LOWER SCHOOL PERFORMING ARTS
The Lower School Music program begins with Stage I. Roeper recognizes the importance of early childhood music, and provides opportunities for guiding young children to learn about the elements of music and to discover how to make their own music.
Stage II students sing, chant rhymes, use body percussion, play Orff instruments, and play percussion instruments. Through these experiences they integrate and expand their understandings of musical elements. Movement is integral to the assimilation of musical concepts, and our Stage I and II students are involved in a variety of movement activities to emphasize concepts such as beat, flow, form, and style.
Stage III students undergo many transitions. Their developmental growth is nurtured through the various offerings available. All Stage III students take class music. The first year students continue building on the foundation received in Stage II, with an emphasis on singing, movement, and instrument work. The second year students begin learning the soprano recorder. Through this experience they learn more about instrumental ensemble technique, and they begin to develop stronger more independence as a musician. The year in class music culminates with a unit on instruments of the orchestra, with the students actually producing sound on a variety of instruments. A broad array of electives is also available, including such classes as vocal ensemble, musical theater, student composers, music history, and others.
In Stage IV students are assimilating a cumulative knowledge base, as they continue to add and expand on it. They have the opportunity to select and play a band instrument, and to perform with a large vocal ensemble. There are two bands in Stage IV. There is an introductory level Beginning Band, involving classes of woodwinds, brass and percussion. There is also a band class for second-year players: the Advanced Band. This class prepares the band student for middle school repertoire. Students can choose to be involved in a staged music production that has, in recent years, involved works by Gilbert and Sullivan scored for developing voices. Stage IV students also have the opportunity to study an array of subjects related to music, such as student composers, musical maps, actors’ studio, and stringed folk instruments. These offerings are rotated in a way that allows our students to process music in many ways.
At all times, the National Standards for Music are reflected in the course offerings, and in the individual class work that our students do. Meeting the diverse needs of our gifted population is also always paramount.
Materials used to achieve these goals include the finest selection of folk and classical music from around the world, as well as the music of our contemporary society. Attention is given to selecting materials that accomplish pedagogical goals in a developmentally appropriate manner, while continuing to address the emotional needs of our students and the philosophical foundations of our school.