Music Curriculum Newsletter
Early Learning CenterI absolutely love my time with Level 1 and 2! This is such a fun age and they are so joyful, imaginative and expressive in their efforts.
Almost everything we do together starts with SINGING. First we learn a song, and then we enhance that with instruments, dance, puppets, creative movement, etc. All activities reinforce basic skills such as keeping the beat, listening for cues, matching pitch and finding our “best voice.” They also foster a sense of community and cooperation. Some of these musical experiences occur in the music room, others in the cottage, and on Fridays we have a special time with Sra. Bertani in the Spanish classroom.
After Halloween, we will begin preparations for the ELC Advent Chapel, which will occur the morning of December 5th. It will feature Level 1 and Level 2 students in song and scripture as we enter the season of Advent. Please mark your calendars!
Lower PrimaryWith the school wide theme of “Show us How to Serve” as our guide, Lower Primary started our year off in the music room with a look at occupations that are service based. The Sesame Street classic song, “The People in your Neighborhood” introduces firemen and mail carriers as two important roles within the fabric of our communities, while the more recent “People Work,” from the British Council, adds tailors, doctors, farmers, teachers, plumbers, dentists, and even babysitters to our appreciation of service roles. The latter song also provided the opportunity to work with our puppet collection while learning simple choreography, as well as trying out our most proper English accents!
Languages other than English have also played a large role in our musical exploration thus far. Two simple Latin songs, “Jubilate Servite” and “Ubi Caritas” will be making their way into our chapel hymn repertoire this year. We used Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) as inspiration for instrumental work, as we learned to accompany the familiar melodies of “Marcharemos en la Luz de Dios” (from the Zulu anthem “Siyahamba”) and “Esta Lucesita” (“This Little Light of Mine”), arranged for Orff xylophones and virtual iPad keyboards, respectively. We also learned a simple dance to go along with the silly Venezuelan song, “A La Luna,” or “To the Moon.”
In addition to working on our lyric reading skills and foreign language acquisition during music classes, a number of songs and activities have played off the students’ cottage curriculum. Examples of this have included learning They Might Be Giants’ rock n’ roll remake of the mid-20th century novelty song “Why Does the Sun Shine?,” which reinforced a LP science room unit, while “5-10-15-20” is a brisk exercise in practicing counting by 5’s to a familiar counting tune (1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little).
Familiarizing students with music theory, a number of activities have focused on the music room’s oversize floor staff. These include building musical notes from vinyl LP’s (notepads) and paneling trim (note stems) to match a notation file shown on the flat screen display as well as stepping & leaping from various lines and spaces, where intervals and melodic contour are made physical.
Middle PrimaryThis year’s Level 5 class has had many great musical experiences so far! We have learned several new chapel hymns related to our theme of service, and reviewed some older hymns. Students have also enjoyed learning to play instruments to accompany some of these songs. For example, we played tone chimes for our new Latin round Jubilate, Servite and learned a Garage Band arrangement of the South African folk song Siyahamba.
A lot of our time on Monday mornings has been spent learning folk dances and singing games from around the world. This is a dynamic and fun way to encourage cooperation, improve beat-keeping skills, and become more coordinated in our efforts! Sashay the Donut and Great Big House in New Orleans are two sequences that we have enjoyed.
Choir classes are going well. They are really enjoying having chairs instead of sitting on the floor and are responding nicely to having sheet music in their hands! We have divided into soprano and alto parts, and are working on pieces for the upcoming Lessons and Carols Chapel (Dec. 18). This event features L5 students as they tell the story of Jesus’ birth through story and song.
Upper PrimaryLevel 6 and 7 have had many great musical experiences so far this year! We have learned several new chapel hymns related to our theme of service and created instrumental arrangements to enhance the singing. For example, we played tone chimes for our new Latin round Jubilate, Servite and an Orff /percussion setting of Enviado soy de Dios (The Lord Now Sends us Forth).
To tie into Upper Primary’s unit on Medieval times, we learned a new (old) dance called the OXO Reel. This folk dance takes its name from an ancient stone carved with the symbols “OXO” found in Dartmoor, England. Another connection to this unit was time spent on Carl Orff’s Gassenhauer (Street Song, based on a much older work by the lutenist Hans Neusidler from 1536).
Choir classes are progressing nicely as we build on skills learned previously and work towards our Holiday Program, scheduled for Monday, December 16th at 7pm.