Music at Oakwood
“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” – Plato
Music is a priority at Oakwood from general music classes in Lower School to students choosing the area of concentration that interests them in Middle and Upper School. Disciplines include strings, chorus and band. Students and musical groups participate in winter and spring music concerts, community performances and are also encouraged to participate in various and appropriate competitions.
In Lower School, music is a more generalized approach with a Suzuki strings program for those interested in additional offerings. Beginning in fourth grade, students select a course of musical study from three offerings: chorus, strings or band.
Oakwood’s Lower School music program is designed to encourage children’s natural enthusiasm for music and to develop the fundamental skills and understandings of music. Students learn to recognize and demonstrate the basic musical elements of melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and form. Through singing, moving, playing instruments, creating music, and guided listening, children discover and develop their musical abilities. Students also begin to learn how to read and write music and are exposed to different styles of music from different genres and composers through listening as well as music activities.
Suzuki Strings Group Class
Beginning in PreK, students who are interested in learning to play a string instrument are introduced to the idea of music through strings and working together in small ensembles. Suzuki inspired group lessons (combined violin, viola, and cello) are provided after school for interested participants at an additional cost to parents.
Middle and Upper School
Students participate in a small Middle School strings ensemble (violin, viola, and cello) comprised of students of various levels of experience. New skills are taught by expanding on the foundations of students' prior learning, and students enjoy playing chamber music together.
The Upper School strings ensemble builds on the skills that the students have learned in the Middle School strings ensemble and begin to sight-read regularly and play more complex rhythms and harmonies. They learn major/minor/diminished/augmented chord identification along with interval recognition. Various genres of music are introduced, and students develop the knowledge to speak confidently about different composers who lived throughout the course of classical music history. Individual practice expectations increase, and more community and school performances are available. Students participate in the winter and spring music concerts. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Senior Regional All State Orchestra auditions and clinic in the spring.
Chorus provides opportunities for students to develop their musical potential and aesthetic understanding through singing in a vocal ensemble. The goals of the chorus curriculum include cultivating a beautiful tone; developing a stronger aesthetic awareness; strengthening music reading abilities; and building technical skills, teamwork, and responsible rehearsal habits. Students also strengthen their listening skills, their abilities to analyze and evaluate music, and their performance skills. Attention is given to relating the students’ musical experiences to their personal development. Performance opportunities include: Winter and Spring Concerts, All-State and Honors Chorus auditions, choral festivals, graduation, and other school and community events.
Middle School Band introduces students to woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. The young musicians study the fundamentals of music notation and reading, instrument care, performance, music appreciation, and overall involvement in the arts. Students do not need to have prior experience with an instrument to join band. Performance opportunities include Winter and Spring Music Concerts, Art Shows, the Variety Show, school assemblies, and community events.
The Upper School Jazz Ensemble focuses on learning to play jazz standards, which expands students’ knowledge of the repertoire, while gaining ability in classical technique and jazz idioms. The ensemble typically takes a field trip to East Carolina University to sit in on a Jazz Band “A” rehearsal, which is a highly unique and valuable experience. Students enrolled in this class typically have at least two years of traditional band experience. The Jazz Ensemble performs at the Upper School music concerts.
The Upper School Band is open to students in grades eight through twelve with previous band experience. The study of standard band literature is combined with method book instruction in order to promote the acquisition of comprehensive technical ability. The Upper School Band performs at the Upper School music concerts in the winter and springtime.