Grades 3 and 4
We study 16 composers each year within this program. They are, for this year, as follows:
Rodeo: Hoe-Down by Copland
Carmen: Les Voici by Bizet
Four Sketches: In Autumn by Beach
Fur Elise by Beethoven
Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa
Cantata No. 147: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach
The Nutcracker: Overture by Tchaikovsky
The Red Poppy: Russian Sailor's Dance by Gliere
Water Music Suite No. 2: Alla Hornpipe by Handel
Songs of Travel: The Vagabond by Vaughan Williams
Take Five by Desmond
Symphony No. 88: movement 4 by Haydn
Symphony 1997: Jubilation by tan Dun
Deep River Traditional/Burleigh
Ricercar in the 12th Mode by Gabrieli
Students will have a series of assessments as the year goes along. They are assessed on their knowledge of the first 4 composers, then the first 8 composers, then the first 12 composers, and then all 16 composers. These assessments are both aural and visual and last for approximately 10 to 15 minutes each time we take them.
Students seem to enjoy these assessments! Please ask your child about it. Perhaps you have seen some of their work that has come home.
Towards the end of the year, students will take several assessments on all 16 as we then have a team of students who represent the school and travel to a MusicMemory competition. This is always a wonderful event. Some day I hope that I can have bus transportation to transport all fourth graders to this event (as students really do enjoy participating in MusicMemory). At this point, I am allowed to take two teams of 6 to the competition (from each grade level)
Students will be working on rhythm, both review and new work. We follow a rhythm approach designed by Edwin Gorton and incorporated into a program called Conversational Solfege, designed by John Feierabend.
Students learn to echo, decode, and create within Feierabend's approach.
Each fourth grader has his/her own folder which houses his/her own work. Each fourth grader will bring home this folder at various points throughout the year. You are welcome to see the work I am describing within your child's folder.
Singing and movement are also elements of our music class. Movement incorporates steady beat as well as rhythms (duple and triple) and songs also incorporate these elements.
Grades K, 1 and 2
We study First Steps within our music class, which is a program designed by John Feierabend. First Steps is a "pre-approach" to Conversational Solfege, which is done in grades 3 and 4.
Kindergarten does basic readiness: That is, beat, no beat, high, low, fast, slow, loud, soft, patterns - found aurally and visually and explored through movement.
Grade One students experience the same as kindergarten, but, with a bit more depth: That is, assessments on beat, no beat, beginning understandings of rhythm (rests, long, short, fast, slow - done aurally and visually) and incorporating these elements while singing. We also use percussion instruments to demonstrate knowledge of beat (for example).
Grade 2 students experience the same musical elements as grade one students, but, again with more depth and more checking in for understandings.
For example, these students also use rhythm cards to demonstrate knowledge of rhythms heard and seen within our class period. These cards can be used individually and or with a partner or in pairs of 3 or more. Depending on the activity and the concepts, students become familiar with and successful using these rhythm cards. They do so to show decoding skills.
I hope this brief overview helps you to begin to understand what we do in music class and how, from grade kindergarten to grade 4, students experience a kind of "spiral" curriculum that continues to build skills from one year to the next (in hopes of giving students a rich plethora of musical concepts to use, explore and enjoy).