The goal of our music program is to develop musical literacy, and enrich the expressive, everyday lives of our students through musical training, both vocal and instrumental. Students are exposed to a wide variety of composers, performers, cultures, eras, and genres. Through the study of music and its motivations, the students learn self-discipline, expression, and group cohesion.
The Children’s House curriculum concentrates on listening and vocal performance skills, which emphasize pitch, duration, and dynamics. We study historical styles and music from around the world as well as simple percussion instrumentation. Students begin to learn the skills of self-evaluation and appraisal through musical games. Extended-day students receive instruction on rhythmic notation, instrumental narrative, and emotional interpretation of music.
The Lower Elementary instrumental music curriculum focuses on the pentatonic scale and its harmonies. Note reading is introduced, but is not yet the standard for learning songs. Students begin to explore part-singing through canons. Using the Orff-Schulwerk method, students begin to learn the art of instrumental accompaniment. The musical vocabulary of melody, rhythm, tempo, pitch, and dynamics are defined and memorized. Students learn the important role of a conductor.
The Upper Elementary instrumental and vocal music instruction shifts to the diatonic scales and their harmonies. Note reading, sight-reading, and singing in harmony is introduced. Students learn more complex rhythms and melodies using Orff and rhythm instruments. Upper Elementary students continue to work with melody, rhythm, tempo, pitch, and dynamics with increasing levels of complexity.
In the Junior High music program, the students play complex Western and non-Western rhythms through the use of a wide variety of instruments. They learn tonal music theory, which aids them in their ability to play instruments, to sing, and to compose. Junior High students also begin to study the history of music, through a chronological examination of the individual, social, and political events that characterized the development of a particular period of music. This spring, Junior High students will begin a unit on music composition using keyboards and accompanying software. Their goal will be to replicate musical styles and to read the musical notation for melody and percussion instruments.
Nearly half of all MMS students, ages 3 through 14, take private music lessons in piano, guitar (classic, jazz, rock, and bass), strings (violin, viola, and cello), and voice. String lessons begin at age 3, all other private instrument lessons begin at age 5. Voice lessons begin in Lower Elementary. These lessons take place either before school, during a classroom period with permission, during a student’s recess, or after school depending on the student’s schedule. Several Music Department members function strictly as private lesson instructors. Group lessons are available on a limited basis as well. Music students perform in individual recitals at the end of twice per academic year, in school-wide concerts, and for special events, e.g., Mother’s Visitation Day, Father’s Visitation Day, and the Spaghetti Dinner.
Contact Katie Ausen, Music Lesson Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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