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Music at Wilmington Montessori School

Music is an innate gift given at birth. Wilmington Montessori School provides a developmentally appropriate music curriculum that nurtures this gift to its fullest potential.

Lessons engage students in activities exploring steady rhythm, melody, harmony and the diverse expressive qualities of music through speaking, singing, moving, creating, notating and listening. Songs, rhymes and finger plays foster the development of steady beat and audiation. Pitch is cultivated through echo, call-and-response, partner songs, rounds and harmony in the upper grades. Rhythm is explored through movement and listening activities accompanied by props including scarves, beanbags, parachutes and percussion instruments.

The music room at WMS is a wonderful environment for music education. Xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, congas and bongos greet the students as they enter, and various interesting percussion instruments line the shelves and cabinets. These are the “tools” that we use to understand more expressive musical concepts like tempo, dynamics, articulation and form; preparing young minds to understand tonal and rhythmic context. As students progress, this context is applied to musical notation. Our curriculum incorporates elements from several pedagogical streams, primarily Gordon’s Music Learning Theory, resulting in lessons based solely on the best practices in the field of music education.

Music in the Pre-Primary (Toddler) Program

Toddler MusicIn the Pre-Primary (Toddler) Program, the music teacher visits classrooms on a weekly basis. Students are absorbed in a musical environment that promotes a variety of tonalities and meters, building their melodic and rhythmic context as their understanding of music and language develops. 
Musical goals in the Toddler Program include:
  • Developing coordination of breath and body through movement and singing activities.
  • Using an assortment of instruments and props to explore the world of music through different mediums and timbres.
  • Informally accompanying students through pre-auditory developmental stages to promote musical growth and success in future years.

Music in the Primary (3-6) Program

Students in the Primary (3-6) Program visit the music room on a weekly basis and perform as a group in a concert each spring. Along with developing core musical skills, making music together is an important social learning experience in which the children begin to experience how the whole can be more than the sum of its parts.

Musical goals for students in the Primary Program include the following:
  • Developing a sense of steady beat on various percussion instruments, including drums, bongos, congas, triangles, rhythm sticks, Orff instruments, etc.
  • Through imitation and assimilation activities, developing a singing voice in both the melodic and rhythmic realm of music.
  • Participating in movement activities that focus on coordination of body and breath while singing.
  • Starting to distinguish between musical qualities of loud/soft, fast/slow, high/low and choppy/smooth.

Music in the Lower Elementary (6-9) Program

In the Lower Elementary Program, students attend music class on a weekly basis and perform in winter production that includes singing, use of percussion instruments, simple choreography and spoken lines. As children's reading skills develop, they are also able to begin to learn to read musical notation, and as their mathematical understanding develops, so does their ability to understand musical rhythms.
Goals of the Lower Elementary music program include:
  • Beginning to understand the context of macrobeat/microbeat in usual duple and usual triple meters.
  • Learning to read musical notation using the treble staff and basic rhythmic patterns.
  • Developing proper instrumental technique using classroom instruments, Orff instruments and recorders.
  • Identifying the instruments of the orchestra, organized by family, both visually and aurally.
  • Verbally associating sounds with sight, including note names, meter, tonal solfège and expressive qualities such as dynamics, tempo, articulation and instrumentation.

Music in the Upper Elementary (9-12) Program

Upper Elementary students attend music class on a weekly basis and also meet weekly as a choral ensemble. Each year, students put on two musical performances - a talent show and an age-appropriate musical theater production. Along with developing their musicianship, these children have the opportunity to learn to operate lighting and sound systems, create sets, assist with choreography and more in order to create a piece of art that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. They leave WMS with a solid musical foundation and the confidence to pursue their musical interests as they move on to middle school and beyond.

Goals of the Upper Elementary music program include:
    • Performing in a choral ensemble to develop skills such as blend, singing posture, proper breath support and unified vowel sounds
    • Developing the ability to perform harmony, partner-songs and rounds.
    • Identifying, performing and distinguishing between various tonalities and meters.
    • Recognizing and discovering characteristics of musical genres and forms.
    • Applying previously learned musical knowledge to compose, improvise and perform pieces.
    • Learning to read music in both treble and bass clef.
    • Writing about music using a thoughtful and analytical approach.
    • Identifying a variety of musical notational symbols in both choral and instrumental scores.