The goal of the music curriculum is for students to become skillful, enthusiastic music makers and audiences. Folk songs, representing a variety of cultural traditions, rounds, hymns, spirituals and contemporary children’s music form the basic repertoire throughout the Lower School. Assemblies often provide an opportunity for singing as a community, and presentation of class plays. Instrumental activities are introduced as appropriate throughout the grades, and include drums, xylophones, boomwhackers, dulcimers, handbells, and Orff instruments, violin and miscellaneous percussion. Games involving movement to music lay the foundation for dance work. Students in Grades K-5 participate in music classes twice a week, once as a full class and once as a half group. Kindergarteners have an additional Sing-along time once a week, when both Kindergarten classes join together.
1st Grade students enjoy the many singing games and simple dances that build our sense of community. More complex songs, using percussion instruments as accompaniment, are exciting activities for the students. Reinforcement of basic reading concepts and pitch relationships happen, and students relish the connection of Social Studies themes within the music curriculum.
Kindergarteners are fully immersed in the joy of group and solo singing. Major concepts of steady beats, imitating rhythms, basic music symbols, responding to music with movement, and pitch echoes allow students to build the strong basis for further work. Two classroom performances during the year delight parents and students alike.
2nd Grade students begin to learn Orff ensembles on xylophones and metallophones. Further reading study incorporates notation of rhythms, counting systems, and more advanced pitch echoes. Native American studies in class are reinforced in the music realm.
All 3rd Grade students participate in a ten-week violin class, which culminates in a performance for peers and parents. Line and formation dances build large muscle responses to musical cues, and create understanding of preparation and cooperation. African studies in class are reinforced in the music realm.
4th Grade students are introduced to the soprano recorder, with emphasis on proper technique and reading skills. Music is regularly introduced on the staff, and allows students to reinforce pitch and rhythmic reading. Japanese studies in class are reinforced in the music realm.
5th Grade students prepare two- and three-part songs for several performances in the year. Soprano recorder study is continued, with the addition of alto or sopranino for appropriate hand sizes. Complex dance and movement work ranges from the “Thriller” dance to the Medieval Maypole and Sword dances.