MusicThe third grade presents "Mary Poppins."
Lower School Music
Nursery - Grade 3
Starting in nursery, music class helps students learn to sing with confidence, listen well, and be comfortable on stage.
I want to give the children a good foundation for singing properly and for learning how to read music.” - Hope Wittrock, Lower School music teacher
Students begin learning to recognize notes in kindergarten and progress to reading music in first grade.
Their practice of rhythm, scales, and notes is complemented by learning to play a range of instruments: rhythm instruments, such as maracas and jingle bells; Orff instruments, such as xylophones; and recorders.
As part of the Lower School’s highly integrated curriculum, students often learn songs that connect with their other subjects. For example, when the third graders are studying westward expansion, they learn American folk songs from the period and discuss what one can discover about the pioneer experience from singing the songs they sang. Similarly, when students begin studying Spanish in kindergarten, their repertoire of songs expands to include both English and Spanish lyrics.
Performing is an important part of the Lower School music program. Through concerts and class plays, students learn to speak into a microphone with confidence, to memorize and deliver their lines, and to sing, dance, and work together as a group. The Lower School music experience culminates in the third grade musical where the entire grade comes together to perform a full-scale musical, such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Mary Poppins,” or “The Wizard of Oz.”
Middle School Music
Grades 4 - 6
Each student has his/her own soprano recorder and works to become a “Recorder Karate Master,” earning a new "belt" as each new fingering is mastered. Fourth graders spend significant time on the Orff instruments, learning song accompaniments and improvising pentatonic patterns. Songs and games often find touch points with students’ Social Studies units, such as playing stone-passing games during their study of Africa and performing a Fiesta during their study of Mexico.
Our goal is to foster a knowledge and love of music that will last a lifetime, while building a solid base of skills.” - Debbie Kerrick, Middle School music teacher
Building on their recorder readiness skills, fifth graders strive to achieve their "black belt" in "Recorder Karate" and frequently go on to play alto recorders. In a musical journey that parallels their study of American history, fifth graders listen to Civil War songs, learn about fife and drum corps, practice square-dancing, and study the American composers Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.
In sixth grade, students become independent musicians and demonstrate their musical knowledge through improvisation and collaboration in small groups. Sixth graders enjoy an in-depth study of jazz, comparing and contrasting swing, blues, and bebop. They learn to identify syncopated rhythms through listening and writing notation and synthesize many of these concepts through practicing an instrumental Orff-Schulwerk piece entitled “Street Song.”