Music

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and life to everything.

Plato
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Whether giving wings to a new musical interest or furthering their repertoire of musical skills, instrumental musicians have many opportunities to share their talents and passions with the EHS community.

Classically trained cellists, jazz-inspired drummers, rock guitarists, and bluegrass fiddlers all find a home in which to study, explore, and perform. Students have numerous opportunities to work with professional instrumentalists in master-class settings, as well as to pursue private study on the instrument of their choice. There is rarely a moment without music on the EHS campus.

Episcopal’s extensive recording and popular music program gives students from all musical backgrounds a chance to study their favorite genres of music. EHS students have written songs; scored films; produced records; remixed songs from popular bands, such as Radiohead; and organized campus-wide concerts. The curriculum is based on three key points: analysis of popular works and the process that goes into creating them; hands-on experience in the state-of-the-art digital recording studio and extensive lab spaces; and careful study of the theory and science behind creating, documenting, and distributing music. Arts classes in recording technology, songwriting, guitar, popular music history, music business, and music theory are taught by faculty members with ample practical experience in their field.

Opportunities Include:

  • Full orchestra for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion
  • Jazz Band
  • Student-run "garage-bands"
  • Private study on all instruments
  • Guitar class
  • Recording and songwriting classes
  • Study of American popular music
  • On-campus coffee houses and open-mic concerts, as well as opportunities to perform in chapel and community meetings
  • Extracurricular options
  • Visiting professional musicians from all genres
  • Attendance at performances at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Birchmere, Blues Alley, and the 9:30 Club, among many others

Whether taking a first picture with a pinhole camera or discovering the intricacies of a Mozart Quintet, students at EHS have the chance to explore their creativity and further their artistic abilities. The program provides a breadth of experiences for novice artists while preparing those most advanced for training at the nation’s finest schools and conservatories.

Chair of the Arts Douglas Kehlenbrink

Artists in Residence

The residency of the Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra affords serious musicians the opportunity to audition for the group and, if selected, to rehearse with the ensemble on a weekly basis on campus in the Ainslie Arts Center. These rehearsals culminate in four concerts per year in Pendleton Hall. In addition, the National Chamber Players, made up of players from the National Symphony Orchestra, also work with students to improve their playing. Through firsthand experiences with professional musicians and attendance at numerous concerts by those same artists, students gain unique insights into the real world of professional orchestras.