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  • Music

Our Program

Music is an important part of every child’s life at GDS. We seek to create a foundation for a lifelong love of music and to foster active audiences, accomplished performers, and musically literate students.

Lower/Middle School

In classes, assemblies, and informal get-togethers, Lower/Middle School children experience the joy and beauty of musical expression. Students experience the different elements of music through movement, singing, and playing instruments, gaining the foundation necessary for an intellectual understanding of music. The music faculty uses several instructional techniques with all teachers being certified in Orff Schulwerk as the foundation for their teaching process. All three music rooms are fully equipped with the Orff instrumentarium, including xylophones, glockenspiels, unpitched percussion, and other auxiliary instruments. In addition to the general music instruction, students 4th grade and up can elect to take concert band and chorus as an enrichment opportunity within the school day.

Every grade level pre-K to 9th grade performs publicly several times per year for major school festivals or culminating concerts.

The music program incorporates global music to provide cultural context and a lens into others’ experiences. To ensure authenticity, we have taken advantage of our DC location and partnered with embassies.

The music program is cross-curricular to align with studies of each grade level and homeroom, for example while the 4th grade studies ancient civilizations' celebrations in humanities, students learn Chinese folk songs and xylophone pieces from Mali. The music program also collaborates across divisions and with peer schools, providing for mentorship and growth opportunities.

During their time at the Lower/Middle School, student musicians will have the opportunity to travel to local and regional musical competitions.

High School

The music program at the High School provides opportunities for novice musicians to the accomplished. From beginning chorale to advanced music theory and jazz ensemble to musical theater, the music curriculum and extracurricular music programs offer students a wide range of vocal and instrumental training.

Signature Programs

Semester Concerts
Each semester, GDS musicians have the opportunity to perform in band and choral concerts at GDS and around the community. Many events are cross-divisional, enabling mentoring between younger and older performers.
Regional Festivals
Throughout the school year, student musicians take part in DC-area musical festivals, including the prestigious Independent Schools' Choral Festival.
High School Jazz Festival
This spring event brings together area high school bands in adjudicated performances as well as performances and masterclasses by local and internationally-acclaimed guest artists.
Musicals
Each year in both the High School and Middle School, students participate in powerful dramatic productions, displaying their skills in music, dance, and acting. 
authentic cultural experiences
Our music departments introduce students to world music—for example Malaysian Wau Bulan, Chinese folk songs, and xylophone pieces from Mali—in authentic and respectful ways.
Traveling Musicians
During their time at GDS, student musicians have the opportunity to travel to and compete in national and international music events, for example in New York, Boston, and Europe.

Meet the Team

Keith Hudspeth

Lower/Middle School Music Teacher; Lower/Middle School Arts Department Chair

John Barnes

Lower/Middle School Music Teacher, Sixth Grade Advisor, Grade Level Coordinator

Brad Linde

Jazz and Creative Instrumental Music Teacher

Tricia Melka

Lower/Middle School Music Teacher

Heather Philips

Lower/Middle School Music Teacher

Sasha Soper

Lower/Middle School Instrumental Music Teacher

Jason Strunk

High School Vocal Studies Teacher