Music and Drama


uxton offers a large and diverse range of performing arts options, from Western African dance to jazz ensembles to our annual All-School play. Through top-tier instruction by our art staff and the commitment of our students, we are able to offer a program that is both welcoming and high-caliber.

Students can take part in music, drama, and dance through both classes and afternoon and evening activities. All of the performing arts perform at our Fall and Spring Arts weekends, where family, friends, and the whole Buxton community get to celebrate their talent and hard work over the past term.

Chamber Music

Students who are interested in playing chamber music may participate in one of a number of group ensembles. They vary in size and instrumentation and are individually coached by the music faculty. Duos to seven-piece jazz ensembles form each semester to rehearse and perform student composers’ work as well as standard repertoire. Rudimentary sight-reading ability is necessary. Performances are given several times each year.

Chamber Orchestra

Chamber orchestra is open to all students who have an interest in playing music in a larger group. A wide variety of instruments can be accommodated in the chamber orchestra. Repertory works are performed during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends, and in the winter the orchestra provides music for the touring All-School Play. Recent performances have included Bach’s Orchestra Suites in C and D, Handel’s Water Music, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture; waltzes and rags by Scott Joplin; and arrangements of pieces by George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.


Choral activities and vocal ensembles are open to all regardless of prior experience. Twice a year, major choral works are undertaken. An additional piece involving all students and faculty is performed at Graduation. Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Missa Brevis K.220 and Requiem K.626, Schubert’s Mass No. 3, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cécile, and Carl Orff’’s Carmina Burana have been performed in recent years.


This activity explores West African, Afro-Caribbean, modern, ballet, and other creative influences in dance, focusing on traditional-folkloric and contemporary influences in original student compositions. Several levels of classes run from November through May, accommodating beginners as well as experienced dancers. Individual and group choreography performances are given during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends.


This semester, the drama class will be divided into two overarching units: first, in the winter, we will focus on physical, emotional, and analytical acting skills such as character work, improvisation and physicality, and an introduction to stage combat, among other things. This building and strengthening of our actors’ toolkit will create a strong foundation to focus on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream after spring break (depending on how many students there are in the class). A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes some really fun argument/fight scenes, and is generally rife with misunderstandings, confused communication, and the absurd events that ensue. This play is a great way to practice the skills we’ll build in the beginning of the semester, and strengthen our toolkit further.

What this class will not be is one where you’re handed a script and told to work on it alone; with the help of books, the internet, and close readings of the text, we’ll work together to puzzle out challenging or convoluted scenes & utilize the tools in our toolkit from the beginning of the semester to perform these scenes. While we will analyze the text for meaning, the majority of this class will be on stage, practicing scenes and feeling the characters. We may watch different plays (not just A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and analyze the different acting choices made, and use these observations to influence our own acting. We will continue our physicality practice, and keep working with characters as we practice scenes from the show.

Drumming and Percussion

Studies include hand and stick techniques, traditional arrangements, and individual compositions. Areas to be considered are West African, Afro-Caribbean, and contemporary influences in original student compositions. Performances with dance are held during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends.

Fall and Spring Plays

These productions are cast at the beginning of each term and involve students of all grades who wish to be considered for a part. There are no requirements for participation. Casting is at the discretion of the directors, but we strive to involve as many different students as possible. We also take into consideration the needs of the actors. One student might be ready for a challenge, so we will cast them in a difficult role on purpose. Another might be trying out for the first time and we want to celebrate their courage by giving them a small part. These plays rehearse two evenings a week, for two hours each time (though not all students are required to be at every rehearsal for the full two hours). Other students, as volunteers, are in charge of lights, sets, props, and costumes. Some of the work for these crews happens during the evening rehearsals, some happens during Work Program hours. Adults are involved in these crews as well, but students are, and need to be, the primary participants.

Music Theory and Composition

Music Theory and Composition is a course focused on creating music written in Western Classical notation. By the end of this course, you will understand the building blocks of sheet music as tools for reading and creating music. These fundamentals include staff reading, rhythm values, key signatures, chords, basic ear training, and much more. Concepts in this course will be explored through project based compositions: writing your own melodies, chord progressions, and creating simple compositions and arrangements of your own. Any level of musical understanding and interest is welcome.

Songwriting and Technology

Songwriting and Technology will explore how to write music that is typically non-notated, such as pop, rock, indie, etc. At the end of this course, you will be able to write a basic song of your own using music software as your main guide. Beat making, melody writing, chord progressions, song structures, lyric-writing, etc. are essential tools to our songwriting process. We will explore many genres and artists together, but your personal musical taste and interests will be your main guide to creating music that is most interesting to you. New concepts will be explored with personal compositions in various genres and styles, such as lo-fi hip-hop and ambient music. Any level of musical experience and understanding is welcome.

Private Music Lessons

Lessons in piano, voice, and most instruments can be arranged.


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