In the famous words of Henry Longfellow, ‘Music is the universal language of mankind’. It transcends barriers to foster a sense of togetherness, a reflection of St Josephs Primary’s Christian values. With this understanding - that it is an important part of each student’s holistic development - music lessons are taught from Prep through to Yr. 6. Throughout their primary school years, the St Joseph student will have the opportunity to perform on a variety of classroom instruments and to sing in parts. They will also learn to create and perform short, simple compositions and demonstrate an ability to listen and respond to music.
In the younger Year levels, music is taught as part of a Connected Arts Program (C.A.P.)
C.A.P. is based on a syntegration* model put forward in Deidre Russell-Brown’s book, ‘M.M.A.D.D. (Music, Media, Art, Dance, Drama) About The Arts’ (2014)
Syntegration*: Several key learning areas or art forms working synergistically together to explore a theme, concept or focus and achieving their own outcomes as well as generic outcomes.
Below is the adapted model for The Connected Arts Program. The smaller circle is the central theme or focus; this filters through the music strand and its underlying pedagogy. All of these radiating circles are connected by the outer lines representing ‘creating’ and ‘responding’, key components of The Arts in the Australian Curriculum. It then ripples out through the other Art strands with an emphasis on Dance and the Visual Arts. This then can lead to wider connections in the key learning areas. Finally it floats on a base of generic skills such as following instructions, team work, making decisions and so forth.
This provides a transparent program for teachers and parents as to what is happening in the music room. It allows the Prep to Yr. 3 student to experience in a weekly, one hour lesson, other Art forms through music in a student-directed creative process. Some examples of Connected Arts Units taught over the four years are Move and Make Sound, Animal Crackers, Hearing Double-Seeing Double, Turn, Turn, Turn-The Seasons or The Planets, What’s In the Bag?-Walt Disney’s Animated Musicals, Asian Getaway, African Safari and Anchors Away!
In the upper school, the program becomes purely music with the Yr. 4’s undertaking the Instrumental Immersion Program. Each student is given a taste of learning to play an orchestral instrument such as the Violin, Flute or Trumpet. Half of their weekly hour lesson is in the classroom learning about the orchestra, the origins of western music groups, T.V and Film Music. The other half hour is learning their instrument with a qualified instrumental teacher in a small group.
In Yr. 5, students study the Musical followed by a year-long focus on the origins of Rock/Pop Music that includes Folk Music, African Music, Gospel/Blues and Jazz. Students are also given the opportunity to learn about chords on the Guitar or Ukulele. A later option is the keyboard. The main focus of Yr. 6 is completing the Origins of Rock and Pop Music unit culminating with the students forming their own rock bands. Over their final two years, they will familiarize themselves with the Garage Band App on the iPad and learn to compose a short pop/rock song.
At St Joseph’s Primary, students also have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular music opportunities such as the choral program - The Junior Joeys (Yr. 1-3 choir), The Senior Singers (Yr4-6 choir) - and the instrumental program which provides lessons on a wide variety of instruments as well as the option to join The Concert Band, The Rock Band or The St Joseph’s String Ensemble.
There are many opportunities to perform within the school community as well as participate in various music festivals, eisteddfods and charity fundraisers. It is hoped that by the end of their primary school years your child has had many positive experiences in the wonderful, wide, world of music and the Connected Arts.