Music is an essential part of education at BPS. In music class, students have the opportunity to sing, dance, play games, and play instruments. These activities are used to reinforce concepts that students learn in their general education classroom as well as to prepare them for performance classes that they may participate in when they are older.
In kindergarten, steady beat is practiced throughout the year through movement and playing rhythm instruments. Later, the concept of rhythm is introduced, and contrasts are made to distinguish between rhythms and steady beats. Students discuss basic elements of music, such as the difference between high and low, loud and soft, and short and long.
First graders review concepts from kindergarten and then apply those concepts to basic symbols that are found in music. High and low is applied to the solfege syllables so and mi. Loud and soft become known as forte and piano. Short and long are measured in beats and recognized in notation. Much attention is focused on rhythm reading (using quarter notes, beamed eighth notes, and quarter rests.) Students say and clap simple rhythms that are written on the board. A variety of activities are used to provide rhythm reading practice.
Second grade students use music books to navigate their songs. Students quickly discover that some of the rules for reading a book do not apply to following verses in a song. Students learn how to use repeat signs, segno, and first and second endings in finding their way through a song. This process is essential to understanding how to read music later in band and choir. Students who have exposure to reading simple music at an early age will have more understanding when they are presented with performance music. This will allow them to focus on performance technique when they are ready to learn to play an instrument or to sight-sing in choir.
Much time is also dedicated to instrument families during the second grade year. Students categorize instruments according to how each one produces sound. Class time includes listening to instruments individually to help to distinguish instruments by their tone colors.
Music offers many possibilities for self-expression. It is our goal at BPS to provide students with the foundational music skills they need so that as they grow, they can enjoy the artistry that music encompasses.