Music is a pedagogical framework that sits over national and international curricula. It is an essential part of the human experience and a unique mode of creativity, expression and communication. At New York Academy, the music curriculum encompasses all grades and fosters life-long learning through listening, responding and creating.
Students construct their own knowledge and understanding through inquiry-based learning and teaching. Rather than being simply excellent instrumentalists, vocalist or actors, students are asked to become well-rounded in music. They must talk about music, research music, composer music, and perform music. Students look at the societal, cultural, and historical contexts in which their chosen music lie. Essentially, the students research when the music was performed (history), who was performing it (society), and what was being performed and why (culture.)
We guide our preschool students to learn to appreciate different kinds of music and enjoy different forms of musical expressions. Students listen to music, learn to sing a variety of songs and begin to move to music. Students learn to use musical instruments such as the shaker, tambourine, rhythm stick, bongo, xylophone, duffs, and drums. This helps them to appreciate different aspects of music, develop their fine motor skills, learn Mathematical language, and improve their listening skills.
NYA employs an integrated performance-based music and drama program for Elementary students.. Students learn to sing, play instruments and act, while gaining knowledge and understanding of music theory and creative expression through drama. They also inquire into music using technology and digital music aids. Students develop listening, creative and analytical skills as well as cultural understanding and international-mindedness. Twice a year, New York Academy presents a major performance (December and May).
Approaches to learning in music
The music program is designed to enable students to learn through cognitive, metacognitive and affective skills. Students will experience a music syllabus that develops the following skills.
• Thinking skills
• Social skills
• Communication skills
• Self-management skills
Vocals – The Kodaly Method
This method focuses on the singing voice as the main tool in understanding music. Traditional folk music is central to this method, as it contains the raw elements of a person’s musical culture. The method also uses hand signs to represent notes in the scale, pictures, Movable-Do (as in Do-Re-Mi), rhythm symbols and spoken syllables to represent rhythms. The method suggests that everyone is musically capable and is something Kodaly himself believed. Games and movement are also used, as with other methods, as well as reading and writing. The pentatonic scale is used in the beginning and progresses from there. The main sequence of learning is “listen – sing – understand – read and write – create”. The method is particularly effective in developing listening skills and ear training.
Instruments – The Kodaly Method
The beginning instrumental student has already learned four important things from Kodály method:
1. Students have to be able to recognize the key signature and be able to sing the melody or part of the piece using relative solmization in the instrumental lesson. This process helps children to orient themselves between different tonalities/ keys, to recognize different intervals and to correct intonation problems that might occur.
2. The student has to clap or tap the rhythm of the piece. He has to recognize the meter/time signature in order to play accents in correct positions. Another important thing is that children should be able to recognize and construe every rhythmic element, unit, figuration (syncope, dotted rhythm, etc.)
3. Recognizing the musical form with the help of the teacher is also important. Analysis of the musical form teaches students to think of longer musical units when they play and also is useful to recognize different musical sentences within each musical unit.
4. Students are asked to interpret the mood of the piece. It is very important because they have to choose the right tempo. Choosing the proper tempo is essential because it determines everything- the musical expression, the mood of the piece and the proper performance of rhythms.
Students learn the basic fundamentals of major and minor instruments. Students learn to play instruments such as guitar, ukulele, cajon, drums and keyboards.The instrumentation program enhances the skills of hand eye coordination and thinking outside to create and compose new music and melodies.