• Berwick
Academics

Music

In the Lower School students begin with an exploration of their voices, and different types of sounds. We listen, sing, play, and move to music from around the world. Students discuss differences in elements like pitch, rhythm and dynamics. In the higher grades students have the opportunity to compose their own music, as well as play both the recorder and ukulele.

Students will develop the ability to critically discuss elements of music including: dynamics, tempo, rhythm, mood, and pitch. Our program promotes life-long musical engagement and enjoyment.

Essential Questions:
Where does music come from?
What are the different ways we can use our voices?
What role does music play in our lives?
How has music shaped the past?
How can music create a mood, or tell a story?
Why do we compose music?
How is music different around the world?

Skills and Enduring Understandings:
In the Lower School students begin with an exploration of their voices, and different types of sounds. We listen, sing, play, and move to music from around the world. Students discuss differences in elements like pitch, rhythm and dynamics. In the higher grades students compose their own music, and have the opportunity to play both the recorder and ukulele.

Students will leave the Lower School with the ability to critically discuss elements of music including dynamics, tempo, rhythm, mood, and pitch. Our program promotes life-long musical engagement and enjoyment.

Sample Unit or Activity by Grade:

Pre-K:
High and Low Sounds: In Pre-K students explore the differences between sounds that have a high pitch, and sounds that have a low pitch. We experience these sounds by singing them, listening to recordings, and by playing instruments in the classroom. This type of pitch identification is a fundamental building block in our children’s musical development.

Kindergarten:
Steady Beat: In Kindergarten our students learn simple songs and chants. Once a song is mastered students accompany themselves by playing a steady beat. This beat might be in the form of a hand clap, a shake of an egg shaker, or a beat on a drum. When the students are secure with the beat they move to xylophones to add a bordun.

First Grade:
Pitch Matching: In First Grade there is a focus on our students’ ability to match pitch. Along with singing call and response songs as a group, students also sing echo songs. The teacher sings a line of music, and an individual child sings back.  While singing fun, engaging tunes in a supportive environment students don’t think twice about singing alone. They do their best to find the correct notes, and their best singing voices.

Second Grade:
Folk Dance: In Second Grade students are introduced to folk songs, and the dances that accompany them. While practicing steps like the dosey doe, and sashay students learn about the form of music, duple and triple meters, and how to work cooperatively with others to achieve a common goal.  

Third Grade:
Recorder: In Third Grade students are exposed to our Recorder Karate Program. Based off of similar programs, ours uses a progression of belts as rewards when students learn a new piece of music, and play with correct notes, technique, and rhythm.  While studying the recorder our third graders learn to understand the importance of posture, correct breathing technique, articulation, fingering, note reading, and valuable practicing habits.

Fourth Grade:
Ukulele: This year we will be pioneering a ukelele program in the Lower School. Fourth graders will learn the basics of chord formation, and be able to play fundamental chords on the ukuleles. Students will also have the opportunity to compose their own songs using the chords they have mastered.
 

Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

Berwick Academy is Maine's oldest, independent Pre-K through Post Graduate private school. Our community is dynamic, offering challenging academics, competitive athletics, and creative arts programs. Members of the community operate within a context of caring and respect as we pursue our quest for "useful knowledge" as "one school with three divisions." Students and faculty are encouraged to expand their horizons by balancing academics with athletic, dramatic, and musical options.