Music and Fine Arts at CLS:
Developing in Each Child the Skills and Love of Music!
The music and fine arts program at Concordia Lutheran Schools is extensive, including all students from the youngest to the oldest. We sing, we dance, we perform, we play instruments and more. Music is a language we want all children to access. The program builds progressively from year to year. Our goal is to build music awareness, knowledge, skills, singing and instrument expertise with each student. We work with kids at whatever talent and interest level they possess. We have a safe and fun environment where everyone can learn and grow in an atmosphere of respect.
Every Child Has Music Within
It’s very rewarding to watch children develop musically from preschool to 8th grade graduation. Music and fine arts play an important part of that. We seek to instill confidence and to develop music skills from the earliest grades to when they actually play an instrument in 4th grade. Studies have shown the incredible impact of music education on cognitive, emotional and social development. Our goal is to build in students an appreciation of music, and to use music education to help them grow in many ways.
Building Skills Grade by Grade
Specific program details are listed by grade levels below. A week at CLS for junior Kindergarten students includes music once a week for fifteen minutes. All other grades have music 30-50 minutes twice a week. They get to sing, move, dance, play instruments. We work to help students become musically literate so that by the end of 3rd grade they are ready to play in band, and by 8th grade graduation all can read treble clef.
Cross Curricular Program: Incorporating Music into Cultural Studies
Cross curricular programs are truly enriching,with a team teaching approach. Primary teachers regularly study geography and cultures of countries such as Mexico, India, Hawaii, and other parts of the world. Our music teacher collaborates and shares songs and dances from those countries creating a fully integrated lesson.
Helping Students Experience the Thrill of Performance
CLS offers Band, Choir, and Marimbas for Performance Groups & Ensembles
Because one of the greatest thrills and keys to musical development is to perform in front of others, we build performance experiences into our program. Our youngest students perform at Christmas events, while 2nd and 3rd graders present a spring musical. The 4th and 5th grade marimbas group performs monthly at school functions and out in the community. Children who are taking private lessons and other specific groups are given the opportunity to perform at our weekly chapels. Each year students in 5th – 8th grades attend the Lutheran Elementary Schools Tournament (LEST) and compete in the vocal ensemble, band and other musical categories.
“What makes my job rewarding is certainly to see students advance professionally in music, but the greatest thrill is to see graduates have the joy of singing in the community, or singing in church, just the joy of seeing people carry music into their lives.”
Connie Schmidt, Music Instructor
Pre-K Music meets once a week in the music room. Currently we are singing and moving to songs that deal with the weather — wind, rain and sun. Finding ways to keep a steady beat with our bodies or percussion instruments give us opportunities to move! Utilizing the “Brain Dance” music approaches developed by Anne Green Gilbert for cognitive and emotional development.
Kindergarten meets for music class twice a week, Wednesday and Thursday. Goals for Kindergarten are to move to a steady beat, play it with percussion instruments, and be able to identify steady beats by listening to music. Finding a singing voice is another major goal for primary age students.
First Grade continues what was begun in Kindergarten — learning to find a singing voice and match pitch, not only keep and recognize a steady beat but to read basic rhythms using quarter notes and eighth notes, play hand drums, triangles and finger cymbals, and scraper instruments. Bar instruments are special additions on some singing games.
Second Grade builds upon the basics learned in Kindergarten and First Grade — keeping and recognizing steady beat, matching pitch while singing, reading basic rhythms and playing beginning patterns on bar instruments and other percussion instruments. This class sings a lot with their classroom teachers as well, so they are able to do some nice singing for special music in Chapel. They also begin to read notes on the music staff, sol, mi, do and la are the current pitches we are working with.
Third Grade transitions into the recorder to prepare for playing instruments in Band as Fourth Graders. They begin to identify, read and write notes on the treble staff, both rhythms and pitches. We use a recorder method called “Recorder Karate.” Students receive a karate “belt” — colored embroider floss — to tie on their recorder cases when they pass a new song for each level.
Fourth Grade students at CLS participate in Band for the entire year. It’s always an exciting transition for students when they begin an instrument. Building upon the foundations they developed in their first years at CLS, students quickly transition and begin learning the skills of a new instrument. Our instructors work with each student and build the group in to a functioning band with early performances designed to help them experience the thrill of playing in front of others and building their confidence.
Fifth Grade General Music Class is designed for students who do not want to continue Band after their initial year of exploration as fourth graders. Fifth grade music does units centered around various themes — Elements of Music, Science of Sound, Music of the Colonial Era, Music of the Oregon Trail Era, Jazz, Music of Australia, a Drumming Unit. Some years students are interested in doing more folk dancing, playing more advanced recorder pieces or singing more often for Chapel special music.