Music class is off to a great start at St. Joan of Arc! Music is such an important part of education, since it ties into nearly every other subject while offering opportunities for creativity and expression. Through music, students can explore different cultures and different points in history. They can experiment with how sound is formed and how it can be manipulated by using different materials and techniques. They can use their skills in mathematics to figure out rhythms and to find patterns in music. They can connect music to movement, art, and stories. The possibilities are limitless!
In preschool and junior kindergarten, music class is all about building basic music skills and having lots of fun! We have music class twice a week in the early childhood classrooms. We sing simple songs, move to music, recite rhythmic poems, learn how to play classroom percussion instruments, and practice opposites in music such as fast/slow and loud/soft. We also use music to tell stories, either by listening to a song and identifying the events in the song’s story, or by coming up with our own stories to go with instrumental music.
Elementary school students have music class twice a week in the music classroom. In kindergarten through 5th grade, we begin to build music reading skills, singing skills, and instrument skills by singing, playing, and moving to music from many different cultures. Kindergarten students begin by learning how to keep a steady beat and how to match pitch in a song. In 1st and 2nd grade, students begin learning melodies using solfege syllables (do, re, mi) and rhythms using “stick notation,” (a simplified method of writing and counting rhythms). Starting in 3rd grade, the begin learning how to read traditional music notation, as they learn more complex rhythms and melodies.
Middle school students that take music class have one class per week in the music room. We explore different topics in music, and while we still sing, play instruments, and move to music, we also engage in discussions about music and try different musical activities, such as conducting and composing. 6th and 7th grades are beginning the year by learning how to sight-sing music using solfege syllables (do-re-mi), and they are experimenting with different rhythms. 8th grade is starting off the year by learning about the beginnings of Rock n’ Roll music.