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 4 (kindergarten through fourth grade) 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.
(See the K-12 Music Curriculum)
In the Junior A classroom, students are actively engaged in singing games, dances and exploratory activities. There is an emphasis placed upon feeling a steady beat, identifying the different ways of using the voice (speaking, singing, whispering, shouting), creative movement and beautiful, expressive singing. Junior A parents in Manhattan are encouraged to attend Visitor’s Day in the music classroom as well as the annual Junior A Spring Sing, held in the theater, where all the children sing together as a community. In Queens, Junior A students perform in two annual school-wide concerts: U.N. Day and the Winter Concert. They also dance and sing as part of our annual May Day celebration.
Students in Junior One continue to build a repertoire of songs. As in Junior A, much of the learning is experiential. More focus is placed on the development of the head voice, and music reading is introduced. Elements of music literacy introduced are patterns containing quarter and eighth notes and rests as well as three distinct pitches (la, so, mi in the movable "do" solfege system). Junior One students in Manhattan are also encouraged to bring their parents to the annual Visitor’s Day. There is an additional musical performance in the spring in conjunction with the homeroom activities. In Queens, Junior One students perform in two annual school-wide concerts: U.N. Day and the Winter Concert. They also dance and sing as part of our annual May Day celebration.
In Junior Two, music literacy is expanded and children read rhythms containing whole, half and eighth notes/rests. Melodic reading is also increased to include the major pentatonic notes (la, so, mi, re & do). The children are expected to increase their singing range to just over an octave. Beginning part work is introduced through vocal ostinati.
Students in Manhattan take part in an inter-disciplinary study of Native American culture, which culminates in a dramatic/musical presentation in the spring. In Queens, Junior Two students perform in two annual school-wide concerts: United Nations Day and the Winter Concert. They also dance and sing as part of our annual May Day celebration.
Junior Three students increase their vocal range and are expected to sing with increasing clarity, confidence and pitch accuracy. Their melodic reading increases to the range of an octave and a half; rhythmic reading includes triplets and dotted notes.
Manhattan parents are invited to attend two classroom performances throughout the year, featuring songs and dances typical of the year’s study. Special emphasis is placed on African American and U.S. Colonial music. In Queens, Junior Three students perform in two annual school-wide concerts: United Nations Day and the Winter Concert. They also dance and sing as part of our annual May Day celebration.
In Junior Four, students’ reading and singing abilities increase to include the full diatonic (major/minor) scale. Rhythmic awareness also expands to include syncopated patterns. The recorder is introduced, serving as an introductory instrument and as an additional tool to support the melodic and rhythmic literacy that the students have been developing since Junior A.
Junior Four students in Manhattan present two large-scale musical performances in the theater, one in the winter and one in the spring. The spring performance incorporates a series of dances and songs from a variety of cultures. In Queens, Junior Four students perform in two annual school-wide concerts: United Nations Day and the Winter Concert. They also play a special role in the Queens May Day celebration, singing, playing instruments to accompany the younger students and performing the Maypole dance.
Additional Performing Opportunities for Junior School Students
Additional opportunities for music making in the Junior School at the Manhattan campus include Junior Two Orff (primary percussion ensemble), Junior Three and Four Orffestra (intermediate percussion ensemble), Junior Three Choir and Junior Four Choir. There is also a Mothers' Chorus that meets weekly and performs both independently and with the Junior Three and Junior Four Choir. These groups meet outside the regular school day.