Not Alone in Music

Daniel Stock

High School band and creative music students continue weekly study on the music of Duke Ellington. Band director Brad Linde called the unit “Melancholy themes for indoor quaranteens.” Last week, they dove into Ellington’s 1934 piece “Solitude.” On GDS Instagram, you  can view Sophomore Max Mendelsohn’s low-fi version for relaxation, study, and/or social distancing in D-flat; check out Berret Yuffe’s vocal/piano treatment in G; or watch Brad’s own “jaunty bop-nonstop in E-flat.”

In Middle School, students in band keep in regular contact with band leader Sasha Soper with audio/video recordings and feedback by email. The regularity of feedback and teacher attention has kept students engaged and learning. In sending her audio clip, Amelia ’24 wrote, “Hi Sasha, Here is my band homework for the week. I’m excited for online band!” Students were assigned excerpts from the Opera “Carmen.”

In response to 6th grader Zoya’s video, Sasha wrote, “Zoya, excellent playing. Your rhythms are accurate and your notes are correct. If you have a metronome available (I’ll attach a link if you don’t) I would like you to set it to 63 and play along with it. It will really help you stay in tempo. Remember, only use the metronome after you are comfortable playing a section. Keep up the good work.”

To Jacob ’26, Sasha wrote, “Nice job Jacob...keep it up. A couple things: 1) Make sure you are holding the long notes at measure 11 for their full value. Those tied notes are longer than they seem at a slow tempo. 2) Watch the rhythm carefully at measure 19....play it evenly ...One Two-and One Two-and One  Two-and One.

Tricia Nevarez has been keeping Lower School students close with band sectionals. In the gallery below, you can see photos of these various groups practicing together, including flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophone, and percussion.

In the coming weeks, GDS will be exploring ways to share more of our students’ music with the broader community.

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