The Junior School Music Program has been developed to support students in fostering a love of music and building foundational skills. The program has been built with research-based best practices in mind. The following guiding principles have shaped our programs development:
- To foster a lifelong appreciation of and engagement with music
- Building an empathetic community through shared experiences of playing, performing, creating, and reflecting on music
- Creating a non-competitive, low-stakes environment for expressing creativity and play-based experimentation
- Encouraging students to take ownership of their learning through self-directed and collaborative inquiry, project design, and assessment
- Introducing students to diverse perspectives to foster critical engagement with music
- Approaching music through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the goal of maximizing accessibility in music education to reach the most learners and providing multiple entry points for students based on interest and ability
Students begin their journey exploring the elements of music through our Grade 3-6 music program, which is built around vocal, ukulele, and Orff programming. Through individual and ensemble projects in these disciplines, students develop fundamental musical concepts and performance skills. Students also have ample opportunities to build their composition, improvisation, and analysis skills using the creative process. Grades 5 and 6 students will also have the opportunity to participate in the College Choir through rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday mornings at 8:00 a.m.
In Grades 7 and 8, the guitar is the primary instrument in our core music program that every Grade 7 and 8 student participates in. This program aligns with the pedagogical approach of our middle school program, including opportunities for smaller group instruction, student collaboration, self-directed learning, and student choice. The program serves as a platform to teach fundamental musical concepts and performance skills, while encouraging a lifelong appreciation of music. Opportunities for composition and improvisation using the creative process are explored through creating original compositions and recordings using GarageBand on their laptops.
In addition to our core music program, students in Grades 7 & 8 select an additional Performing Arts Elective. This is an opportunity for students to apply their skills learned in our core music class to a performance program of their choice. The Performance Elective options are:
College Choir – Central to our tradition as a Choir School and built upon 60 years of excellence, students may join the College Choir. Choristers learn foundational singing techniques and rehearsal skills through ensemble performance. The College Choir sings in our weekly Evensong services and prepares throughout the fall for our signature Service of Lessons and Carols, in addition to other performances throughout the year. The choristers have the opportunity to collaborate and perform with Senior School singers regularly.
Concert Band – Students participate in the Concert Band rehearsal process to prepare repertoire for performances throughout the year. With support from their teacher, they select an appropriate woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument and develop their collaborative skills within a large ensemble. Please note: students in Concert Band will be required to rent or buy their band instrument for home practice.
Drama/Songwriting & Production – Students spend one half of the year in Drama and the other half in Songwriting & Production. In Drama, students explore techniques in acting (stage and screen), theatre production, and script writing. In Songwriting & Production, students explore song structure, improvisation, and composition on a range of instruments and digital programs.
In addition to our class program and the College Choir, students in Grades 6-8 are invited to participate in the Junior School Musical. The Junior School Musical is a co-curricular opportunity with a range of roles for students to participate in. Small and large roles are available for singers, actors, stage crew, and technical crew.