Music is fundamental to the human condition—it is an essential source of communication, expression and understanding.
Studying music prepares children for lifetime involvement with music not only as audience members, but also as active participants in performing and creating, thereby enabling them to contribute to the richness and beauty of their own culture.
UNIS has developed a standards-based music program, in which students are actively engaged in performing, creating and responding to music. The UNIS Music program values and promotes the qualities outlined in the school’s guiding principles. Through the study of music, students are encouraged to be more comfortable with the scope of their own feelings and more considerate of the feelings of others. They learn how their own culture and the cultures of their classmates deal with real-life issues such as family, conflict, celebration and adversity. They are guided to be literate, expressive, risk-taking and informed about the music they encounter.
Students in the Junior School develop musical skills and literacy through singing, movement and instrumental playing. A Kodály-centered approach from Junior A through Junior Four engages children in active music making, with their voices as the first and main instrument. Singing games and dances help to internalize music concepts and teach music in real-life situations. Song repertoire is drawn from a wide variety of cultures and contexts within each culture; students explore songs for work, play, ceremony and reflection. A series of Junior School assemblies feature group singing in a communal setting. Students in Junior Four begin to learn the recorder, an experience that supports the bridge connecting class singing and instrumental playing.
Students in the Middle School continue to explore and develop the essential skills that are necessary to be part of a musical ensemble. These skills include increased technical proficiency and expressiveness on an instrument or voice, self-discipline, personal organization and individual effort. Solo and small-group opportunities for performance also exist. The emphasis is on performing, but class activities also include regular ear training, listening, theoretical exercises and activities involving composition and improvisation.
Students in the Tutorial House are offered the chance to specialize in one particular strand of music, having spent their Middle School years engaged in more broad-based activities. They may choose to focus on performing, music theory or music history/appreciation. In the case of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, offered in Tutorial Three and Tutorial Four, students are required to pursue all three strands, with additional studies in music composition. Success in the IB program is a recognized and significant mark of achievement for UNIS students. The Music curriculum from Junior A to tutorial Two has been designed to give students the skills necessary to become capable and enthusiastic IB candidates.