every boy has a musical voice.

The strong Gilman music program opens boys' ears to music, its many genres, nuances and methods of creation, and gives them a lifelong gift of appreciation. Boys are offered a wealth of diverse opportunities to explore the kinesthetic, creative, collaborative, and just-plain-fun aspects of making music, mastering a musical instrument, collaborating with other students in a performance group, writing or arranging music for a vocal ensemble, or studying the development of Western music.

Lower School


Instruction in music begins with the very youngest boys. In pre-k, kindergarten and prep one, they begin to take music class. In the fifth grade, all boys study a band instrument and sing in the chorus. All grades participate in two concerts a year and there is a select group of 4th and 5th graders who participate in a singing group, the Treble T's. 

The philosophy and work of Zoltan Kodály, (1882-1967) Hungarian composer and music educator, provide the foundation for the Lower School vocal program. The boys develop musical skill in pitch, rhythm, form, and harmony and grow in competency in performance, literacy, and appreciation of folk and classical music. The program is designed to be sensitive to child development with particular attention to the emerging understanding of boys' learning styles, their natural strengths, and preferences.

Music Class

Lower Schoolers learn developmentally-appropriate musical concepts through listening, singing, or movement experience. Boys lift their voices in song and truly feel the beat with their whole bodies.

Middle School


Boys continue to take either general or instrumental music in each of their three years in that division; both general music and band are classes. In fact, in any given year, 70 to 80 percent of Middle School boys participate in a performance group.

The Middle School general music program seeks to build upon students' knowledge and understanding of the basic elements of music (timbre, rhythm, pitch, form, and dynamics) through interaction with musical creation and performance. In class, students play a variety of instruments, imitate the compositions of current and past musicians, integrate an assortment of cultural influences, read works from those with extensive musical careers and experiences, and produce original music in individual and group projects. Boys view each activity through the lens of World Music and American Music, and their goals are deliberately designed to aid students in building a community of intercultural conversation through the language of music. With sound as their guide, boys become musically-experienced advocates of diverse cultural expression.

Performance Experience

The majority of Middle School boys participate in a performance group, either through the concert band or club activities such as the Middlemen, Middle Ts, jazz band, string ensemble, or hand bell choir.

Upper School


All boys are required to take a music history course in the sophomore year as part of the humanities program. The tenth course aims to introduce students to major developments in Western art and music, coordinating with the History Department's chronological survey of European culture, the Art Department's survey of Western Art, and the English Department's survey of Western Literature. Western art and music are studied within the context of moral, political, and philosophical principles of each period in Western history, and the survey will take students from Gregorian Chant, through Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music, all the way to contemporary music and jazz. The course will also introduce students to the fundamental elements of music, enabling students to listen to and to discuss music (whether it be "Classical" music or pop music of their choice) critically and analytically.

Those students who continue in vocal and instrumental music performance groups, either through classes or club activities, are young men who enjoy the study of music.

Continued Study

Upper School Students who continue in performance groups are young men who enjoy the study of music. Concert band, glee club, string ensemble and jazz band are classes; the hand bell choir and the Traveling Men are club activities.

Music Instructors

Ariel Dechosa

Director of Music
After School Music Program
String Ensemble Director

Cheryl Nkeba

Upper School Music Coordinator
Jazz Ensemble Director

Peter Lander

Middle and Upper School Band Director

Elizabeth Sesler-Beckman

Middle School Music Teacher
Middlemen Director

Robby Ford

Glee Club Director
Traveling Men Director

Amy Cyman

Lower School Music Teacher

Cheri McElroy

Lower School Music Teacher


of our students participate in performing arts