Every middle school student has the opportunity to study music. Beginning in the fifth grade, students may choose Chorus, Band or General Music as part of the Middle Years Program (MYP) performing arts strand. Classes focus not only on the skills required to perform music well but also how music functions within cultures. Students are encouraged to explore their creative side through various projects and presentations which allow them to reflect on the process and learn by doing.
General music classes offer a more varied approach to study music. These classes incorporate ukulele, pitched and unpitched percussion instruments, movement and singing. Students learn to understand music and culture and also how to creatively express or demonstrate that understanding by writing and participating in varied music activities and lessons. They make connections to other arts and academic disciplines through reflection and context using the elements of music – melody, harmony, timbre, rhythm and form.
Band and Chorus classes meet regularly during the school day. Band and Chorus also stress the creative process, reflection, expression, skill and understanding specific to the chosen musical outlet. Students have opportunities to perform for their peers during in-school performances and their parents at evening concerts. Most students join band or chorus in fifth grade. Students who join after sixth grade are sometimes required to enroll in private lessons.
String ensemble students also meet regularly but outside of the regular school day. Members of the string ensemble also perform at school concerts. Since this group meets weekly instead of daily, more emphasis is on playing technique and musical expression. String students may also enroll in another music class that meets during the school day. The students learn chamber music and sometimes perform with the band as a combined group.
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