Music plays a crucial role in the development of school-aged children. Besides the wide body of research correlating the link between learning music and enhanced mathematical comprehension, as well as overall higher grade point averages for students who learn music as compared to students who have no musical background, there is the irrefutable reality that music is good for the soul.
Starting in Kindergarten, all Saint Hilary School students study music. Following the National Standards for Arts Education, Kindergarten through Grade 2 students explore beat, rhythm, melody, and dynamics. They learn to read whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes and rests. Using movement and pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, students perform two to four measure exercises while reading notation.
In Grade 3, students learn to play the recorder. Building on the rhythmic skills mastered in the earlier grades, children learn to read notes in the treble clef and perform a varied repertoire in solo and group performance.
Grade 4 students learn to play the violin. They continue to develop their music theory, note reading, and performance skills.
Grade 5 students are taught to play the clarinet. In addition to playing in unison, students are challenged to learn contrasting parts and play as vocal accompaniment.
In addition to playing with their entire grade class, students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 have the opportunity to play as part of smaller ensembles.
All students learn to listen, analyze and critique music, identify the relationship between music and other disciplines, and continue to increase their music vocabulary and reading skills. Ensemble instruments include violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, oboe, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, guitar, bass guitar and percussion. Students may choose any ensemble instrument that has been studied with a teacher for one year.
All Saint Hilary School students receive art and studio instruction. At the core of the rich curriculum is the goal that each student learns to value the creative process, and nurture his or her innate abilities. Students will value originality, and learn to appreciate how history and culture influence art. Students will learn to use a variety of media, from drawing to painting and collage, to crafts, textiles, sculpture, and photography.
In Grades K to 2, students explore a variety of subject matter, media, techniques, design elements and principles (texture, color, shape, and line) to describe visual ideas. They draw with oil pastels, pencils, ink, and watercolors combined with drawing materials. They explore three-dimensional work making crafts and sculpting with clay and paper mache. They are introduced to printmaking, and photography using solar treated paper. Students are taught color theory as it relates to color wheel standards depicting primary and secondary colors. They study geometric and organic shapes and learn to apply varying line qualities and surface textures in their work.
In Grades 3 to 5, students use a wider variety of materials to explore the creative process, and begin intellectual inquiry about the nature and value of art. What is art? Who makes art, and why? In drawing class, they use charcoal to study shading and highlighting techniques. In addition to watercolors, painting now includes tempera, acrylic, and watercolor pastel. Students differentiate with cool and warm colors. Landscape and tabletop and portrait subjects are explored in studio. Printmaking explores the concepts of repetition and sequential patterning. In sculpture, students create abstract and representational figures. Crafts involve textural materials in paper collage, textile and fiber projects (kite making, mobiles, paper marbling). Students understand how crafts differ from fine arts. In photography, students study framing and image quality.
By Grade 5, students are encouraged to feel comfortable with ambiguity in the artistic process and to recognize the potential of multiple solutions. Students explore principles of basic perspective (overlapping and scale), and combine drawing from observation and imagination. They keep a drawing journal/ sketchbook. Painting includes opaque watercolors, and working on alternative surfaces. Printmaking, sculpture, and craft making continue to grow in complexity. Students use still cameras to study black and white, then color photography.
In Grades 6 to 8, students are now involved in the preparation, maintenance and care of materials, tools, equipment and facilities. In addition to drawing journals/ sketchbooks, they keep in-process portfolios. Photography advances to digital media and printing. Emphasis is placed on using a variety of media and processes to create original works, with more independent projects outside the classroom. Students are introduced to the art in architecture, furniture, and landscape design as part of living a creative life. Students are encouraged to use art to challenge perceptions, to think more globally, and express their opinions in their art making, in whatever media they choose.