At The Burlington School, we start teaching music in preschool! Our Lower School students have music built into their rotation and learn the basics of music and perform with the entire school during our fall concert.
More specifically, starting in PS3, students learn the use of the elements of music – melody, rhythm, harmony, tone color and style. Each component is taught at a developmentally appropriate level and are expanded upon as students grow. In preschool and kindergarten, dance and movement are a big part of the curriculum to build a platform from which students can understand rhythm. Usually beginning in second grade, students are introduced to music history and study several composers. At that age, they also begin to read rhythms and music notations.
Ultimately, we encourage music because singing in a group and alone builds confidence not only in music class, but in all other areas of students' lives.
As students progress to Middle School, they can participate in choir, hand chimes or instrumental music electives. Instrumental music is only offered when there are enough students interested. Hand chimes is offered each trimester.
In choir, Middle School students practice singing from sheet music and further develop their voice control. These students have the opportunity to audition for and travel with the Upper School choir.
In hand chimes, the first skills taught are reading rhythms, notations and musical markings. Students learn to play and perform as a unit with many moving pieces. This requires teamwork and trust. As the students begin to perform for our students and the outside community, it is easy to see their confidence grow.
In Upper School, students have can continue with choir or have the option to take rock ensemble as their arts elective.
In Upper School, choir is an elective. Our Upper School choral ensemble enjoys a rich and outstanding reputation. Students are encouraged to join regardless of their skill level. Students are expected to sing in duets, trios and quartets, and have opportunities for solo singing experiences. Both levels of the class focus on ear training, sight singing, correct use of diction, phrasing, breath control and intonation, as well as creating and analyzing music. Students also practice public performance skills, social etiquette and public speaking.
Rock ensemble is designed to give student musicians an opportunity to perform together in small groups for all four years of their Upper School experience. All instruments are welcome and all levels of musical experience are accepted. This class does not include private instruction on a student's chosen instrument. Instead, guidance is given to all students throughout the course. Students are expected to work on their personal musical growth through study and practice on their own. Private instruction can be arranged if so desired.
Don't let the name "rock ensemble" fool you. Students in this program learn about, and learn to play music from, various genres of popular music such as rock, blues, soul, rhythm and blues, country, pop and jazz. Additionally, students study music as it changes through the decades.
The rock ensembles performs, on average, three concerts a year, typically at the end of each trimester. These shows are free and open to the public as well as students, faculty and staff. Other performances take place when the opportunity arises within the school or community.