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 Jazz Band
Menlo Jazz Band is open to all instrumentalists interested in 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 Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, John Hanson ’20, and Leo Jergovic ’21. Jazz Band may be repeated for additional credit.
Menlo Orchestra welcomes intermediate and advanced instrumentalists who play string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. The orchestra presents several concerts annually and performs repertoire from a wide range of styles, traditions, and eras. Students will develop their musicianship through a comprehensive experience including performing, ear-training, and analysis of the compositions being studied. Past performances have included music by Mendelssohn, Copland, Hisaishi (Studio Ghibli), Sufjan Stevens, and Coldplay. Orchestra may be repeated for additional credit.
Instrumental music teacher Leo Kitajima 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.