Singing, moving, and percussion playing are the activities used to master general music objectives. In grades K-2, we expose students to the concepts of rhythm, tempo, pitch, tone, dynamics, breathing, and expression through music, and they have their first exposure to instruments. They are introduced to the basics of performance and participate in the annual Christmas program, which is a grand production in the church sanctuary, incorporating drama as well as music.
In 3rd grade, students continue to increase their understanding of rhythm, tempo, pitch, tone, dynamics, and expression through music. Students learn proper singing and performance techniques, including posture when sitting and standing, breathing, diction, performance behavior (eyes on director, facial expression, and smiles when appropriate), hand motions, and completion of practiced routines and performances. Drama is incorporated as it pertains to the annual Christmas program. After Christmas, students begin playing percussion instruments such as the xylophone, maracas, drums, and rhythm sticks, and they start the fundamentals of reading music.
In 4th grade, students build upon previously mastered skills by learning about steady beats with rests, slow and fast tempo, meter comparison, solo singing, melodic contour, creation of harmony in partner songs, and preparation for performance in the annual Christmas Program. Students learn to play their first performance instrument - the recorder - practicing notation and sight-reading skills. They participate in a recital in the spring.
Band instruments are introduced to the students in 5th grade. Students learn to demonstrate the basic characteristic tone of the instrument, proper styles of articulation for attacks and releases of tone, the basic dynamic levels, the proper assembly and maintenance of one's own instrument, correct posture and breath support, correct breathing techniques, and the basic tuning of one's instrument. Students recognize the difference between a tone that is in tune with another and one that is not. They also imitate, through echoing, simple rhythmic patterns.
Students actively participate in a performance ensemble, exhibiting learned behaviors such as good attendance, positive attitudes toward self-development, development of group goals, and good listening skills. Performances include the Christmas Program and a Spring Concert. 6th grade orchestra picks up where the previous year's studies left off. Fundamentals taught in 5th grade are reinforced and expanded upon. Instrumentation is increased, allowing some students to start studying more advanced instruments. Students continue to work on reading rhythms and pitches, as well as adding key signatures, accidentals, dynamics, etc. Students perform in concerts with music ranging from simple melodies to music with complete independence of the parts.
The 5th and 6th grade vocal program includes a chorus where healthy vocal development is emphasized through correct posture, breathing, diction, and intonation experiences. Students will sing a variety of songs from different cultures while establishing a solid foundation of musical knowledge and skills. Music element concepts such as expression, rhythm, form, melody, timbre, and harmony prepare students for participation in public performances.
Drama – In grades 4, 5, and 6, students develop body awareness and spatial perception, sensory awareness, and personal creativity. They cooperate in teams to solve problems, expand aesthetic sensitivity and theatre skills, use role-play to place self into the context of other subjects, write scripts, direct classroom theatre, and design environments for theatre. A recital takes place each semester.
Upper school students may select drama, band, or vocal ensemble as a performing arts elective.