Students in the early childhood and younger primary level classes experience music as part of our creative movement and music program. Young children naturally integrate movement and music and benefit from experiencing them together through their shared elements of rhythm, tempo, duration, pitch, dynamics, accents and pauses. In this program, children explore these concepts holistically, experiencing them with their voices, bodies and imaginations in a way that also connects and responds to their interests and experiences in the classroom. In our older primary and intermediate level classes, music is explored through singing, listening to and moving to a variety of songs, rhymes and chants. Students are able to make connections with the role of music in their lives, sing and play instruments, create and compose music and explore simple and invented notation.
During creative movement and music, children build their musical skills through a wide variety of musical experiences. They play music games, listen and move to classical pieces, and sing nursery, folk, cultural and improvised songs. Music allows for play with language by exploring rhymes, initial sounds and syllables. Children practice and explore musical concepts with their voices, which is the first instrument, but also with body percussion, shakes, drums, guiros and xylophones.
In the younger primarly level classes, children continue to participate in creative movement and music. Students play musical games, listen to a broad range of music, sing a variety of songs and enhance their understanding of musical concepts, expanding their skills and knowledge as is appropriate for their developmental growth.
Beginning with the older primary level classes in our Woods building, our program shifts its focus to music as its own area of study. Students are able to apply the creative process to create and perform music for a variety of purposes, singing songs in unison and playing simple accompaniments for music from a variety of diverse cultural styles and historical periods. With the growth of their musical literacy, students reflect, respond and analyze music as a way to communicate their feelings, ideas and understanding of a variety of musical experiences. This is also when students learn to read musical notation and play the glockenspiels.
In addition to continued emphasis on rhythm and melody, intermediate level students explore harmony and chord structure. The program is augmented with songs and musical resources that respond to themes and interests emerging from each classroom. Students learn to play the ukulele and continue to refine their notation skills. An importance is placed on leadership as students become song leaders and student conductors for school sings and during in-class ensemble playing. Through this learning, students are able to grow as musical performers, creators, interpreters and audience members.