Offices & Resources

Music


About

The Music Program at St. Mark’s School serves a wide range of student interests and includes co-curricular vocal and instrumental performing groups; curricular classroom courses for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students; and a comprehensive private music lesson program.

We have a full schedule of music performances this year featuring our students and faculty as well as invitational festivals with guest student and professional musicians. Look in the events calendar for what’s planned for the school year.

Our Class of 1945 Hall is a popular recording venue for major artists and groups in the Boston area, including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, soprano Maria Ferrante, cellist Sergey Antonov, the Lydian Quartet, the Muir Quartet, Anonymous Four, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Boston Cello Quartet and the public radio show From the Top.

Nearly 100 St. Markers participate in music ensembles at the school. Most ensembles rehearse twice weekly during the school day. Ensembles include: St. Mark's Symphony Orchestra, Choir, Jazz Band, and two *a cappella* groups, the Royal Blues (girls) and the Marksmen (boys). some students also choose to participate in outside groups, such as the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.

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Music Samples

    Music performed on Family Weekend 2016

    Student Artwork Exhibited on Campus This Spring

    All year long, an abundance of student artwork has been on display all around campus. Currently this spring, visual art creations by St. Markers can be found in and around Taft Hall and throughout the corridors—particularly in the gallery space between the dining hall and the front reception area.

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    "Peter and the Starcatcher"—Winter Play This Week

    This Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (March 1, 2, 3) the St. Mark's Theater Department will be presenting the 2017 Winter Play. This year the production is Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice. Each performance begins at 7:30 PM in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Blackbox Studio Theater.

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    Music at St. Mark's: Winter Student Showcase

    On Tuesday evening, February 21, the St. Mark's Music Program presented the Winter Student Showcase on the stage of the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall. Nine students and seven different instruments were featured.

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    IDENTITY: SM Artists Exhibit Work at Lesley University

    This month, the Lesley University College of Art and Design is hosting an exhibition of artwork by students from New England preparatory schools in Lunder Arts Center's Raizes Gallery on Lesley's Cambridge campus. St. Markers in Barbara Putnam's Studio Two class were among students from thirteen participating schools.

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    Eleven Students Dazzle Audience at Spring Music Showcase

    On Monday evening, May 23, the annual Spring Music Showcase—the final regular student music showcase of the year—was presented in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall. Eleven St. Markers— eight Third Formers and three Fourth Formers—dazzled the audience with an array of talent.

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    Faculty

    Department Chair/Director of Music

    email
    508-786-6331

    [Full Profile]


    James Wallace


    Director of Jazz Band
    Guitar Teacher

    email

    [Full Profile]

    Stephen Fell

    Upcoming Events

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    Calendar

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    Performing Groups

    The Music Program at St. Mark’s School serves a wide range of student interests and includes co-curricular vocal and instrumental performing groups; curricular classroom courses for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students; and a comprehensive private music lesson program.

    Nearly 100 St. Markers participate in music ensembles at the school. Most ensembles rehearse twice weekly during the school day. Ensembles include: St. Mark's Symphony Orchestra, Choir, Jazz Band, and two *a cappella* groups, the Royal Blues (girls) and the Marksmen (boys). some students also choose to participate in outside groups, such as the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.

    St. Mark's Choir

    The members of the St. Mark’s School Choir rehearse twice each week and perform for major Chapel services and concerts during the year. The Choir, led by Music Director James Wallace, sings a wide range of music from traditional to harmonic singing to Sting. In recent years the Choir has joined with leading choral groups from Harvard, Dartmouth, Williams, University of Massachusetts and Boston University in festival concerts in our Class of 1945 Hall. The Choir has traveled to Japan, England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France. Auditions for new members are held in the fall.

    The Royal Blues and The Marksmen

    The Royal Blues and The Marksmen are female and male a cappella pop groups whose members are auditioned from the Choir each fall. The Royal Blues and The Marksmen perform concerts for the school and community and host groups from ten schools and colleges at our annual Wick Festival each February.

