We aim for students to develop music literacy with an appreciation for music from around the globe. Students build a strong foundation in singing as a means of expression and community connection and gain experience playing a variety of instruments throughout Primary School. Third through 5th grade students expand their study of music to include an emphasis on drama. Students learn basic elements of theater, such as vocal projection, diction, and inflection, stage movement, character development, and improvisation, as well as some of the technical aspects of theater. Fourth and 5th graders participate in chorus and small instrumental ensembles, which perform once a year. Additionally, our after-school music program
is a place for students of all ages to deepen their skills.
Folk songs and singing games from a variety of countries engage Kindergarteners’ imaginations and nurture their creativity in a playful, kinetic manner. Central to learning and composing music is the understanding that musical sounds and notations have patterns. While singing and playing rhythm instruments, students recognize patterns and use musical concepts of steady beat, rhythm, tempo, pitch, timbre, and dynamics. Using non-standard notation, they incorporate pattern and repetition in their compositions, including a class composition, which they perform in the spring.
First graders’ confidence grows as they are challenged with rhythm reading and dictation and encouraged to sing solo phrases. They learn songs in English and Spanish, games, partner dances, and body percussion. First graders sing songs selected to promote accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and begin to relate musical intervals using solfège.
Singing, improvising, and further expanding solfége and pitched percussion use broadens students’ understanding of pitch, melodies, and simple forms in music. Exploring the music and percussion instruments from a variety of cultures provides students with a deeper understanding of rhythmic patterns and instruments unique to a region or country. Playing recorders and reading standard music notation are also introduced this year with a performance during the 2nd grade curriculum celebration.
Students deepen their understanding of the elements of rhythm and pitch through solfège practice, singing, playing, and improvising more challenging melodic and rhythmic patterns. Continued recorder, pitched and unpitched percussion, and introductory ukulele or guitar skill development provides opportunities for students to interpret music and compare and contrast music from around the world. Performing in small and large settings furthers their collaborative ensemble skills. Students are also introduced to drama and project-based learning through a collaborative mini-film project and composing recorder melodies.
Through project-based learning, students collaboratively select, analyze, master, and perform diverse, unison and two-part music on recorder, guitar or ukulele, or pitched and unpitched percussion. Melodic solfège pattern work, singing, playing, and improvising more challenging melodic and rhythmic patterns are integrated into small and large ensemble lessons. Technical aspects of performance like stage management, lighting, narration, and program design are also introduced. In drama, oration and choral recitation skills are developed. Highlights of the year include a choral and instrumental performance and an oration celebrating social justice activists.
Increased musical independence is fostered in project-based small and large ensemble work in 5th. Voice and choice empower students to collaboratively choose, learn, adapt, and perform a variety of unison and two-part music on recorder, guitar or ukulele, keyboard, or pitched and unpitched percussion. Challenging melodic and rhythmic patterns are mastered through solfège practice, singing, playing, and improvising. Increased independence with creating and executing the technical aspects of performance like stage management, lighting, narration, and program design are also offered. In drama, students select and produce a bilingual play in Spanish and English.