Music at Bryn Mawr

Lower School

Girls in our Lower School are active music makers! The music curriculum reflects the philosophies of the Orff-Schulwerk approach, which is based on things that children naturally love to do: sing, chant rhymes, dance, and play instruments. Language is used as a bridge to musical rhythm, and active participation and creativity are emphasized. The Orff-Schulwerk approach is fully child centered, and it takes advantage of the natural stages of a child's development. Throughout the year, the girls showcase what they have learned by performing in the winter and spring concerts, International Bazaar, and various Lower School assemblies. Opportunities for ensemble performance are available through membership in the Choral Ensemble, open to grades four and five, and the String Ensemble, which is open by permission to students who take private lessons on violin, viola, cello, or double bass.

Middle School

The Orff-Schulwerk program is the foundation for learning music theory, music composition, and musical criticism in the sixth and seventh grades. This instructional format emphasizes creativity and improvisation; students use a variety of instruments to create and perform original compositions. In the eighth grade, students study the historical, musical, and artistic significance of some major works from the art music canon. Performance opportunities include compulsory participation in the Sixth-Grade Chorus, Sumus Deae (seventh- and eighth- grade choral ensemble), the String Ensemble, or Ex Solo (hand bell choir), all of which meet during the school day. Major concerts are presented in December and May.

 Upper School

Opportunities for making music include Camerata, Dayseye, Orchestra, String Ensemble, and the hand bell choir Ad Solem. Camerata, a chorus open to the lower three classes, and Dayseye, an auditioned choir for juniors and seniors, both focus on individual vocal training and ensemble development. Dayseye performs frequently for on-campus events, and the group travels both locally and abroad. Orchestra, open to wind and string players by permission, is offered during the fall semester, whereas String Ensemble and Ad Solem are activity period offerings that meet three or four times over a two-week period. All of the ensembles perform in the winter and spring concerts. Additional activity period offerings change from year to year, and guest artists come from many different styles and backgrounds. Arts Council, an active organization on campus, sponsors two coffeehouses and a Battle of the Bands each year. An acoustic festival, sponsored by the Guitar Club, takes place each year as well.

String Ensemble

Lower School String Ensemble is offered to all students in grades 3-5 who wish to study a string instrument.  Beginners will work together in small group settings learning the basic skills needed to play their chosen string instrument.  Students with lesson experience will be featured in performances with leadership roles.  

Middle, and Upper School String Ensemble membership is open to Bryn Mawr students with past lesson experience.  Enrollment in private lessons is strongly encouraged in order to be able to play the fun and challenging music at this level.  Each division will perform every semester.  Additionally, there are opportunities for outreach and occasional trips to perform in outside venues in Baltimore or Washington DC.

Inquiries about new membership may be directed to Matt Horwitz-Lee, Ensemble Director, at410-323-8800, ext. 1207 or

 Music School

Private music lessons for various instruments and in voice are offered at school. See Music School for more information.