Suzuki Violins, Piano Keyboards,
Students in Kindergarten and First Grade in the EGUSD, NUSD, SCUSD, FCUSD are taught to play the violin by our
certified Suzuki instructor. Violin class is taught in the classroom and
involves the classroom teacher and parent volunteers. In
Kindergarten, the class is taught for one-half hour with students divided into
two “master classes” of approximately ten students each. When one
master class receives instruction, the other is outside the classroom engaged
in a music related activity with parent volunteers. Inside the classroom,
instruction commences with students and teacher greeting each other respectfully
in Japanese. Students are taught the parts of the violin and bow and
to respect and value their instrument. Students learn numerous
physical positions necessary for playing the violin; these include proper foot
stance, rest position with violin under arm, bow hold, violin placement under
chin and pizzicato with thumb on fingerboard. Toward the conclusion of the
year, students begin to learn to draw the bow across the strings.
In first grade, all the above skills are reviewed. The class length, however, is extended to forty five minutes with each master class taught for one-half hour once a week. While one master class is taking their lesson the other put on ear buds and work on a music related computer program on laptops. Students also begin to read music on a staff and to apply the rhythms they have learned while drawing the bow across the string beginning to make a full sound. Using open strings and simple fingerings, students learn a basic repertoire. At year’s end, all Kindergarten and First Grade students perform in a multi-district recital.
Keyboards Music Program
All students in Grades 2-5 report to the music room one day per week for one hour of piano keyboard instruction designed by the MIND Institute and taught by a skilled piano teacher. A typical hour lesson consists of clapping note values, reading notes on a staff and learning repertoire of progressively more difficult pieces. Instruction also includes listening to classical music and learning about various composers. At the end of second grade, students are able to read music and employ parallel and contrary motion between hands as well as utilize right-hand melody with left hand accompaniment. As the grades progress, students’ master more complex note and rhythmic patterns reflected in repertoire of increasing difficulty. Overall, the music concepts learned by the students involve ratios, fractions and proportions abstractly expressed in the form of musical notation. Keyboard instruction, thus, further enhances the brains’ “hard-wiring” for spatial temporal reasoning used in computer lab. This research-based program offers traditional instruction that emphasizes visual and auditory recognition of patterns and mathematical concepts inherent in music.
Students in 3rd-5th grade have the opportunity to learn to play a string or wind instrument as part of our school orchestra program. As long as the child agrees to a yearlong commitment, they can choose from a variety of instruments including strings, winds and brass. Lessons are taught once a week and children can check out instruments (at no charge) for practice at home.