Music is offered at every grade level at Holland Hall. Students may participate in musical programs at every level of experience and ability. Beginning in Primary School, students begin a musical journey that will present them with ongoing opportunities to grow and develop as musicians through Middle and Upper School.
The Holland Hall music department has created general goals that are adapted to the developmental level of our PreK – 3rd Grade students. Music classes provide a natural vehicle for individual creative expression and personal growth. The Primary School music program aims to develop each student’s musicianship by becoming an active, creative participant. Students will experience music through movement, songs, speech, and instrument playing which prepares them for music reading and writing. This is based on the creative teaching approach developed by Carl Orff. Our curriculum provides students with age-appropriate skills and a beginning understanding of composing, performing, reading and writing music, and music analysis.
Students learn the fundamentals of playing a stringed instrument. We offer violin, viola, cello and bass instruction in 6th-8th Grade. Students learn how to hold the instrument and read the appropriate clef. Concerts take place once a semester and are vital to the playing experience.
Students learn fundamental instruction in producing musical tones on band instruments. Each class participates in 2 concerts per year and levels of achievement are advanced through graded music for each level. Programs are chosen to fit the range in the directors’ selections, student selections and music the parents will enjoy. Participation at public performances is required.
String players continue to play more advanced repertoire and develop more advanced level skills. The Orchestra participates at the state contest in November, end of semester concerts and the ISAS arts festival in the spring.
Students from the band work on a selection to play with the orchestra students in the Spring semester. There are extra rehearsals involved and it gives the musicians the unique full orchestra experience. The Spring concert features this collaboration between the band and orchestra at Holland Hall.
String students that have proficiency and a strong desire to strengthen their skills may take the solo/ensemble class in addition to Upper School Orchestra. Students perform for special events at the school, concerts in the spring, district and state contest as well as performing at the ISAS festival.
Students continue the advancement of playing skills – private lessons are encouraged for first chair positions and all-district auditions. Classroom auditions are held to solidify music fundamentals such as scales, arpeggios, accountability for individual sections in folder music, and general musicianship.
The class includes smaller specialty groups including:
Participation at public performances is required.
The Middle School vocal music program is designed to teach choral music in a developmentally appropriate environment. 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades meet individually, allowing for the repertoire to be appropriate for each grade. Vocal music students meet in a room that has chairs on risers, and after the first week of school, singers will be placed in vocal sections (soprano or alto for 6th Grade, adding tenor and bass sections by 7th and 8th Grades). The goals of this class are to enable each singer to learn about his or her voice, to develop it through the vocal changes of adolescence, and to learn and present excellent, varied, and beautiful choral music.
Students will warm up their voices at the beginning of each class, led by the teacher. The solfege method of teaching sight-singing will be employed along with sight-singing exercises. Rhythm and musical symbols will be integrated into the teaching of vocal scores. Each student will have a folder of the music for the semester. Students will work each semester on the music selected for the two vocal music programs, one in December, and the second in May. In addition to music for their grade only, all students will learn several pieces in which the entire group will perform together, providing an opportunity for a much bigger choral sound.
Every year, the Middle School presents a musical.
The Upper School vocal music department offers several different performing ensembles from which students may choose and provides many opportunities for students to showcase their talents.
The Concert Choir, which is the largest music ensemble on campus, is open to all Upper School students. The Holland Hall Singers is an auditioned, smaller ensemble of Upper School students. And, for those students interested in a more active type of performing experience, there is the Holland Hall Show Choir, an auditioned ensemble that rehearses outside of the normal school day.
In addition to giving regularly scheduled concerts throughout the school year, these ensembles perform at events such as the annual Lessons and Carols Service at Trinity Episcopal Church, the Baccalaureate Service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and a variety of special events and assemblies within the Holland Hall and Tulsa community.
One of the highlights of the year for all of these performing groups is the annual Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) Arts Festival. Each year, approximately 2,500 high school students from other ISAS schools, meet at a different host school location for a two-day celebration of the arts. Holland Hall traditionally takes approximately 175 arts students to the festival each year to represent the school in a variety of arts disciplines including vocal music.