This fall, our students have continued to be active music makers.
In Lower School, songs, rhymes, games, dances and other fun activities have been presented in order for students to learn new concepts and skills. They’ve listened to and danced to music from around the world and have also added American sign language to their repertoire. Although wearing masks and socially distancing can prove challenging when making music, our students were not impeded and found joy in group activities and exploring music together.
In Middle School, 6th graders made their way around the world learning songs, dances and games to honor the seasons and holidays, while 7th graders learned pieces by Baroque, Classical and Romantic composers. In 8th grade, students engaged in two long-term projects: creating a soundtrack of their life, and a campaign ad for the presidential election. With this work, students developed their music literacy and ensemble skills, and discovered how to express themselves through music.
Below are videos from a selection of music classes. Additional grades and classes will be featured throughout the school year.
Grade 3 – "Los Machetes"
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (from September 15 to October 15), the 3rd graders learned a traditional dance from the Jalisco region of Mexico, entitled “Los Machetes.” This energetic folk dance depicts the cutting of sugarcane in the harvest time in Mexico. It is just one in a sequence of many movement activities that give the students an opportunity to practice moving to the phrases of a musical piece. They are learning to recognize and respond to AB form (binary) and to hear and respond to the celebratory style of Mariachi music, which has long been an important part of Mexican culture. And it’s really fun to dance with sticks as pretend swords!
Grade 4 – "What a Wonderful World"
Even when we must limit the amount of singing we are doing in person, we can express ourselves through song. Fourth graders learned a sign-language version of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” this fall, and learned a bit about this form of communication while also building ensemble skills.
—Dana Kephart Queiros
Grade 6 – "Sevens"
“Sevens” is a rhythm piece played on lummi sticks. Students in 6B added a question-and-answer improvisation section to create a piece in ternary form (ABA). Pieces like this allow students to learn about form, phrasing and improvisation, while providing opportunities for creativity and the development of ensemble skills.
Grade 9 – "Funga Alafia"
Both sections of the Steel Pans Ensemble performed Funga Alafia, a West African folk song. Each class made its own arrangement of the song, choosing which of four parts (walking line, melody, strum and bass line) that each section would play (tenors, seconds, cellos and basses). Students also decided when each part of the composition would start and end.