Elementary General Music
In kindergarten, students sing, play games, and listen to music! By 1st grade, students learn to identify, read, and write pitch and rhythm. 2nd and 3rd graders build on what they learned in 1st grade and get the chance to play drums and mallet instruments in class. In 4th grade, students learn to play the recorder and play the lead roles in our annual elementary spring musical! Our 3rd and 4th graders also learn how to discuss music history and identify different instruments.
All elementary students learn to sing songs both religious and secular, including seasonal and folk pieces. I use the Kodaly method of singing, including solfege instruction, and include Orff pedagogy with some elements of Dalcroze movement. Most grades also get to experience a multicultural unit where we learn about music from another part of the world. Students perform in two large concerts per year, in addition to several weekend services here at St. John’s throughout the year. Elementary music classes meet once a week for 40-45 minutes.
Middle School Performance Ensembles
In 5th-8th grades, students select to participate in choir, band, or both. We currently offer a separate Beginning Band course for our 5th graders, a balanced Middle School Band for our 6th-8th graders, and a combined 5th-8th grade choir. Students perform in two large concerts per year, in addition to several weekend services here at St. John’s throughout the year. Extracurricular opportunities include OMEA Solo & Ensemble and Pep Band. Guest clinicians are occasionally brought in to work with students as well.
In Beginning Band, 5th graders learn how to play flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, or percussion! I focus heavily on quality sound production and musical literacy so that they are prepared for the full band experience in 6th grade. This course meets twice a week.
In Middle School Band, our 6th-8th graders learn about ensemble balance, work on several scales (including Bb, Eb, chromatic, and corresponding exercises), and prepare quality wind band literature of both secular and religious nature. Students are assessed individually several times throughout the year to determine a part placement that is appropriate to their development. This course meets twice a week.
In Middle School Choir, our 5th-8th graders learn the basics of solfege singing, work on expressive performance, and sing unision, two-part, and some mixed literature that are both secular and religious in nature. Students are assessed throughout the year to determine their part placement, which is especially helpful for the boys as their voices change! This course meets once a week.
SJS Christmas Program, December 2015