The Middle School Music curriculum builds and expands on the strong foundational skills that students develop in Lower School. Each student in grades six through eight attends music class at least twice weekly, learning various aspects of music, including but not limited to: singing, a study of various instruments and their usage in present-day music, listening, elements and backgrounds of different genres of music, and more.
All Middle School students learn to play the ukulele as an introduction to musical structure, rhythm, tone, chords, and meter. Through playing and singing together—solo, small groups, and full class—students learn how musicians work together to create harmony, counterpoint, and dynamics. By incorporating glockenspiels, xylophones, rhythm instruments, and more, students explore how seemingly disparate sounds and structures can blend to create unified pieces.
As they progress through Middle School, students have opportunities to perform at assemblies and other events. In the 2017-18 school year, they will also work in tandem with the soon-to-come Middle School dance and drama classes, creating larger scale performances that will allow every student to explore different performing arts and abilities.
In addition to learning to perform music, students also expand their musical knowledge by studying aspects of instrumentation and musical performance. They watch and analyze orchestral and jazz concert footage and recording sessions while paying close attention to the different instruments, voices, and arranging techniques. They study aspects of musical theater and film score, examining instrumentation and how the music is used to tell a story.
By the end of this three-year program, middle schoolers develop a solid musical foundation as listeners, performers, and creators of music.