Drums & PercussioN: gRADES K-3
Overview: The study of wide range of percussion instruments from world drumming is also taught: African drumming styles, Latin American styles – Brazilian, Peruvian and Afro Cuban, Irish plus a wide variety of percussion. The weekly drum lessons develop rhythm skills, interpretation and sound practice habits. Students participate in a variety of musical activities in the lessons: Hand percussion and drum kit, playing together and starting to note read rhythms. They learn how to put together the drum set and care for instruments.
After acquisition of basic playing skills in body percussion students acquire skills on at least 5 percussion instruments. Memorization of form is taught so progress is made in playing for performance. The study of wide range of percussion instruments from world drumming is also taught: samba, African, rock and classical repertoire. Students are taught to develop musicianship, developing sound practice techniques. Students can also learn how to listen to other students performing and offer positive feedback.
DRUM KIT: GRADES 4-8
Overview: During this age group the concepts of tempo is delivered by adding dynamics every time the students play. Two hands are used on all rhythm patterns, 1/16 notes are introduced. Strong choices of interpretation and sound practice habits are taught as well.
Students participate in a variety of music activities in the lessons: drum set, timbales and congas, and able to set up and learn maintenance of a drum set playing together and drum note reading.
Hand drum techniques advance using the whole hand plus the study of wide range of percussion instruments and their historical relevance from world drumming: samba, African, rock and classical repertoire. Students can also learn how to listen to other students performing and offer positive comments. By this stage students are taught how to play drum kit with click track, pre-recorded tracks or with piano plus hand drumming posture and hand techniques are developed. Students are often mixed ability from grade 5 -8.
GUITAR: GRADES 4-8
Overview: In the past we have developed a list of songs that should be taught and books such as Everybody’s Guitar Method should only be used in second or third year training.
The weekly guitar lessons develop playing skills, interpretation and sound practice habits. Students participate in variety of music activities in the lessons: playing chords, singing back songs for pitch and reading of simple rhythms. Tablature should NOT BE taught as the only method to read music – it can be used aside note reading or chord reading. This is considered a tool for learning not a skill transferable to music on other instruments.
Reading of notes is only encouraged after acquisition of basic playing skills but some memorization is more important so progress is made in playing for performance. The study of wide range of repertoire from as many stylistic types of music as possible: children’s songs, folk, rock, pop and classical.
Students are taught to develop musicianship, developing strumming techniques, and ear training. Students can also learn how to listen to other students’ performing and offer positive comments.
UKULELE: GRADES K-3
Overview: This new curriculum was devised for younger students to learn the joy of playing this smaller instrument. Students as young as 5 can enjoy playing and singing with confidence. They can advance when bigger on to the guitar or stay with ukulele. Teachers use songs from different song books such as ‘Ultimate Ukulele”.
Learning to play the ukulele while developing musicality, tempo and dynamics of strumming.
Teaching students to correct mistakes is a constant so progress is always made from class to class.
ARTS ALIVE ROCK BAND: GRADES 5-8
Overview: The purpose of this class is to teach students how to work as team and play music that covers rock, pop & rhythm and blues. Some musical training is required to be considered for this class; therefore students are chosen through audition. Students will learn to set up PA, microphones and equipment as part of the class.
It is an 8 month commitment for students Grade 5 and above (younger students may audition if they have played their instrument for two years). Support will be given to the Rock Band teacher by Arts Alive staff who teach guitar, keyboard and drums in the after school program.
All instruments will be considered: Keyboard, Bass Guitar and Guitar Electric and Acoustic, Woodwinds, Drums, Percussion and Vocals
Audition: Each player should be able to play up to 24 bars of music in 4/4 time (from memory) using basic first position chords, power chords for guitar and piano – major and minor chords. Other instruments such as violin or saxophone – will be included on a case by case basis and music will be adapted to fit band player’s talents.
If students do not get in the first time they should be able to audition their skills halfway through the school year. Students, who need more work on their playing skills in chords and fills, should take an Arts Alive crash course for a month to acquire those skills (or take private lesson). Equally, singers need some vocal training – one free lesson is offered by Arts Alive Director but students should take as many lessons as they can afford.
BEGINNING KEYBOARD: GRADES K-3
Overview: The intent behind this curriculum is to establish creativity not rote playing. The weekly keyboard lessons will help students develop tactile instrumental skills, interpretation and practice habits when playing the keyboard. Students participate in variety of musical activities during the lessons: playing, singing and reading notes in both chords and alphabetical form. The students play age appropriate songs from as many stylistic types of music as possible. Students are taught to play to the beat with simple right hand songs and progressively apply chords on the left hand while acquiring ear/pitch training. Students will also play with others as a group and learn how to listen to other students’ perform and offer positive feedback.
Recitals are held for all Arts Alive Schools allowing motivated students to play in public. Every child has chance to play in informal recitals for other students and formal recitals at the end of the year.
KEYBOARD: GRADES 4-8
Overview: Students participate in a variety of musical activities in each lesson including, writing, musicimprovising, and music playing. Students learn to play individually, in duet, and group. Chords to popular music or classic songs are introduced. Grades 4-8 students are encouraged to perform frequently throughout the year to continue working on performance skills.
Recitals are held for all Arts Alive Schools allowing motivated students to play in public and in the community. Every child has chance to play in informal recitals for other students and formal recitals at the end of the year.
VIOLIN 1: GRADES K-3
Overview: The students learn strings to the Suzuki method with some variation. Notational accuracy is expected and correct bow hold is paramount in this endeavor. Students must learn to pitch the notes and this sometimes is done through singing each tune they play. Technical accuracy is developed through the bow hold and the ability to create tone, color, articulation through playing, Communication is taught and students interprets the music, engages the audience and conveys a sense of the meaning of the music they are playing. Strings are able to be taught in multi – level abilities as students can play simple notes and more advanced harmonies written by the teachers. Three performances a year are developed to give students a chance to learn these skills. Classes are ongoing.
Three levels are offered: Beginners usually Grade 1-3 (some schools offer strings to TK and Kindergarten separately), Grade 4 within music class for 6 weeks and Ensemble Grades 5-8. Students who are older beginners will advance more quickly but they will start with the same curriculum.
VIOLIN 2: GRADES 4-8
Overview: The students learn strings (violin, viola, cello) to the Suzuki method with some variations. By this grade we have higher expectations using parts and harmonies with more concert work and playing with other instruments towards performances (i.e. percussion and woodwinds). High school playing is encouraged at this level so that each player strives to work at an advanced level.