Performing is the Key
Students come to Milton with a broad range of musical experience, interest and talent. Regardless of level or prior exposure, Milton students learn to love and appreciate music—and to become skilled in the art—through performance. Whether in orchestra or jazz, Glee Club or a capella, Milton faculty understand that music is meant to be heard. That means that students develop the skills of making music through learning a wide variety of pieces and sharing them with an audience. Exposure to many different composers and artists—spanning centuries—and practicing those pieces not only strengthens technical skills like chord progressions, but it helps students build a greater appreciation for the music, deeper interest, and remarkable skill over time.
Music at Milton is all around—in morning assembly performances by one of Milton’s four a capella groups; at the annual spirit rally, where the talented jazz combos lead us off; at the favorite Gospel Choir assembly each spring, which gets everyone out of their chairs. Opportunities beyond campus are rich, and many students take advantage of spring break tours—to South Africa with the jazz program, or on a European tour with the Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra. On those trips, students often perform music in the very place it was composed—a particularly meaningful way of connecting with the art. Talented Milton musicians also take advantage of nearby resources of Boston—the New England Conservatory, and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras—to further their skills and expand their cultural experience. Whatever your interest, whatever your groove, you can make it happen at Milton.
Music: What, When and Where?
Music and performance weave through Milton life, building on course work available from the beginner through the advanced levels. Milton offers unparalleled opportunities for students who want to pursue music seriously as part of a broad high school education.
Students take private lessons and participate in ensembles at renowned institutions, including:
The New England Conservatory of Music: Youth Symphony Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Chorale
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras
Longy School of Music
Milton students participate in musical competitions sponsored by:
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
Harvard Musical Association
Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
Brockton Symphony Orchestra
More than 200 students participate in one or more of eight distinct choral ensembles:
Class IV Glee Club
Four a capella groups: The Miltones, Octet, Three For Each of Us, and Epic
More than 100 musicians play a string, woodwind, brass or percussion instrument for the Orchestral Music Program. Featuring many soloists, the orchestra performs two major concerts on campus each year. The orchestra is also well traveled, having toured Europe, China, the United States and Canada. The Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1993 to cater to the great number of talented orchestral musicians at Milton and is open to students by audition only.
Using what they learn about jazz improvisation in the classroom, Milton’s jazz combos, at four levels, perform both on and off campus throughout the year. The jazz combos and many of their members have won national and regional awards, performing at international jazz education conferences and at local renowned venues, such as Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge. The Jazz Program hosts professional guest artists who perform and work with students each year. Every other year, jazz students travel to South Africa over spring break to perform and share an appreciation for music in a meaningful cultural exchange. Milton offers all students the opportunity to learn about and perform jazz from an international perspective.
Music Facilities: The Kellner Performing Arts Center
The Kellner Performing Arts Center features dedicated classroom space for the choral, orchestral and jazz music programs. The Center also includes 10 practice rooms for individuals and small groups, several Grand pianos for practicing and performance purposes and a 2000 jazz CD library. Inside Kellner, concerts take place in the Ruth King Theatre, and musical groups also perform elsewhere in campus, such as in Apthorp Chapel and Straus Library.
When I was looking at schools, Milton’s jazz department stood out. It’s an interactive jazz program, and everyone gets the chance to play and perform a lot. You can take jazz as a class credit, so it becomes part of your everyday schedule. It doesn’t feel like a chore to practice—it’s a chance to relax, play, and just have fun. I also went on the South Africa jazz trip twice, where you get to perform many times, in lots of different settings, meeting amazing people from another part of the world.Alexander Chen