All students participate in general music classes where they are introduced to the elements of music. The curriculum is sequential and based on the Pennsylvania State Music Standards and MENC suggested guidelines. Students will have the opportunity to experience the essential elements of music, which include rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and expressive qualities. The ability to sing, create, read, write, move, and listen to music with understanding is the goal of the elementary student.
Students in kindergarten will have music for thirty minutes per cycle, and first graders will have music for two thirty-minute sessions per cycle. Music class for second, third, and fourth graders will occur for forty-five minutes per cycle.
Third-grade students will learn the basic skills of playing the recorder and will have the opportunity to be selected for the All-Star Recorder Ensemble. Elementary Chorus begins in grade 3 and continues through grade 6; it consists of one semester of Chorus each school year. All third-grade students will participate in chorus during the second semester and will sing and play their recorders in the Spring Concert. Third-grade chorus takes place for forty-five minutes each cycle. Opportunities for select choral ensembles and solos are available during the elementary years.
Instruction begins in Grade 3 and continues through Grade 6. Instructional lessons are offered during the school day, once per six-day cycle. Orchestra is held once per cycle in the Wyomissing Hills Elementary Center and twice each cycle in the West Reading Elementary Center.
Instruction begins in Grade 4 and continues through Grade 6. Instructional lessons are offered during the school day, twice each cycle. Band is held once per cycle in each of the elementary centers.
Students will have the opportunity to play a band instrument in fourth grade. A parent meeting will be held in the fall for students interested in playing a band instrument. Each student will receive a thirty-minute lesson and will attend a forty-five minute band rehearsal each cycle. Technique and the basics of music theory will be introduced to the students. Students will perform various styles of music at both the Winter and Spring Concerts. Fourth-grade students will also participate in a chorus rehearsal for forty-five minutes each cycle and will perform at the Winter Concert.
String Music for Grades 3-6
The string program provides students the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to play a string instrument, as well as, develop responsibility, confidence, and friendships. Students that are interested in playing a string instrument have the opportunity to begin in grades 3 through 6. Each student participates in a half-hour small group lesson and a forty-five-minute orchestra rehearsal in grades 3 and 4, and two half-hour sessions in grades 5 and 6.
The third-grade orchestra is an opportunity for beginning string students to utilize newly acquired skills. Technique, music theory, and music history are introduced and discussed in a "kid-friendly" manner. Different styles of music are selected to be performed in the winter and spring concerts.
This group provides students that have been studying a string instrument for at least a year to perform in a large group. Skills and knowledge are enhanced and broadened through the practice and performance of various styles of music. These students perform at the winter and spring concerts.
The ensemble allows students that are in fourth grade and studying with a private teacher to utilize their advanced skills. Students perform more challenging music and are encouraged to add interpretive elements to their playing. These students perform in the winter and spring concerts and other school opportunities.
Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Orchestra
This orchestra combines two grade levels of students. It meets twice a cycle for a half hour. Beginning players, as well as advanced students, are invited to participate. More attention is given to technique and interpretation of performance music. The orchestra performs at the winter and spring concerts. Sixth-grade students also have the opportunity to participate in a countywide sixth-grade string festival in March.