The music program is carefully crafted at each grade level to build a foundation that supports more complex music studies. It is a progressive journey of musicianship that begins with learning basic music fundamentals and leads to ensemble playing or singing. We help students to understand how making music is a significant and universal aspect of human expression.
Early Education Program
EEP teachers lead children in a music and movement activity every day. Each lesson allows children learn music in developmentally appropriate ways which supports a child’s language, cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development. Children learn moving in rhythm, singing in various tonalities, improvising, listening, using language in musical ways, and dancing. Music is a part of daily classroom life, extending to other curriculum areas like language, art, and math.
Music in the Lower School teaches foundational music skills such as rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo and form through singing, dancing, composing and playing instruments such as maracas, drums and keyboard. The introduction of the recorder in Grade 4 further expands students’ musical understanding and prepares them for more formal instrumental study. In Grade 5, students may choose to pursue an orchestral or band instrument or to be in the Treble Makers, a group that studies vocal techniques, composition, and musical theatre. Each grade level performs a concert during the year.
The students are immersed in music that encompasses a wide range of stylistic and cultural influences. Music offerings in the middle school include Chorus, String Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Guitar and Advanced Jazz Band. Students are presented with performance opportunities throughout the year. The goal of the music curriculum is to develop well-rounded musicians who are prepared for a lifetime of music appreciation and/or continued instrumental or choral study at the high school level. Music offerings in the middle school include Chorus, String Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Guitar, and Advanced Jazz Band. The students are immersed in music that encompasses a wide range of stylistic and cultural influences. The Middle School music program offers a variety of electives for student musicians at any level of experience
- General Music
- String Orchestra
- Wind Ensemble
- Advanced Jazz Band
The IB Arts guide states that the "Theatre in the MYP engages students in an active relationship with the subject and encourages autonomous learning and exploration. It encourages the growth of creative, reflective and communication skills through practical work. Emphasis is placed on the artistic process and the students’ understanding of this process as an essential component to their own artistic development through continuous investigation, planning, goal setting, rehearsing, performing/presenting, reflection and evaluation."
Theatre 6/Year 1 is designed to offer students a general overview of drama and the opportunities involved in theatrical production. Students will experience the elements of theatre in a hands-on approach by artistically investigating roles such as actor, director, costume designer, set designer, sound technician, and props master.
Theatre 7/Year 2 offers students three unique trimesters of theatrical exploration and application. In the first trimester, students will experience the elements of theatre in a hands-on approach by artistically investigating the “World Puppetry” while building skills in the optimal use of the voice and collaborative ensemble work. The second trimester takes students on a journey to explore Asian Theatre traditions of China and/or Japan. The third trimester offers students a Production Practicum in conjunction with the annual spring musical. Students will create and lead design projects related to the selected show.
Theatre 8/Year 3 invites students to develop a deeper appreciation and application of drama. Coursework begins with theatre foundations as a tool for self-awareness such as physical expression, vocal technique, improvisation, and collaborative work. Students will experience the elements of theatre in a hands-on approach by artistically investigating roles such as actor, director and designer. Units of study include: “The Actor as a Student of Humanity” which ties into the Washington, D.C. field study and interdisciplinary units in Language and Literature and Art; Improvisation, Theatre History through Scene Study and a Performance Practicum. Students work together as an ensemble towards the common goal of presenting formal performances and devised presentations.
In addition to the MYP Theatre course offerings, St. Mary’s presents an annual spring musical for students in grades 3-8. Each participant is offered a role in the cast and/or creative team and crew. Students have a voice in selecting the musical each year. Middle school students have the opportunity to take on leadership roles in production design, stage management, choreography and directing. Recent past production include: The Lion King, Jr., The King and I, Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Shrek, The Musical, Jr., and Seussical Jr.
Theatre Areas of Study
- Musical Theatre
- Production Design
- Theatre History
- Western and Non-Western Theatre
- Set Design
- Costume Design
- Technical Theatre and Production Crew
Dance (MYP Year One, Two and Three)
Dance in the MYP offers students access to different genres of dance, techniques, choreographers, professional dancers, global dance styles and developments in the world of dance. Students will learn how to prepare the body for dance and the essential components of dance choreography. Students will have the opportunity to perform individually and in small and large groups to different audiences within our school community. This class is designed to nurture the students’ passions and empower them to achieve their personal best through dance movements.