior Four begin to learn the recorder, an experience that supports the bridge connecting class singing and instrumental playing.

Middle School

Students in the Middle School continue to explore and develop the essential skills that are necessary to be part of a musical ensemble. These skills include increased technical proficiency and expressiveness on an instrument or voice, self-discipline, personal organization and individual effort. Solo and small-group opportunities for performance also exist. The emphasis is on performing, but class activities also include regular ear training, listening, theoretical exercises and activities involving composition and improvisation.

The Middle School program is based on the belief that Middle School students should continue to be involved in active music making as they have since Junior A, with the shift in focus to more specific instrumental and group performance skills.

M1 INSTRUMENTAL/VOCAL INSTRUCTION

In M1 students choose an ensemble instrument (voice, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and euphonium) to study as part of the larger ensemble program. The students meet once per week in specific instrumental group classes taught by highly skilled professional performer/teachers. The remaining two classes per week are divided into woodwinds, brass, string or vocal ensemble. These classes focus on developing group playing skills, learning to follow a conductor, elementary level repertoire, as well as ear training and general music theory. The rental of an instrument is a required additional expense. We have working relationships with two excellent rental companies: Music And Arts for wind and brass instruments, and Johnson Strings for violin, violas and cellos.

M2-M4 MUSIC OPTIONS

Students in M2 have the choice to continue with their instrumental ensemble or participate in the chorus/general music program. In choosing to continue in band or string ensemble, M2 students and their families are also making a commitment to private lesson instruction (at additional cost), as well as to the regularly scheduled ensemble class. Private lessons serve as an important co-requisite to the program in that the individual lessons target specific instrumental techniques necessary for the progress of each student. These lessons may be taken here at UNIS with our excellent adjunct faculty (if the student’s schedule permits), or with a private teacher elsewhere who is approved by the UNIS Music Department. In addition, UNIS string ensemble students participate in the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) benchmark exams in both M2 and M4. UNIS Band students are exposed to an internal benchmark protocol but participate in the ABRSM program as an option with private teacher approval. More information about these exams may be found at www.abrsm.org

In M2, Middle School Jazz Band is offered as an extracurricular ensemble to instrumentalists. This ensemble is offered by audition or recommendation by instructors and includes M3/M4 students as well.

If a student decides not to move forward with an instrument, he or she will be placed in a chorus/general music class. This class will include a variety of activities centered on vocal skills and musicianship (ear training, notation, sight-singing/rhythm reading, and music appreciation through guided listening). No private lessons are required for the general music/vocal course of study. Private lessons in voice, piano, or guitar are offered as an extracurricular option. Curricular choral activities vary slightly depending on the nature and interests of the students as well as the number of students enrolled. In past years, the chorus class has included modules in African dance, Jazz dance, and drumming.

In M3, choral members (non-instrumentalists) have a choice to pick from the following 3 classes:

  1. Chorus - full year commitment     
  2. Intro to Songwriting & Composition- 1 semester long
  3. Drama - 1 semester long                          

If chosen, note that Chorus is a 2 semester/full year commitment.

If Chorus is not chosen, M3 students will be placed in both Drama and Intro to Songwriting and Composition classes, each 1 semester long.

In M4, non-instrumentalists have a choice to pick from the following 4 classes:

  1. Chorus - full year commitment
  2. Music Theory/Music Production - 1 semester long
  3. Drama - 1 semester long
  4. Guitar - 1 semester long

If chosen, note that Chorus is a 2 semester/full year commitment.

Otherwise, M4 students choose 2 classes, each 1 semester-long, from the remaining 3 options (Music Theory/Music Production, Drama or Guitar).

M3 and M4 music students have the optional extracurricular opportunities listed below. These ensembles are offered by audition or recommendation by instructors.

  • Honors Band
  • Honors Chorus
  • Honors Strings
  • Middle School Jazz Band

The student's Middle School musical experience should be positive, rewarding, and appropriate to his or her interests as much as possible. We urge a student to consider these options carefully before making a decision. Please feel free to contact the music office with any questions or concerns by email (Alevy@unis.org, gcapetandes@unis.org ), or via telephone at (212) 584-3168. 

Tutorial House

Students in the Tutorial House are offered the chance to specialize in one particular strand of music, many having spent their Middle School years engaged in more broad-based activities. They may choose to focus on performing in ensembles or music theory/composition. In the case of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program offered in Tutorial Three and Tutorial Four, students are charged with a full immersion in performing, composing, music history, and music theory/form and analysis. Success in the IB program is a recognized and significant mark of achievement for UNIS students. The Music curriculum from Pre-kindergarten to Tutorial 2 has been designed to give students the skills necessary to become capable and enthusiastic IB candidates. 

Listed below are the Tutorial House ensembles and music classes.

UNIS TH Ensembles

  • Senior Chorus
  • Vocal Chamber Ensemble
  • Wind Ensemble
  • String Ensemble Camerata
  • Performing Arts
  • Jazz Band (extracurricular)
  • Tut 1 & Tut 2 Guitar

Music Theory Classes

  • T1 Music Theory and Composition
  • T2 Music Theory (IB Prep)

ABRSM

Letter to Parents about ABRSM

Each year, the UNIS Music Department is proud to offer students the opportunity to participate in the graded practical examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). Associated Board practical exams provide a progressive system of assessments, beginning with a Prep Test and moving up through 8 grades to the awarding of diplomas. The exams are designed to motivate students at all levels by providing clear, attainable goals. The grades are recognized as international benchmarks, and are valued by teachers and institutions all over the world. The exams take place here at UNIS in the last few weeks of April and first week of May. We highly encourage any interested student to participate in this valuable learning and performing experience! The fees for the ABRSM Exams are listed below.

 

If you are interested in having your child participate in the exam, you must contact the private teacher to determine the appropriate level. If your child takes lessons outside of UNIS, please make sure that the contact information for the private teacher is included on the registration form so we help them with access to material. More detailed information about the philosophy of the ABRSM Exams and the specific requirements can be found at www.abrsm.org. Please do not hesitate to contact Allegra Levy (alvey@unis.org) with any questions.

ABRSM for M2 and M4 Strings

 

Each year, the UNIS music department is proud to offer students the opportunity to participate in the graded practical examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). The Associated Board practical exams provide a progressive system of assessments, beginning with a Prep Test and moving up through 8 grades to the awarding of diplomas. The exams are designed to motivate students at all levels by providing clear, attainable goals. The grades are recognized as international benchmarks, and are valued by teachers and institutions all over the world.

Participation in the ABRSM exams is required for M2 and M4 string ensemble students. The fees for these exams are partially subsidized by the music department for these students, and an accompanist is provided for one rehearsal and the exam at a cost of $20.00. You are also welcome to us your own accompanist.

Private teachers in conjunction with ensemble teachers will determine the appropriate level for each student. If your child takes lessons outside of UNIS, please make sure that the contact information for the private teacher is included on the registration form so we help them with access to material as well as guidance for preparation. 

More information about the exams generally may be found on their website at www.abrsm.org. Please go to the link here for the schedule of fees.

Patricio Diaz, UNIS String Ensembles

Private Lesson Registration

To register for our private lesson program, please follow the link and sign up! 
 

Click to Access the UNIS Private Lesson Program