My Music Program

National and state music standards include: singing, performing, improvising, arranging, composing, reading music, listening, understanding the relationship between music and other arts and disciplines, and understanding music in relationship to history and culture. Standards are an important guide for teaching music; they do not describe how good it feels to drum in a group, or how it feels to move, or how perceptive and creative students are.

Our musicians sing, dramatize, dance, play, create, and support each other musically. Musical vocabulary helps us talk about and understand music. In music we support classroom learning by connecting to science units, and learning about musical relationship to culture and geography and to the other arts. We learn songs in other languages.

Music class is good for brain health and elasticity because we regularly use these techniques:

  • cross the mid-line during movement and on xylophones (right hand or foot to left side of body and vice versa);
  • use alternating hands on drums and xylophones (right, left, right, left, etc.);
  • listen to one part and sing or play another during rounds and in two- and three-part music;
  • practice with appropriate, professional singing and instrumental technique on all classroom instruments;
  • build small motor skills (recorder, ukulele in upper grades) and larger motor skills in movement (isolating body parts, i.e., head, arms legs, hands, feet, etc.) and on instruments (drums, xylophones, and percussion);

Elementary students practice creative movement, folkdance and partner dancing with careful regard to national standards for dance. We listen to music. We play percussion and mallet instruments in ensemble, and experiment with forms as we put parts together. We play mallet instruments (marimbas & xylophones) in three and four parts. We sing rounds, folk songs and pop songs. We listen to music and move to it. We improvise with movement, dialogue, and on instruments. Our recorder unit builds numerous skills, including small motor coordination, comprehensive notation literacy, and independent practice habits. We are playful, expressive and dramatic in music class because this is how we connect to music, to others, and to the world around us. We make a lot of mistakes, and then we try it again. We learn from each other and build community along with musicality and self-confidence.

Molly Nord, Music Specialist, 2016-17

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