Lower School Music
The Lower School Music Program is rooted in the understanding that every child is inherently and uniquely musical. We organize challenging, engaging, and collaborative musical activities, through which students develop high standards of musicianship. Our students sing expressively, in tune, and in harmony. They learn to play instruments in ensembles, including world drums and percussion, mallet instruments, keyboard, guitar, and recorders. Through the study of solfege, students learn to sing increasingly difficult music from notation. Through movement and directed listening, they understand recorded music from the inside out, appreciating and falling in love with music from a variety of cultures and historical periods. Finally, students create their own music, improvising, arranging, and composing, most often in small group projects.
Upper School Music
The Music Program in the Upper School builds upon the development of music reading, listening, and singing skills in the Lower School. Students transition from general music in sixth grade to music performance ensembles and larger groups in seventh grade through High School. Sixth grade students study proper vocalization, incorporating proper breathing, vocal warm-ups, singing in tune, and pitch matching through the Kodály Method, sight reading music with emphasis on musical literacy, and beginner Music Theory. Students in seventh and eighth grades and in High School can choose from an array of Music elective offerings, including more advanced Vocal Techniques, Chorus, Piano/Keyboard, and Music Recording, Production, and Composition.
Students study music in historical and global contexts and experience music as a means to support other academic areas through project-based learning and long-term cross-curricular units. IDEAL’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program broadens students’ musical exposure and links to our core social justice curriculum by teaching students how music can serve as a tool of social change. Performance opportunities such as assemblies, Peace & Light Ceremony, and Moving Up Ceremony allow IDEAL musicians to share their achievements. Each spring, the eighth graders collaborate to write, direct, and compose an original eighth grade musical; vocal and instrumental musicians in the class become leaders in guiding their peers through the creative process. Finally, a spring musical production brings students in Middle and High School together to learn about stage productions and to perform in a professional venue.