MusicAt PMFS, students in Music experience folk, classical, and commercial music from around the world without valuation of style or content. This includes singing music in foreign languages, particularly Spanish. Students work toward music literacy while making music with their whole selves: singing, playing in percussion ensembles, dancing, and composing. They also explore their own areas of interest in music to reinforce the inquiry-based learning in their classrooms. But, most of all, they find joy in expressing themselves through the musical arts and develop a lasting appreciation for musical discovery.
Music for our youngest students focuses on exploration of sound, movement and diverse cultural expressions. Through hands-on play with percussion instruments, singing, and dancing, our three- and four-year-olds begin to understand and confidently share music with their whole bodies.
In addition to continued group exploration, our Kindergartners begin to develop the building blocks of music literacy. Rhythm and pitch concepts are introduced as well as early technical aspects of singing and performing in an ensemble.
First and Second Grade
Our First and Second Graders work on organizing the elements of music they have been exposed to into functional systems for musical performance and expression. Music literacy becomes a greater focus including solfÃ¨ge, notation, and keyboard studies. Proper breathing and healthy vocal technique is emphasized as the musical challenges increase and independence is developed through poly-rhythmic compositions and exercises.
Third and Fourth Grade
As our students transition to the upper campus and increased independence, the level of musical autonomy is proportionally increased. Ensemble performances have increasing amounts of polyphony, harmonic interest, and rhythmic complexity. Individual inquiry projects and critical-listening assignments are aligned with focus areas of study in their classrooms. Improvisation and individual musical expression become more central as the students’ musical fluency increases.
Fifth and Sixth Grade
The choral and instrumental performances are coupled with musical leadership opportunities. The older grades take on leadership roles assisting in the learning and performing of works with their younger buddies or leading all-school performances. Inquiry projects and critical-listening assignments continue and are coupled with creative expression through composition. The Sixth Grade Musical also gives those students the opportunity to bring new work to life in individual and ensemble performance.
All Second and Third Graders study Violin in half groups weekly, as a supplement to the PMFS Music program.
Students in both grades engage in ongoing Violin studies, working on new musical concepts, and learning songs. To begin, the Second Graders create and use homemade cardboard violins, learning how to take care of their instruments and hold the violins properly. Learning the violin is about more than just reinforcing old skills and learning new techniques. Musicians grow when they are oriented toward performance opportunities. One important goal is preparing for and performing at our culminating concert in April as part of ArtsFest, which serves as a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase talents and what they have learned to the PMFS community. Alongside playing violin and performing, students develop and apply social skills to become more creative and enthusiastic young musicians. These social skills will also help our students to become better people.