"Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education." - Yo-Yo Ma
Live music permeates school life. Students have the chance to explore and refine their musical aspirations through curricular performing ensembles. These ensembles include:
- Choral Arts
- Symphonic Band
- String Orchestra
- Jazz Ensemble
Other curricular offerings students can select from include Music History and Theory, Group Guitar, and Music Technology.
Four major student concerts a year are held in The Barton-Test Theater which has been recently renovated and features a Steinway Concert Grand Piano.
The music doesn’t stop when the school day ends. Extracurricular music includes private music lessons, the school musical and pit orchestra, and an a capella club. In addition, there are a number of teacher-led chamber ensembles such as clarinet choir, flute choir, and string quartets. Students also have time and space to rehearse with their own rock bands.
Our home in the lower level of the Arts Center has four large ensemble rooms and six practice rooms for individual or chamber music rehearsals. Students have access to digital recording software and music notation programs to create their own music and professionally record their performances.
Private lessons are available on any orchestral instrument, voice, guitar, and piano on campus from on-campus and visiting faculty. Students taking lessons have access to numerous performance opportunities including concerts, recitals, Wednesday Night Community Dinner, and Coffee Houses.
Westtown students annually participate in PMEA Festivals as part of the most competitive district in the state: District 12. Auditions for these highly selective ensembles take place in November and our students have participated at all levels of PMEA and NAfME festivals. In addition to our students regularly being selected for district and regional festivals, our students have been selected for All-State Choir, All-State Orchestra, All-State Symphonic Band, All-Eastern Symphonic Band, and All-National Orchestra.
Visiting artists give performances and master classes. Past artists include: Philadelphia Orchestra Timpanist Don Liuzzi, percussionist Toni Vacca, jazz pianist Terri Klinefelter, Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist Fenwick Smith, the saxophone quartet Habana Sax from Cuba, The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Indian mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, jazz violinist John Blake, jazz saxophonist Chris Farr, pianist Malek Jandali, and percussionist Duo Selah.
Westtown students go on to some of the most prestigious college music programs in the country such as Berklee School of Music, NYU, the New School, Oberlin College, and Vassar College.