    St. Mark’s Chamber Players

    The members of the Players rehearse and perform separately as Strings and Winds, and often collaborate with the School Choir. Our student players have benefited from regular workshops and masterclasses with members of the Boston Symphony and the Lydian and Muir quartets.

    St. Mark's Jazz Band

    We have a lively program for rhythm and jazz players at St. Mark’s. The St. Mark’s Jazz Band rehearses twice each week and includes wind, brass, and rhythm players. Our students enjoy playing custom arrangements and benefit from guest professionals from the Boston jazz and popular music communities. The Jazz Band plays in three major concerts each year, including the Cutler Festival in the Spring when we welcome bands from other schools. Auditions for the Jazz Band are held in the Fall.

    Private Lessons

    Twenty professional musicians teach and coach in the SM Music program. Typically, over eighty St. Mark’s students participate in our private music lesson program. Lessons are offered for a fee on a credit or non-credit basis. Students may also seek permission to take lessons as an independent study project or in lieu of sports.
    [click here] to sign up for private lessons.

    Instruction is offered in these areas:
    • Keyboard — pipe organ, jazz, blues, classical piano
    • Voice
    • Strings — violin, viola, cello, bass
    • Guitar — acoustic, electric, bass
    • Winds — flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon
    • Brass — trumpet, trombone, French horn
    • Percussion — timpani, drum set, ethnic drumming

    Courses

    Music Studio
    Year

    Music Studio gives students an opportunity for intensive music practice, allowing them to make significant musical progress in one year. This work can take many forms: learning an instrument as a beginner, developing advanced skills, preparing for performances, auditions and college application recordings, or even independent study in theory, history or composition. Students focus not only on “learning songs” but on key skills: reading pitches and rhythms, using key signatures and sight singing. Extensive time and emphasis is placed on techniques of Intentional Practice—that is, how to practice efficiently for maximum progress. Students document their progress implementing these techniques in weekly practice videos. Practicing is also the primary homework responsibility, with a goal of three hours per week of practice outside of class times. Students perform for each other in class, in Student Showcase recitals, and for outside evaluators at exam times. The class is open to all music students of all levels and styles, in all instruments and voice. (Students enrolled in Music Studio are scheduled for one private lesson each week, for which an extra fee is charged ).

    Digital Recording, Composition and Sound Design
    Fall

    Students in this course will learn how music in contemporary popular/industrial idioms is created and recorded. Students will learn the basics of live audio recording, including ProTools recording software, basic physics of sound (acoustics and the human ear), microphone types and their appropriate use, and the signal flow that leads from the analog world to the digital. Students will also learn Ableton Live software, a fully integrated MIDI and recording suite designed for creating and mixing loops, samples and synthesized sound in popular idioms like hip hop. The main work of the class will consist of a series of creative projects (live recording, song composition, sound design, scoring for a film clip, etc.) which the students can complete using the digital audio workstations in the classroom. The class has no prerequisite; music reading is not required, though priority will be given to students who have taken Music Theory. (NOTE: This semester course may only be applied towards the arts requirement by students who enter St. Mark’s as 5th formers)

    Advanced Music Theory
    Year

    In Advanced Music Theory, students who have substantial musical background develop specific skills in composition, analysis, and aural perception. While emphasis is placed on the theory of tonal music of the western European Common Practice Period (1600–1900), students are also exposed to earlier modal music, music of non-western cultures and modern atonal music that illustrates the various experimental composition techniques of the 20th century. (Open to students in Forms IV, V, VI who have completed Music Studio, or with Department permission)

    Advanced Topics in Music
    Year

    Students who have developed their musical skills to an advanced level may pursue further studies independently in any area of musical interest. Each Advanced Topics student develops his or her own curriculum in consultation with the instructor and private lesson teacher. Common subjects include harmony, analysis, composition and music history in classical or jazz idioms. (Open to students in Forms V and VI who have completed Advanced Music Theory and have a demonstrated record of successful independent work. Department permission required.)