Singing, instruments, music, performance, dance and movement!
Piano lessons are taught at each child’s individual pace and is practiced four-days per week at the beginning of our Music and Theater period. Children have access to a real piano and to individual (child-sized) piano keyboards. Learning how to read music and music theory are included. The cost of keyboards, instruction, and the lesson, performance, and theory books (Faber) are all included in your tuition.
For instruments and music (aside from piano): A wide variety of play instruments is provided in both the self-directed and structured lesson times: drums, xylophone, ukulele, maracas, and more. Here are a few of the ways we learn:
- Instrument Bingo: I play the sound the instrument makes and then children select the corresponding instrument on their bingo cards. Everyone wins, but whoever has the designated pattern gets to ring the chimes at the end of the period.
- We listen to how instruments sound in different music genres (while learning about those categories) and practice playing as a group in different styles.
- We play freeze-dance and musical chairs to instruments the students are playing or music genres they select.
For singing (coinciding with performance and music): though we sing each day at the beginning of Circle Time and the Arts and Crafts periods, we will also be learning songs to sing together. These performance songs are either connected to one of the learning themes or to a holiday. For example, January’s Jobs and Money theme has a sub-theme for week three that is ‘Farm-to-Table’. So this week we are learning the song Old MacDonald Had A Farm along with performing skills (each child gets to be an animal for a solo part). Finished pieces are recorded and sent to all parents, but there are also two full performance recitals per year where the child’s whole family is invited to watch.
We also have weekly puppet shows that are always interactive with the children. These shows help explore our weekly topics, monthly themes, and socio-emotional development. Additionally, the puppet theater and sets are available to the children during free play and the Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio-Emilia program times.
For our two annual performances, one is a class talent show in June and one is a musical performance in December. The child’s extended family are invited to watch and stay for the reception afterwards. Other performances that are informal and spread throughout the year are for our classmates, though I do record them for parents. This would include such things as the above example of singing and acting out Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
Dance and movement often overlap with all of the above categories. For example, in one of the weeks of September, we are learning about our bodies and learn the song Hands Hands Fingers Toes as we move in coordinated actions along with the lyrics. In March, which is World Cultures month, we learn a variety of cultural dance steps and traditional music. A student may choose to include one of those cultural dances to expand into a performance for their part of the class talent show in June. Other times include each student choosing music for us all to play freeze dance to or practicing moves by playing Simon Says.
For Montessori and Reggio-Emilia times, a wide variety of instruments and music (via music players and CDs) are available for the children.
Our Family Field Trips also attend performances and visit cultural festivals and museums for children to explore more.