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Music

The comprehensive music program aims to accomplish two goals: to develop in students a lifelong love of music and to provide them with opportunities to express themselves musically in a variety of ways.

Many musical influences drive the core of learning at Mandell. Our students are able to understand music on a deeply expressive and theoretical level. A connection is fostered between the personal musical choices of students and the literature we study in school. Music is integrated across all disciplines.

The overall goal of music learning in the Lower School is for students to be able to sing and move expressively. Singing is the primary focus of the early elementary grades. Students are taught to understand the difference between the melody, inner-voices (equivalent to harmony), and bass-lines of songs they learned. At the same time, students learn how to move their bodies meaningfully to a wide variety of music in different tonalities, meters, and styles.

Students begin developing their audiation skills which is the process of mentally hearing and comprehending music. Once audiation skills are well-developed, students extend their music learning to instruments, beginning with the recorder in the Second Grade. Through listening, moving, singing, playing, and improvising, students build a strong and well-rounded musical foundation: one in which they can express, in a variety of different ways, their musical comprehension.

In Third Grade children continue the study of voices and recorder but add percussion. In Fourth Grade they put their musical knowledge into practice by learning to play a woodwind instrument. Concurrent with Instrumental Music study, students in the Upper School begin exploring how their music learning relates to society, history, and culture by studying a wide variety of musical literature. After listening to music, students “break down” their musical choices, discussing everything from a piece’s harmonic structure to the historical and social implications of the piece.

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