Music Education and Philosophy
Every human being has the capacity to grow in their musical, artistic, and creative abilities.
Our music program begins at age 3 and continues through all grades.
These activities (the foundation of the First Steps in Music curriculum by John Feierabend), which begin in Early Childhood, are designed to prepare children to become musical in three ways:
- Tuneful--to have tunes in their heads and learn how to coordinate their voices to sing those tunes
- Beatful--to feel the pulse of music and how that pulse is grouped in either twos or threes
- Artful--to be moved by music in the many ways music can elicit an emotional response
We build our musicianship in Early Childhood (PS, PK, M, K) by Musical Workout activities twice every 6 day cycle.
- Pitch Exploration (vocal warm-ups)
- Song Fragments (short, easy-to-sing pieces)
- Echo Songs
- Call-and-Response Songs
- Simple Songs
- Arioso (child-created tunes)
- SongTales (songs that tell a story, sung expressively)
- Movement Exploration (movement warm-ups)
- Movement for Form and Expression
- Movement with the Beat
In Primary and Intermediate Music (grades 1, 2, 3, and 4), we build on students’ “musical muscles,” adding xylophones/metallophones/glockenspiels, keyboards, and in grade 4, recorders to the instrumental repertoire. Students continue singing, moving, playing, notating, creating, analyzing, and exploring in our 2/6-day-cycle classes. They learn the art of choral singing in Ensemble (grades 3 & 4).
Our curriculum for these grades is based on “Gameplan: An Active Music Curriculum” by Jeff Kriske and Randy Delelles.
In Upper School Music (grades 5, 6, 7 and 8), we mix movement and analysis with focus on playing and singing music that students choose. Using the Little Kids Rock online program, in addition to other resources, students have a large bank of songs to select from during the 1/ 6-day-cycle classes. Their instrumental choices broaden, with the addition of bucket drums and guitars.
When we discuss the music that we listen to, move to, perform, and create, we consider many questions.
Why does this sound this way? How do our ears process sound? What happens on a molecular level to create sound? What patterns do you notice in this notation? How can you create your own notation to represent your creation? Why did the composer choose these chords to accompany these words? Why did the lyricist choose these words instead of others? How do you personally connect with the message of this song?
We listen to a wide variety of musical compositions in our classes. This year, we have focused on Schumann, Prokofiev, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Henry Mancini, Hans Zimmer, Ari Pulkkinen, and John Williams.
Students perform informally during the year, leading Mass and preparing songs for school-wide celebrations. All students in K-8 perform in a School-Wide Concert in December. They sing, dance, and play songs in this evening event. This year’s concert is Thursday, December 14, 2017 @6:30 p.m. in Antonian Theater.