The Classroom music program at St. Mark school is exceptionally rich. Starting with the introduction to curriculum guided by Music Learning Theory in Kindergarten.  This theory, of how we learn when we learn, is the foundation for everything I do in the classroom.  It is research based and and activity driven.  These activities are all efforts to develop a student's ability to audiate.  Audiation is the ability to perceive music and sound even if the sound is not present; think the music in your head.  This seemingly basic concept is rather difficult to teach and put into practice.  A musician should be able to hear the music, in their mind, before they play the music they desire to play.

    Differentiation is the main activity used to develop audiation.  In its most elementary form this type of differentiation is merely listening to musics of differing meter and tonality.  It is believed that people learn what something is best by learning what it isn’t.

    Classroom instruments used at Saint Mark School

    Grades 4-8

    • Nylon string guitar:  The guitar is my primary instrument and this reflected in the intensity and percentage of class time each year that ends up being dedicated to the this instrument.
    • Keyboard:  The keyboard is the most important instrument, it lends itself to the explanation of music theory and notational understanding.
    • Hand Drums:  More specifically the African Djembe.  Students spend a good deal of time working on their understanding of rhythmic notation.  And the Djembe helps to streamline this process.
    • Drumsticks on practice pads: Basic understanding of the executive skills necessary to use drumsticks, and this process reinforces rhythmic notation understanding.
    • Choir Chimes:  This is an ensemble instrument similar to hand bells.

    Grade 3

    • Recorder:  The Flute recorder is an instrument that has evolved to have a catalog of it’s own.  But had humble beginnings as a trainer for playing the flute.  The fingerings are very similar, and furthermore they are similar to the clarinet and saxophone.  In this way the recorder is excellent for preparing students for the rigors of band.

    Grade K-2

    • Our young students are focused on acculturation, listening to, learning, and performing music from the American songbook.  These songs are juxtaposed against songs and music from other cultures, to help students differentiate music of varying meter and sonority.  
    • Xylophones:  Students have large unit on the chromatic xylophone and use it to play and construct simple songs.

    Concerts:  Every year students grades K-4 put on two concerts.  A Christmas concert and a Spring Concert.  This will usually include some small theatrical elements.  Sometimes acting out the words of a song.  But in more recent years these have become more involved using some props and costumes.

    Students grades 5-8 are encouraged to take part in the annual musical production that the school puts on.  These are very large production and require a major commitment on the part of any interested student.