K-12 Program

Students at Hoff-Barthelson pursue their journey of musical growth under the guidance of our distinguished faculty, who encourage them to explore their musical ideas, imagination, and potential in a familial setting of friendship and support. Every student follows an individualized pathway based on interests, needs, and learning style. The curriculum is grounded in the Western classical and jazz traditions, but students may also pursue other forms of music, including rock, pop, and musical theater.

Our comprehensive sequential curriculum for ages 4 through 18 combines weekly private lessons with musicianship classes, ensemble instruction, and frequent rehearsal and performance opportunities with professional accompaniment—all under one umbrella tuition. This all-encompassing approach sets Hoff-Barthelson apart from other music education offerings in the region and across the country. We welcome everyone—from casual learners to students whose goal is pre-professional training at the collegiate level.

Students may begin instruction at any age. We take great care to assess each child’s particular interests and needs before assigning teachers, classes, and ensembles, so the first step for interested families is to request a placement interview—not an audition, but a welcoming introduction to Hoff-Barthelson’s individualized approach to music education. Students may enroll throughout the year for private instruction. Registration deadlines for classes and ensembles vary.

Participation in ensembles and musicianship classes is offered free of charge to students enrolled in private lessons at Hoff-Barthelson. Students who take private lessons outside of the school may enroll in classes and ensembles for a fee.

Private Instruction
Private instruction with a member of our expert faculty is at the core of the school’s curriculum for students at all levels. We offer lessons in all instruments and voice for two 16-week semesters during the academic year. Students are matched with appropriate instruments and teachers, who carefully monitor their progress during their time at the school. Year-round performance workshops and recital opportunities complement individual instruction and introduce the joy of performance. Professional accompaniment is available during lessons, workshops, and recitals throughout the year.

For students who want to continue their studies during the summer months, we offer a five-week session of summer lessons from late June through the end of July. Students are not required to enroll for the full session and may take as many or as few lessons as desired.

Musicianship Classes
Our comprehensive, sequential musicianship classes promote music literacy through sight singing, ear training and dictation, eurhythmics, notation, composition, and analysis of musical form. Classes in the fundamentals of conducting, composition, music history, and music technology round out this program. Students enjoy the opportunity to work with their peers in age- and level-appropriate classes, meeting once a week for 40, 55, or 70 minutes. Classes are offered without charge to students enrolled for private instruction. Other students may purchase these classes individually.

Ensembles and Clubs
From the earliest stages of proficiency, students are encouraged to join one of nearly 40 vocal and instrumental ensembles and clubs. Ensembles are designed to enhance private lessons and provide the unique pleasure of performing with one’s peers. Students explore masterworks appropriate for the level of each ensemble. Chamber ensembles give students a chance to play together in duos, trios, quartets, and quintets while gaining valuable life skills like shared leadership, teamwork, and negotiation. Choral groups provide opportunities for students to develop their musicianship, ensemble skills, and vocal talents. Each group performs periodically throughout the year. In popular weekly instrument clubs, students with varied ability levels play the same instrument or family of instruments together under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Some clubs span age groups, with teens mentoring younger students. For the most advanced students, well-known guest artists and members of the New York Philharmonic regularly give master classes and coach ensembles.

Hoff-Barthelson is the only community music school in Westchester with a four-tiered orchestral pyramid, culminating in a full symphonic orchestra for high school students at the highest level of technical ability and musical artistry. String, brass, and wind players hone their technical skills and musical sensibilities in Young People's Symphonette, Chamber Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble in preparation for membership in the audition-only Festival Orchestra.

Performance Opportunities
Each year, Hoff-Barthelson presents more than 200 public recitals and concerts by students, faculty, and guest artists. Performance workshops are musical laboratories where students can experiment with musical ideas, play for peers and teachers, hear critiques of their work, and iron out the wrinkles in their performances in a relaxed setting before presenting them before an audience. Multiple student recitals are held weekly from October through June for students who are ready to perform. Honors students present recitals twice a year. Graduation recitals are presented by high school seniors and Hoff-Barthelson graduation certificate recipients. The annual Festivals in Style feature performances by guest artists, student ensembles, and student soloists selected by audition.

Jazz Studies
Hoff-Barthelson’s Jazz Studies Program features private lessons, ensembles, and improvisation, arranging, and theory. Private instruction in winds, brass, piano, percussion, and guitar in a variety of jazz techniques and styles is offered for students at all levels of technical and musical experience. As they learn jazz standards and the music skills necessary to improvise, they join one or more of our jazz and rock ensembles. The Jazz Studies Program presents three concerts each year. Students and ensembles have added opportunities to perform during recitals and music festivals throughout the year. The faculty includes some of the most renowned instrumentalists on the jazz scene today. Master classes by leading musicians are a highlight of the school year.

Master Classes
Students recommended by their teachers may participate in master classes conducted by guest artist performers and teachers. Chamber ensembles receive coaching from New York Philharmonic members during the annual Elaine Stamas New York Philharmonic Educational Residency.

Honors Program
The Honors Program for gifted and committed students, selected through auditions, has produced prize-winning performers in national and international competitions. Many choose to pursue careers in performance and teaching. Honors certificates are awarded annually, and special graduation certificates are presented at the end of high school.