Beginning the 2008-2009 school year, Elaine Cooper joined Lawton as a full time music teacher and music became a part of the permanent curriculum. All of the K-5 students enjoy music two times per week. Curriculum is based on the National and State standards and covers singing and playing instruments, composing, movement, listening and responding. Lawton’s music curriculum is sequential and varies by grade level. Here is a snapshot of some of the activities a student can experience during his or her music study.
Selected Elements of Lawton’s Music Curriculum
- Each grade level has a scheduled concert date each year. The purpose of these “informances” is to share student learning with parents and the community. Students may also perform for daytime assemblies and world culture events. Watch for upcoming events in the PTA Newsletters.
- All musical elements are taught using different styles and genres of music, with students improvising, creating and experiencing music through songs, games and movement.
- Singing and vocal skills along with steady beat and rhythms are what we start with at the beginning of each school year. Care of the voice and proper singing is taught from Kindergarten on. Students are assessed through singing games and musical conversations. Steady beat and rhythms are taught through body percussion and movement and then transferred to instruments. Reading, writing, and composing rhythms are done with all grades. Upper grades work on poly-rhythms and longer compositions with different musical forms added during the year.
- Students learn and use music vocabulary terms for tempo and dynamics and how these make songs and rhythmic compositions more expressive. They also learn music theory of note values and pitches and how to read and write music notation.
- The element of tone color/timbre is taught through the creation of sound stories, and by listening games and the study of instrument classifications and how sound is produced .
- There is continual work on taking turns, listening to each other, playing instruments alone, with partners, in sections and as a class which helps students with important ensemble and life skills.
- Students reflect and evaluate their own class performances and discuss how to improve.
- Conducting patterns and how a conductor conveys information without speech is taught.
- Performance etiquette in different settings is taught, reviewed and encouraged.
- Melody and harmony are explored visually, with movement, Curwen hand signs, ear training and the use of good literature for voice and xylophones.
- Music from many cultures is taught through listening, singing games, visual maps and experiencing the music through movement or dance.
- All 3rd-4thth graders learn the recorder. The recorder is a good instrument to teach beginning staff and note reading and is excellent preparation for an instrumental program. Fourth and fifth graders also will study classical music from different periods.
- 5th graders create group compositions using music, poetry, art skills they have developed at Lawton. They also take a state CPBA assessment in the spring.
- Ms. Cooper uses Orff instruments and curriculum, along with Kodaly sight-singing curriculum that includes teaching sol-fege (do, re, mi). Students also play a variety of percussion and world instruments including our wonderful drums.
- There is a world culture focus each year and students learn a variety of music from the continent that we study together as a school. Students also learn learn music from areas of study in their regular classrooms.
- Music enrichment activities by PTA planned around music curriculum have included the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony concerts for 5th graders, EMT field trips and visiting musical artists to Lawton.