The music curriculum is designed to be age appropriate―from the lightness of the pentatonic mode in early childhood to the complex repertoire of classical and contemporary music in the Middle School.
In first grade, the focus is on pentatonic melodies and echo songs to train pitch and retain the child’s “high” voice. The children also begin learning to play a wooden pentatonic recorder. They learn to listen carefully, to match pitches, and to follow hand gestures. The overall intention in this year is to foster a love for music.
Second-grade students have three music periods each week. Folk songs are added to their repertoire as are simple rounds and harmonies. The teacher expects better concentration and works to develop memorization skills through more complicated and longer songs.
Third graders learn the rudiments of music theory and begin to read music, making their own music books. They switch from the pentatonic to the diatonic recorder. They learn musical notation, rhythmic values, and time signatures. Performances at school events give students a focus for their efforts.
Students at the Rudolf Steiner School are exposed to literature in all its forms, and the step in the early grades from hearing stories to dramatic presentations unfolds seamlessly. Class plays are produced in grades one, two and three. The themes are taken from the narrative context of the year―fairy tales, legends, fables, Old Testament stories, and Native American lore.