ABOUT MUSIC CLASS AT ARLINGTON ELEMENTARY
Music class begins with two main ideas: safety and character. As an elementary music teacher, I am first a teacher of young children. This means, beyond physical safety, I am responsible to provide a place of emotional and intellectual safety, where children may feel free to explore, to make mistakes, and to enjoy the process of making music.
Character involves how students conduct themselves in their relationships with others and especially when no one is watching (or when they think no one is! :-) To facilitate a "safe" music room, we emphasize respect and kindness, as well as cooperation and helpfulness. Music is an ideal subject for imparting these to students. The goal is to contribute to the growth of musically competent adults who desire to use their competence for the good of others.
From a musical perspective, we begin with the steady beat and experiencing music together. Oh, I mean TO-GETH-ER, for most every group performing activity we do in the music room is done as a team with precision using careful listening and cooperation. Our end goal is to make our students ready for middle school music and the other performing arts.
By the end of elementary school, students should also have a limited knowledge of how music fits into the other arts, culture, and world history, and they will have experienced the other performing arts (dance and drama) within the context of their music studies.
Our hope is that all students may be prepared to say "I know everything I need to know to be successful in middle school music. I know how to read notes. I know how to read rhythms. I know what the symbols of music mean. I have a general exposure to the music of many cultures and time periods. I know basic information about how music is structured in melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, and form. I can hear and explain how notes and rhythms relate to one another in a basic way. I have experienced the basic skills necessary for playing music with others: I know about and am growing in the skills of blend (in pitch, tone, and volume) and precision in rhythm. I know how to follow and respond to a conductor. I have experienced public performance and my stage presence is healthy and growing. Middle school director person, the fact is I know all the basic information about music I need to know. To get me started, all you need to tell me is how this new instrument works! Let's play!"