Instrumental Music - Jazz and Orchestra

Bringing people together through music-making.  

Music serves as an important medium to bring people together at Menlo School. A community of musicians—who are also thinkers, artists, and athletes—the Menlo School instrumental music program welcomes intermediate and advanced musicians interested in creating music with their peers. Repertoire is chosen to celebrate and develop the unique musical identities of each student in the ensemble.

Menlo Orchestra 2017-2018


  • Jazz Band

    This is a year-long course.

    Jazz Band is open to all instrumentalists interested in elevating their musicianship through developing their performing and improvising skills through jazz and other jazz-related genres. In addition to learning standard tunes, students will also learn to create their own arrangements and original compositions for the band. The Jazz Band will perform at casual and formal events throughout the year. Past performances have included music by Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Esperanza Spalding, and Vulfpeck. Jazz Band may be repeated for additional credit. Watch a video overview of this course here.

    Prerequisites: Fluency on a melodic or percussive instrument

  • Chamber Orchestra

    This is a year-long course.

    Chamber Orchestra welcomes instrumentalists who are interested in a creative and collaborative process of making music. The repertoire is based on student interest and the rehearsal process goes beyond developing ensemble skills by integrating the discussion and analysis of history/context, harmony, and form. This ensemble will change the way you approach music and challenge the convention of which genres orchestras can explore. The orchestra performs several concerts throughout the year and past performances have included music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Astor Piazzolla, Joe Hisaishi, and Billie Eilish. Chamber Orchestra may be repeated for additional credit. Watch a video overview of this course here.

    Prerequisites: Fluency on a melodic instrument and reading standard Western music notation

Leo Kitajima Geefay Leo Kitajima

Instrumental music teacher Leo Kitajima Geefay is an active musician and educator with an eclectic background in violin pedagogy, improvisation, composition, and arranging. He earned his Master of Music Education degree at Northwestern University and is interested in creating lessons that intentionally connect different disciplines. Leo has co-founded a music education think-tank, WE ARE LIKE MUSIC, to promote creative musical projects for young musicians. He has also taught at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and is a masterclass teacher for many music workshops around the country.

Video: Sketches for 5 musicians

Video: Menlo Orchestra leads the Upper School in live karaoke

Video: Menlo Jazz performance at the annual holiday assembly