At Waterside Children’s Studio School, we believe that arts education is an integral component of learning that develops crucial skill sets for students at all grade levels. The music program at WCSS gives all of its students the opportunity to participate and express themselves creatively through the language of music.
All grades will begin to develop music literacy through the practice of reading and writing musical notation and symbols. Students will also gain a music vocabulary that allows them to write and speak about music using appropriate terminology. Musical concepts explored in the curriculum include: rhythm, pitch, tempo, meter and dynamics. All children will have the opportunity to put musical concepts into practice through group participation in musical performance.
Lower grades will focus on rote-song learning, call and response exercises and expressive movement to facilitate discovery of basic musical concepts. Language skills are developed as students learn song lyrics and rhyming schemes. Numeracy skills are practiced as students learn to count beats and rhythms. Younger students will also play hand percussion instruments such as bells, shakers and drums. Students in the lower grades will also read and write musical pre-notation symbols that relate to the music they play and create in class. Other topics of investigation include the use of hand signals to indicate pitch (solfege), improvisation through movement and music, careers in music, music of other cultures and the families of instruments.
The music program for the upper grades will include instruction on the recorder (flute) as a learning tool. Students will further develop their literacy in music by reading, writing and performing music notation in class and small group settings. Connections to math skills are explored through analysis of rhythmic values. Word and language skills are also used as students familiarize themselves with the musical ‘alphabet’ and note reading. In addition to recorder, melodic instruments used include xylophone, marimba and glockenspiel (Orff instruments). Topics for the middle grade music class include: music of world cultures, ethnic instruments, music history, music genres and the science of sound. In addition, middle grades will have performance opportunities in music enrichment clusters such as chorus and recorder ensemble. Future plans for the WCSS music program include the establishment of a performing concert band.