Music Curriculum – Grades K-5

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learningfor children.

Kindergarten

In Kindergarten, the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development & exploration.
  •  Rhythmic movement in a variety of ways to develop beat readiness and awareness.
  • Imprinting beginning tonal & rhythm patterns, the building blocks of music.
  • Rote songs/chants.
  • Percussion instruments to explore timbre and rhythms.

Grade 1

In first grade, the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development and exploration of range and timbre
  • Rhythmic movement to the beat in a variety of ways, exploring space, flow, weight and time.
  • Tonal & Rhythm patterns (intro.)
  • Rote songs/chants and additional folk song repertoire.
  • Percussion instruments. Students have an opportunity to explore a variety of classroom percussion

Grade 2

In second grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development – to help each child expand the range and ability of their own singing voice learning a variety of songs and styles.
  • Rhythmic movement to the beat in a variety of ways, exploring space, flow, weight and time.
  • Instruction of folk dancing begins.
  • Tonal & rhythm patterning is extended (to increase music vocabulary) and labeled with rhythmic/tonal syllables.
  • Rote songs/chants and additional folk song repertoire.
  • Transfer of skills to a variety of percussion instruments such as drums, triangles, sticks, xylophone etc.

Grade 3

In third grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development continues to help students expand their singing abilities so that they can achieve a clear head voice with a warm quality while singing songs of many cultures.
  •  Rhythmic movement – folk dancing continues with an added focus on integrated movement (Moving to the primary beat and secondary beat at the same time).
  • Tonal & rhythm patterns. These building blocks are extended to increase students’ vocabulary and labeled with rhythmic/tonal syllables. Students also begin to recognize tonal and rhythmic music patterns in standard notation.
  • In addition to rote songs, third graders begin part singing using rounds and partner songs. Tonal and rhythmic skills are extended to a variety of classroom instruments such as recorders, xylophone, African drums etc.
  • Instrumental music. All third grade students take an aptitude test (IMMA) and have the opportunity to try out many of the instruments during the instrumental recruitment period in the spring. Each third grade students is screened for their interest and physical development. A parent informational night is held in late spring to answer questions regarding the beginning instrumental music program.

Grade 4

In fourth grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Music Literacy. Students move from recognizing familiar patterns to the beginning stages of decoding to reading musical notation for meaning. Beginning improvisation or the ability to spontaneously create music within the framework of patterns and harmonic function coupled with music literacy are the basis of a budding independent musician.
  • Fourth grade students also have the opportunity to begin instru mental music lessons. Students may choose to take an instrument and have weekly group instruction during the school
  • day. Students who have gained enough skills may join a band or orchestra and have an opportunity to perform in an ensemble at a concert.
  • Fourth grade students also have the opportunity to join chorus which rehearses once a week after school. For students who like to sing, chorus is an enriching experience giving students vocal executive skills combined with cooperative team activities.  Chorus members perform in several evening concerts throughout the year gaining self-confidence through public performances.

Grade 5

In fifth grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Music Literacy. Students move from recognizing familiar patterns to the beginning stages of decoding to reading musical notation for meaning. Beginning improvisation or the ability to spontaneously create music within the framework of patterns and harmonic function coupled with music literacy are the basis of a budding independent musician.
  • Fifth grade students continue to develop instrumental skills and rehearse with the band or orchestra a minimum of once a week, and perform concerts in the winter and spring.
  • Fifth grade students also have the opportunity to join chorus, which rehearses once a week after school. For students who like to sing, chorus is an enriching experience giving students vocal executive skills combined with cooperative team activities.
  • Chorus members perform in several evening concerts throughout the year gaining self-confidence through public performances.

Advanced opportunities are available to students who excel in music in 5th grade. Students may participate in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo and Ensemble Festivals, the Guilderland All-District Concert, grade level plays, and other performance opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate fully in the music program and work hard to achieve a high level of skill and enjoyment.

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