LAUSANNE LOWER SCHOOL MUSIC INSTRUCTION IS AS DIVERSE AS THE STUDENT BODY. BEING THIS DIVERSE ALSO MEANS THERE IS A DIVERSITY OF CREATIVE THOUGHT. THIS IS REFLECTED NOT ONLY IN THE STYLES OF MUSIC WE STUDY, BUT ALSO THE MEANS OF EXPERIENCES USED TO UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE MUSIC INTELLECTUALLY. OFTEN WHEN WE LEARN SONGS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, SOME STUDENTS HAVE A FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE SONG OR THE LANGUAGE OR BOTH. PARENTS AND TEACHERS SOMETIMES SHARE SONGS AND DANCES FROM THEIR HOMELAND. AND YES, WE LOVE LEARNING ABOUT AMERICAN MUSIC GENRES ALSO!
Early Childhood students begin at the beginning, where their music learning is enjoyably explorative, focusing on introductory concepts such as pitch matching, pulse and simple movement. As they continue through their Lower School education, the children experience a higher level of difficulty and gain a deeper understanding of the elements of music – melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and form. Our concerts are planned to be a true reflection of their learning and love of music. While preparing for the Grandparents & Friends Day performance, singing and movement are used to understand these elements. At the annual Lausannia concert, the children demonstrate their music growth in many creative ways in addition to singing. Instruments, voices and movement are an expression of the children’s understanding of musical elements throughout the Orff-Schulwerk approach.
Each year there are two major Lower School music performances, Grandparents & Friends Day and Lausannia (PK – fourth grades). Also, there are special events such as Artsfest-Sportsfest and Artists at Play. Not to mention other music opportunities outside of class time – Night of Broadway, Conservatory Recitals, Lower School Musical. Our concerts have included American folksongs, world music from nearly every continent, student-created puppet movies in conjunction with Lower School visual arts class and popular music covering Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Country, Calypso and Folk. There are no shortages of opportunities for PK3-4th grade children to shine musically.
THROUGH THESE COURSES, WHICH ARE TAUGHT OVER SEVERAL GRADE LEVELS, STUDENTS DELVE INTO EXPRESSION, MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION, PERFORMANCE, CREATIVE THINKING AND CULTURE.
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.
The Upper School music offerings are as varied as Middle School and intended to be an extension of their music learning. Ninth through twelfth-grade students are encouraged to continue whichever music course was their focus in middle school. These are the years where the students are rewarded for their study, commitment and practice. The music is more challenging. The discussions and reflections more in-depth. And they begin to demonstrate a level of independence and professionalism that leads to long term musicianship.
Band, Chorus and Strings ensembles are offered to any students performing on an upper school level. The directors of these ensembles will assist incoming students if they are new to Lausanne. Members of these ensembles have many opportunities to perform around campus and are encouraged to create their own performances.
Music Tech class is an extension of the music theory and composition skills learned in middle school. Students learn how musicians use technology to digitally communicate, share and publish original compositions. The class also covers arranging and songwriting. Those students planning to study music in college or to become a serious hobbyist have the opportunity to develop a portfolio of compositions and tracks.
Guitar is available during the school day either as part of Music Tech or a class if there are enough interested students. This course approaches the guitar as a study of cultures around the world, how different regions and cultures use guitar and guitar-like instruments in their music. In addition, students are also taught how to play the guitar.
THIS HOLISTIC APPROACH ENABLES THE CURIOUS STUDENT TO EXPLORE AND DISCOVER RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LIVING EXPERIENCE AND SPECIFIC SOUND COMBINATIONS AND PROCESSES, THUS GIVING THE LAUSANNE COMMUNITY A FULLER PORTRAIT OF THE WORLD AROUND US THAT AFFIRMS THE NATURE OF HUMANITY.
Music has an academic side as well as a performance aspect. The classic academies of Plato, Pythagoras, and Aristotle deemed studying music an essential facet of an education. Within the mission of the International Baccalaureate Program, music functions as a means of personal and communal identity and expression, and embodies the social and cultural values of individuals and communities. This scenario invites exciting exploration and sensitive study. At Lausanne, an option for the Group 6 component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma is Music. This two-year course is offered at both the Standard and High Levels. It focuses on analysis, composition, and understanding of history on the art. There is a both a solo or group performance element to the course. Our pre-IB opportunity in the Upper School is Music Tech. With the latest tools in music technology, students find ways to tap into their creative potential. This wholistic approach enables the curious student to explore and discover relationships between living experience and specific sound combinations and processes, thus giving the Lausanne community a fuller portrait of the world around us that affirms the nature of humanity.
Students PK- 12 have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of musical activities which include vocal and instrumental lessons in the Conservatory at Lausanne, Orff curriculum in our Lower School and instrumental and choral ensembles in our Middle and Upper Schools.
Additionally, our Theatre and Music departments collaborate in musicals at both the Middle and Upper School levels.
- Middle School 5th Grade Beginning Band
- Middle School 6th Grade Band
- 7/8 Grade Middle School Intermediate Band
- Upper School Symphonic Band
- Upper School 2-6-7 Band for IB
- Pep Band (Grades 7-12)
- Percussion Ensemble
- We perform in various String and Wind Chamber Ensembles throughout the year for special events.
- Upper School Chorus members eligible to audition for local, state and regional honor choruses
- Middle School Chorus members eligible to audition for local, state and regional honor choruses
- 5th Grade Music part of the arts rotation, currently General Music with ukulele band
- 6th Grade Opera Project co-taught with theatre department as part of the arts rotation
- 7/8th Grade Music Appreciation Semester course with thematic content
- 7/8th Grade Advanced Performing Arts A select class focusing on performance in music, theatre and dance, co-taught with Theatre Department