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The curriculum of Cornerstone’s early childhood and elementary Music & Movement program values music learning as a unique process, but also connects to and supports all other academic areas. Music classes are recognized as an important means of expression, communication, and community building.  Music objectives center around four basic components of music study: melody, harmony, formal structure and style, and tone color. Cornerstone’s music curriculum is derived primarily from two methods: Orff Schulwerk and the Kodaly method.  Both the Orff and Kodaly  methods are philosophies concerned with the development of the whole child: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative.  Both emphasize the use of only the highest quality musical material, including folk songs, composed works, art music, and multicultural music.  Also fundamental to both methods is an emphasis on participation in a wide variety of musical experiences and styles.  

Orff Schulwerk is a long-standing method based on things children like to do:  sing, chant, move, and play instruments. Experiencing music in these ways enables children to come to know what music is; to feel comfortable as musical beings; and ultimately, to manipulate musical elements intentionally to create and express their own ideas and emotions.

The second, known as the Kodaly method, focuses on music literacy.  Musically literate children and adults are able to look at a musical score and ‘hear” the sounds in their head.  The process of music literacy begins when students first learn to recognize relationships between pitches and rhythms aurally.  Then, in the early grades, the process becomes visual through pictures and icons representing songs, poems, and rhymes and gradually transforms to musical notation.  The uniqueness and value of the Kodaly approach lies in its ability to empower children to read, write, and create music independently.

Middle School Performing Arts

The role of the Arts in MYP IB is to “stimulate the imagination, challenge perceptions, and develop creative and analytical skills” within the context of both Visual and Performing Arts. Involvement in arts courses leads to student understanding of the arts in cultural and historical contexts, which in turn supports the development of an “inquiring and empathetic world view” (IBO Arts Subject Brief). Middle School Music Ensembles provide an opportunity for students in grades 6-8 to further develop many of the skills initially learned in grades pre-k through 5. World, folk, popular music and composed pieces are all explored throughout the year in both vocal and instrumental music ensembles. 

Instrumental Composition & Arranging is offered for students who prefer to study instrumental music. Students develop individual techniques and skills on their instrument(s) while learning the basics of music theory and reading, improvisation, composition, and arranging.  

Singing Circle is a chamber (meaning small group) choir which provides middle school singers with opportunities to develop vocal technique and experience a wide range of singing styles. 

Although music classes are not strictly performance ensembles, each group does have several performance opportunities throughout the year in various locations and venues.  All IB music electives meet twice per week, while music exploratory classes meet once per week.