Early Childhood and Lower School students receive weekly lessons in music education in the hands of a certified music teacher. Classroom instruction centers on the Orff-Schulwerk approach, a method that combines the elements of music in such a way that children are active participants in their own musical education and personal growth. Speech, singing, instrument playing, music theory, multicultural music, and improvisation are all integral components of the ECS music experience. Classes also incorporate movement activities and opportunities for self-expression.
Speech and singing are the first elements used in presenting musical concepts in the Orff classrooms. Rhymes, word games, riddles, proverbs, and poems from a child’s heritage offer unlimited possibilities for musical exploration. The voice is the child’s first instrument, and PA seeks to put it to use seeking songs that have lifelong value.
As students move into Middle School, they focus more on choral singing, basic music theory, and performance skills. Students learn the beginning techniques of singing, including breathing and vocal tone, placement, and production. They study music history and develop music reading skills. Students perform at the end of each quarter.
Middle School students in sixth grade or above also have the opportunity to participate in band. Students will learn basic music theory, as well as music reading and fundamentals of playing an instrument of choice. They will expand upon these basics and learn to perform music from different stylistic periods. Students compete regionally in solo and ensemble competitions and have opportunities to perform for school events and in school concerts throughout the year.
From musical theory and history to performance in a jazz ensemble or the PA Sounds a cappella group, Upper School students are offered a full range of courses and activities to inspire musical interest and expand upon knowledge and skills. Opportunities abound for Upper School students wishing to hone their musical talents. Students aspiring to develop their gift of voice may participate in one of PA’s many choral groups, while those more interested in expression via musical instrument may enroll in band. Whether involved in vocal or instrumental music, students learn to explore their own creativity and appreciate the talents of others.