Pre-K and Kindergarten
The primary focus of music classes in these grades is a basic introduction to music and movement. The use of simple percussion instruments in addition to singing is meant to improve coordination and listening skills. Most of the music that is done in Pre-K is familiar folk and nursery songs, to encourage group participation. The children will also use scarves to help inspire more fluid movements to the musical pieces.
The kindergarten students, in addition to the use of percussion instruments for simple rhythmic patterns, will be introduced to examples from the classical repertoire including: Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet (Tchaikovsky's ballet), The Firebird and Beethoven' 6th Symphony. The students are encouraged to provide a story where the music is absolute (without a story that has been provided by the composer) rather than programmatic. This is done bothorally and through illustrations. In addition, both grades will prepare for their Christmas shows and their respective graduation ceremonies.
The focus of music class for the 1 st grade is preparation for music notation; both reading, writing and performance. The students will be introduced to whole, half, quarter and eighth notes, treble clef, repeat signs and certain treble clef pitches. They will be able to perform simple rhythmic patterns on percussion instruments.
The 1st graders will begin the study of instrumental families, beginning with percussion. They will have hands-on experience with tambourines, cymbals, drums and various Latin instruments. A workbook, Badaboom, which is kept in the classroom, supplements their studies.
The students will begin using hymnals to assist them for the Mass, focusing on the rhythmic values of the notes as they become familiar with the words and music.
The 1st grade will also study such works as The Nutcracker and The Four Seasons.
2nd and 3rd Grades
These grades are responsible for treble clef note-reading (middle C through high E) and performance on the recorder. Weekly assignments are given on their instruments. The students will perform alone, in small groups, and as a class for an assembly in June. The third grade will complete their recorder books after two years of study. They will Use their reading skills for either violin or chorus in the 4th grade.
The general music class for the 2nd grade will focus on notational reading and writing skills. They will also spend time preparing for Christmas and First Holy Communion. During the latter part of the year we will begin an introduction to classical song through the study of Franz Schubert's "Erlkonig. "
The 3rd grade will focus on the instrumental families (strings, woodwind, brass, percussion). Students are encouraged to bring in their band instruments for classroom demonstrations. They will begin to examine how sound is produced, both physically on an instrument, and by visualizing sound waves (tuning fork/water) and hearing the overtone series (octaves, fifths and thirds).
The 3rd grade will also study the opera Turandot (Puccini).
4th, 5th and 6th Grades
These grades will be preparing liturgical music as well as music for the Christmas concert and May assembly. All three grades will sing part music
The 4th grade will begin study of musical interpretations of Shakespeare, since they will be reading some of his works in the Great Books program. They will study the operas Otello and Macbeth. They will be shown the differences between the original play and Verdi's operas. The 4th grade will also study parts of Bizet's Carmen, a French opera that includes spoken dialogue, to compliment their study of the French language.
The 5th and 6th grade will look at some of Puccini operas, including La Boheme, Tosca, Turandot, and Madama Butterfly. Acting, staging and costumes will be discussed. The sixth grade will be studying historical topics from these various stories (i.e., Italy's Risorgimento, ancient China, World War I) and their relevance in the dramatic action (history as a character).
7th and 8th Grades
Both grades will spend time in preparation for the monthly Masses. Parts of the Latin Mass will be looked at, as well as historical development of Liturgical music (Gregorian Chant through the Reformation). The 7th grade will be completing a research project in the spring. The 8th grade will also be working on their musical.