Throughout elementary school, students will be introduced to the elements of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, form, expressive qualities, and tone color. They will experience these elements by listening, singing, moving, playing instruments, improvising, and creating. Students will learn a varied repertoire of music that spans many historical periods and many cultures. In addition to general music class, fourth and fifth grade students will have the opportunity to participate in special ensembles such as orchestra, band and chorus. Please follow one of the links below to learn more about a particular area of music.
The mission of the Souderton Area Elementary Music Department is to instill a knowledge and appreciation of music into our community of learners
The Souderton Area School District Elementary Music Curriculum is based on four district standards. These standards are:
- Response to music
- Evaluate music performance
- Historical and cultural contexts
- Produce/perform music and critique
Students are assessed in each of the three trimesters according to their effort in music, for which they receive a plus, check, or minus on their progress report, and their competency in demonstrating the district music standards. Kindergarten students are assessed in the second and third trimesters ONLY.
Competency indicators, as they appear on the Progress Report, are as follows:
S = Strong Performance
Student is consistently and independently performing above what is expected at this time for the grade level.
P = Progressing
Student is progressing as expected at this time for the grade level.
N = Needs Attention
Student is not progressing at a rate expected at this time for the grade level, and needs additional support and/or intervention.
Students in kindergarten through second grade are assessed throughout the school year on their ability to use a singing voice and/or match pitch, their ability to keep a steady beat, and their ability to distinguish between same and different tonal or rhythm patterns. These are performance-based assessments and are incorporated into regular music instruction.
In addition to the effort and competency indicators, students in third, fourth, and fifth grade must complete standards-based assessments that are reported in each trimester using the following system:
EX - Exceeds Standard:
Student produces work that consistently exceeds grade level standards.
ME - Meets Standard:
Student produces work that meets grade level standards.
AP - Approaching Standard:
Student produces work that approaches grade level standards.
BE - Beginning Standard:
Student shows limited evidence of progress toward the grade level standards, requiring more time and practice
Third grade students are given three assessments based on district music standard 4: Produce/perform music and critique , fourth grade students are given three assessments based on district music standard 3: Historical and Cultural Contexts , and fifth grade students are given three assessments based on district music standard 2: Evaluate Music Performance . District music standard 1: Response to Music is naturally present in all of the other music standards so a specific standards-based assessment is not assigned to it.
Music Is Fun!
Students will quickly discover how much fun music class can be. Since music is an art based mainly on performance, students will learn how to use their singing voice, how to listen to music, how to play classroom instruments, how to read notes and rhythms, how to move to music, how to improvise, how to create their own music, and much, much more.
Recorders are small woodwind instruments (though the ones that students use are made of plastic). Recorder instruction is part of the third grade music curriculum. By learning to read music and experience holding and playing an instrument, students begin to gain the skills necessary to play an instrument in the orchestra and/or band if they choose to be in one or both of these groups. Parents/guardians receive more information about recorders, including how to borrow/purchase recorders, during their child's third grade year in music.
The goal of every member of the Souderton Area Elementary Music Department is to provide children with a knowledge and appreciation of music, as well as a readiness to participate in musical activities during the next level of their school career. Our hope is that students foster a love for this wonderful form of art, which in some way is present in all of our lives every day. As children continue to learn and grow musically, we will challenge them to be better musicians and, in turn, better learners. With the support of parents and guardians, children can be a part of the wonderful community of musicians in the Souderton Area School District.
Fourth and fifth grade students who sign up for the Orchestra Program will gain experience playing an orchestral string instrument (violin, viola, cello, or bass). To play in the orchestra for the Winter and Spring Concerts, students must pass the beginning benchmark from their lesson book as indicated by their teacher. All orchestra students receive one 30-minute small-group lesson per week and attend one 40-minute orchestral rehearsal with the entire group. Throughout the year, students learn progressive technical and musical techniques and develop skills for group playing and performance. Students participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts. Exceptional elementary string students who pass the required benchmark are invited to participate in the SASD Elementary Honors Orchestra.
The band program begins with like-instrument lessons groups (e.g. flute with flute, trombone with trombone, etc.) and is open to students in grades four and five who have an interest in studying a band instrument. The instruments offered for study are: flute, oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, and percussion. Students receive one small group lesson once every week, in most cases with other students who play the same instrument, and one band rehearsal with all of the band members in the school once every week. These lessons are scheduled on a rotating system so that children do not miss the same time of day every week. Throughout the year students learn proper instrument performance techniques, as well as how to read printed music. Students are invited to join the large, mixed instrument group (concert band) when they have achieved the benchmark that appropriately prepares them to understand and perform the music used for concert performances. There is typically one performance in the winter and one in the spring. If your child participates in band, you will receive more information about the performances from the band director. Information will include location and time of the concerts, meeting place for performers, and proper concert attire.
In addition to the band program, there is an elementary honors band program. See Honors Band.
Chorus is open to all fourth and fifth grade students. There is NO audition process. We encourage all of our students to be a part of this fun and challenging ensemble! Rehearsals are scheduled into the school day with students having one rehearsal every week. Students are expected to perform in the winter and spring concerts. If your child participates in chorus, you will receive more information about the performances from the choral director. Information will include location and time of the concerts, meeting place for performers, and proper concert attire.
There are many things that we work on during our chorus rehearsals besides just learning correct tones and rhythms. We work on extending the range of our voices and how to use the proper muscles to provide support for singing. We learn how to pronounce our words so that the audience can understand them. We work on getting the correct tempo (speed) of the music that we perform, the correct dynamics (levels of loud and soft), and the correct style of the piece. We prepare a variety of music that touches on many different styles, time periods, and cultures. We teach many facets of music performance and have a lot of fun in the process!
Special Program: Honors Band
Exceptional band students who demonstrate the benchmarks established for honor band invitation by the due date for that school year (typically early February) will have the opportunity to participate in the annual SASD Elementary Honors Band Festival. The honor band rehearses on Saturday mornings from 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. usually for five consecutive Saturdays. These rehearsals culminate in a special concert.
In order to participate in honors band, students must be able to fulfill all statements related to their instrument in the Honors Band Requirements Form (PDF).
Special Program: Honors Orchestra
Exceptional elementary string students who pass the required benchmarks will be invited to participate in the SASD Elementary Honors Orchestra. Rehearsals typically take place during the month of January. The Honors Orchestra rehearses on Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM for four consecutive Saturdays. The rehearsals build toward a special concert demonstrating a high level of commitment and achievement by the students who participate.