IN LOWER SCHOOL
In lower school music, students sing, chant, play instruments, listen, and play games. The kindergarten through fourth grade curriculum incorporates a variety of methods and approaches, including Orff-Schulwerk, the Kodály Method, and Music Learning Theory (MLT). All students learn tonal syllables (Do, Re, Mi) and the Kodály/Curwen hand signs for the musical scale. Elementary general music focuses on developing audiation (musical thought) and follows a “Listen, Speak, Read, Write” language learning sequence. In the case of music, speaking is replaced with chanting and singing. The voice is the primary instrument of elementary music, and students sing both melodies and bass lines. Using a wide variety of meters and tonalities expands the musical vocabulary of students and embraces the rich musical diversity of all cultures and ethnicities. In addition to singing, Open Window School has a large variety of percussion instruments for students to explore. By singing and playing multiple parts of the same song, students begin to audiate harmonic function in addition to melody. Lastly, singing and movement games provide a safe and welcoming context for students to explore new concepts, take risks, and sing solo.
IN MIDDLE SCHOOL
Middle school students build on their knowledge from lower school and sing more complicated songs in a variety of tonalities and meters. Students also focus more on the “Read” and “Write” steps of the “Listen, Speak, Read, Write” learning sequence. Students clap and chant rhythm patterns in multiple meters. Students also begin sight-singing melodies using solfege syllables (Do, Re, Mi) and the Kodály/Curwen hand signs for the musical scale. Students transfer and express their musical ideas using various apps and technology such as Garageband for iPad. Students compose pieces and begin writing short melodies with harmonic accompaniment. Students also explore the Ukulele, an instrument from the string family often used as a steppingstone to guitar. In collaboration with the drama program, students will perform in a musical at least once in their middle school career.
Students participate in choir through our electives program. The Open Window School Choir sings songs in unison as well as 2 and 3-part harmony. Students learn the basics of vocal production including body alignment, breath support, vowel production, and registration. Any student that can echo short tonal patterns is eligible to enroll. The choir performs for various school events and for the community throughout the school year.