In an effort to encourage our students to become socially responsible citizens, we ask that they learn to communicate effectively in a second language while also developing an appreciation for other cultures. While Spanish is typically the first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking of a foreign language, it’s important to remember that music is also a language and, more notably, one that appears in all cultures. Similar to learning a new language, learning to read rhythms and pitches takes time and practice. Extraordinary effort and engagement are required to put rhythm and pitch together and use them to create an organized sound.
Music classes here at Merryhill Midtown are focused on more than just listening to songs, memorizing them, and putting on a show. Lessons and units are designed to introduce students to reading music, learning how to build a song, understanding how to correctly use and play different instruments, connecting cross-curricular themes and ideas from math, history, and sciences, as well as feeling successful in performances.
Starting in Kindergarten, students are given opportunities to play instruments. They start with free play during parts of a song, adding instruments to poetry, and learn to take turns with different sounds. Students eventually work their way up to reading rhythms and pitches. First graders use a class set of boomwhackers to put together songs and read actual rhythms with color coordinated pitches. Moving on from building songs as a class, concepts taught in second grade also foster an increase in independence as students learn to play simple keyboard melodies. Third graders learn how to combine these reading and performing skills by playing recorders with and without musical accompaniment. Each year of music education, students learn how to take their knowledge and communicate this through different instruments and performances.
There is a strong focus on connecting classroom themes to our musical performances to help reinforce ideas and themes and encourage students to make meaningful connections between the content taught within their classroom to the content taught within music class. Some elementary classes keep themes over the course of many months or even the year, such as “All About America”, or “Feeling Good with Healthy Choices”, while other classes, such as JrK, have more of the weekly themes focused on communities, holidays, counting, and rainbows. Every grade level has the opportunity to produce one family performance each year to showcase some of our classroom studies and our grade level musical performances will begin in December!