Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity. –Modest Mussorgsky
3rd and 4th graders pursue a designated musical subject or “big question” for the year, which changes annually. In groups, pairs, or individually, students research the subjects at their appropriate grade level using iPads, books and other materials set aside for them. In the spring they present synthesized information in a multimedia or oral presentation, shedding light on, answering, or even challenging some of their initial questions.
Examples from previous years include “What is Ethnomusicology?” and “What inspires you?” as related to the piece Pictures At An Exhibition, by Modest Mussorgsky. This year’s big questions are: “Who was Marian Anderson?”, “What is a spiritual?”, and “Where do music and racism meet?”
Students also learn and practice proper position for singing, beginning breath control and awareness of their sound within the ensemble as they work on repertoire for the Thanksgiving and winter concerts.