Beginners, Preschool, and Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 2-6)
In the early childhood classes, music is comprised of fundamental lessons that prepare students to sing using proper breath support and exhibit characteristic tone quality and diction through a repertoire of age-appropriate songs and literature. Rhythmic activities incorporate kinesthetic movement to music, which enables all students to express themselves as a living component of the music. All of this is portrayed through various circle time activities. The curriculum also contains sessions in music appreciation, refining aural perception and quality of music in addition to studying biographies of significant composers and style eras in music. There are also units on the different instrument families and their uses and function in various ensembles. Ear-training is developed through pitch matching exercises utilizing familiar songs and a simple solfege system. The creative process and critical-thinking skills are enhanced by adding or changing lyrics to familiar melodies, which begins an early introduction to composition. Students are introduced to music vocabulary, which augments their current vocabulary and enables them to begin to speak in “musical sentences.” These words become part of their everyday speech.
Lower Elementary (ages 6-9)
Music class is based on fundamentals of music that teach students a rich and diverse music understanding. The curriculum addresses music appreciation, general knowledge of composers, styles and timelines of music eras, recognition aurally and visually of orchestral instruments, rhythm activities, proper vocal production, a repertoire of songs, and performance practice etiquette. Lower elementary students begin to demonstrate music skills learned in Kindergarten by putting concepts and learned benchmarks into every day practice. This is accomplished through a myriad of rehearsals culminating in the annual Winter Program which occurs in the first half of the year. The technique of singing with proper fundamentals, breath support, diction, enunciation and quality of sound, phrasing, and dynamics are all applicable and demonstrated through this performance. Once the Winter Program activities have been completed, students are enveloped in music appreciation from the great masters to modern music. When applicable, cross-curricular connections are made to assist diverse learning modes. The last third of the year is dedicated to the End of the Year Show. During this time all previously learned music skills and concepts are displayed. Vocal and facial expression are modeled by the music teacher along with rhythmic and kinesthetic motion to enhance the material being performed. Students then incorporate these skills and concepts into their individual and group performances to enhance the overall quality of each production. The second half of the year allows the students to display their music knowledge and skills garnered since preschool as the students assume some of the lead roles in the end of the year production. Students, in a collaborative effort, learn selections in a large group setting as the the concepts of musicality, expression, timing, and movement combine to produce a refined performance. The music teacher not only works with large groups, but also spends time working with soloists, continually diversifying instruction to meet the needs of all students. In this age group, heavy focus is in the understanding and application of music theory – the study of reading, writing, and playing music.
Upper Elementary and Middle School (ages 9-14)
Classes are comprised of lessons that provide students with a rich and diverse musical understanding and appreciation. The curriculum addresses music appreciation, general knowledge of composers, styles and timelines of music eras, recognition aurally and visually of orchestral instruments, rhythm activities, proper vocal production, a repertoire of songs, and performance practice etiquette. The educational curriculum begun in preschool continues sequentially as the student builds and continues to refine musical skills and concepts addressed in earlier years. The knowledge of orchestra instruments is now expanded to include concert band, jazz band, and even digital instruments. Recognition of musical dynamics now includes correct spelling and written definitions. This continues the cross-curricular concepts (English, grammar) introduced earlier. The reading of notation in both treble and bass clef along with definitions and enhanced fundamentals of music are demonstrated and built upon in preparation for the Winter Program. The second half of the year allows the students to display their music knowledge in their roles in the End of the Year Show.