The purpose of the music program is to awaken and develop every child’s inherent musicality. The Orff-Schulwerk process, designed for all children, not just the talented few, is the foundation for the curriculum. We encourage and nurture full participation in the musical experience through a combination of aural, visual, and kinesthetic learning modes. The musical elements of rhythm, texture, form, expression, and color are experienced through exploration of a variety of media: song, speech, movement, dance, games, and instruments. These experiences are carefully sequenced to provide step-by-step development in both skill and understanding.
The music classroom provides a valuable forum for self-expression while helping to develop a sense of ensemble and structure. The special Orff melody instruments include wooden xylophones and metal glockenspiels that offer good sound immediately. Played together as an ensemble, their use helps children become sensitive listeners and considerate participants. Topics introduced in the classroom provide inspiration for music activities. Some of these activities are collaborative efforts with dance and drama.
In kindergarten through second grade, musical elements are explored through singing activities, creative movement, body percussion, folk dancing, and playing pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. All activities are designed to promote solid ensemble skills in the developing musician. Culminating activities, often in collaboration with other arts specialists, take place throughout the year.
As each child’s intellectual and motor abilities increase, so does the level of sophistication of music class activities. In third through fifth grade, the soprano recorder becomes an integral part of the music class experience. Over the course of the year there are several opportunities for children to share their musical creations with an audience of parents, teachers, and peers.
The Elementary School Chorus is composed of second through fifth grade children who enjoy singing. The Chorus performs at least twice annually at the Elementary School Friday Gatherings.
Instrumental music is an optional, complimentary component of the Elementary School Music Program. Beginning as early as first grade, students may take violin classes. By third grade, students may take wind instruments—clarinet, flute, saxophone, trombone, trumpet. Beginning, intermediate and advanced classes are held once a week during lunch or before school. An additional practice class is offered weekly to beginning and intermediate violinists and jazz options are offered during the after-school program, Hang Out.