The study of music at Valley Preparatory School is organized into five areas: reading music, writing music, singing, playing instruments, and listening to music. All efforts aim at increasing the students' skills and appreciation in each of these areas. Each area is taught in every grade level using similar activities but differing in levels of detail.
Reading and writing music are taught together. In the early years, students read from rhythm cards and draw note shapes. The students' skills develop through the grade levels culminating in the writing and performance of original compositions in the upper grades. This hands-on approach gives students a clear motivation for writing and reading notation along with a change to experiment with their own musical ideas. Music reading takes two forms. The first is reading music from notation and the second is reading hand signals such as those given by a conductor. Reading from notation is taught in most classroom activities including singing and the playing of instruments. Students are given instruction in conducting so they may understand musical signals in real time.
Singing is basic to music and proves a performer understands the musical ideas at hand. Vocal technique, especially pronunciation, intonation, and timbre is taught to every student. Students learn to play a variety of instruments in the classroom. The preschool students play percussion instruments and are introduced to the autoharp and the Orff orchestra. Middle school students learn to play choir chimes and English Handbells. They are also introduced to the drum kit.
Listening is a critical skill for musicians and audience members alike. Students are introduced to a wide variety of musical styles, periods, and compositional methods. The skill of listening is reinforced in every activity.
Text: Music - Silver Burdett