Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (Princeton NJ)

  • Instructor: Nancy Graham
  • Class Title(s): Middle School Music; Upper School Music Theory, Appreciation, Honors Musicianship
  • Grades Levels Included: 6 through 12
  • School Profile:  Private school, grades 6-12, enrollment unknown
  • Structure of NTM Class(es)Middle School:   Sixth Grade:  each student builds and learns to play a dulcimer.  They then learn the basic conducting patterns and conduct the dulcimer consort. 7th Grade:  each student learns to play the guitar/works with GarageBand. 8th Grade: each student is in a musical production.
    Upper School: Music Theory I/II:  working with notation software, GarageBand, Practica Musica; Music Appreciation/History:  begin with contemporary popular music and work circularly; Honors Musicianship/AP Music Theory:  for the NTM, a culmination of skills; for the TM, AP credit.

  • Software Used: Finale, Practica Musica, GarageBand
  • Hardware Used: Guitars, dulcimer kits, smartboards, projectors, cameras, clavinovas, handbells.
  • Class NTM Activities:  Stuart has a very unusual and restrictive schedule as far as the arts are concerned.  Most of what we offer, except Honors/AP, is more of a club than a class.  When I finally accepted this, then the program took off.  I planned for what WOULD work and did not whine about what would not.  
  • History: I arrived at Stuart in 2001 and began with guitar.  All that was in place was chorus.  Now music is taken by 100% of Middle School and 60% of Upper School:  300 students. All students are treated as NTMs because our cyclical schedule deems it so. 


  • Success Stories from NTM Activities: Stuart, alone. raised nearly $20,000 for the World Food Program by making a Christmas CD including the schools of Princeton NJ.  The project has raised over $60,000 to date.  

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project: As stated above, whining about the lack of traditional support for music will get the students and you no where.  Move on: check the culture of your school and work within it.  After a few years, you will have all the respect and support you need. Listen to the students.  Start where they ARE and not what you believe they SHOULD be.

  • Date Submitted:  October 2009
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