The curriculum and lessons are broken down into two main areas of studies (1. General Performing Arts 2. Music Focus), and will explore the many branches and far reaches of these two artistic topics. Students will learn to comprehend basic and advanced music theory; learn to sight-read music; will begin to recite and perform drama; dissect scripts; creatively think and develop dramatic narratives; write/create scripts.
In kindergarten, the main goal is to help students build and grow their natural love and appreciation for music. Students learn a lot of thematic music – songs about different seasons, holidays, songs that correspond with their lessons in their other classes, etc. Kindergarten students also learn a lot of movement and dance to really get music lessons into their bodies and muscle memories. With this movement and uninhibited expression, students learn to build their vocal and physical confidence and begin to develop a real personal relationship with music. As well, they come to understand music as communal, through the process of learning, creating, and performing music as a group.
In first grade, students continue to build their love and appreciation for music through group engagement and personal exploration. Moreover, in first grade, students expand on the music and movement exercises they’ve learned in their previous year, and begin more difficult and complex lessons. For example, first graders learn basic music vocabulary (crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, legato, vibrato, etc). The students will explore the science of sound through neat and unique music-based STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) projects. To strengthen and collaborate with their literacy studies, first graders are taught to use music as a literacy tool – to help with pronunciation, diction, spelling, reading, writing, memorization. Through cultural and musical history studies, by year’s end, first graders come to understand the universality of music – that it transcends borders, and also that it weaves its way throughout all facets of life.
Second Graders dive deeper into musical vocabulary and we work on beginner’s music theory. To prepare them for their upcoming drumming classes in 3rd and 4th grade, the second graders will learn basic rhythms and musical notations. They will be able to identify beats and notes types (in basic 4/4 time) – whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes. Second graders will also learn to identify notes by their letter names in the treble clef. Second graders’ curriculum includes more in-depth instrumental exploration, again preparing them for drumming and then guitar studies in future WNS years. Second graders continue lessons and projects about the cultural importance and universality of music with topics like composers, different music genres, musical instruments, music in sports, music in holidays, music in hard social times, music to heal, etc.
6th Grade Performance Arts
During the 6th-grade performance arts course, students will study the various forms of creative activity that are performed in front of an audience – such as drama, music, and dance. Meant to be a continuation of the 5th-grade chorus curriculum, there will be a focus on music, but studies will also include the endless other realms of creative expression. Performance arts students will expand on the basic music/vocal principles studied in students’ previous year. Though, they will begin to focus more on performing arts: theatrical/cinematic history studies, acting, story/script writing reading and analysis, scene production, etc.