CurriculumMatters: December 15-Music
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
Students are invited to join the Beginning Band during the second half of the year. This band meets weekly before school and works towards their first performance at the EAC Spring Concert.
Upper Level and Middle School students continue to perform in choral ensembles as part of their core curriculum. Most students (approximately 90%), also continue to be a part of the EAC band program. Instrumentalists with one year or more of experience form the Junior band and then transition to the Concert Band as they become more proficient. The Big Band is made up of willing Concert Band members and experienced bass, piano and guitar players. The EAC Percussion Ensemble is available to all experienced percussionists beginning at 9 years of age.
Music Director Ryan Zawel welcomes students every morning before school starts for early morning practices and rehearsals. Our facility thus comes to life each day accompanied by students of all ages working together towards a common goal and growing together musically. Within the confines of the band program students experience community much in the same way as they do in their multi-aged classrooms. On a daily basis elder, more experienced musicians have the opportunity to guide and nurture younger instrumentalists, who in the future then become the mentors for those who are younger.
Middle School students continue to have weekly small group and/or individual lessons. They have the additional opportunity to become a Chamber Player and meet after school with Ryan to form small ensembles based on common musical interests,(e.g. jazz combo, vocal ensembles, recording projects, chamber music, etc.). Jam sessions also occur frequently during open work times.
(Members of Staff Chorus perform.)
The overriding goal of the EAC Music Program is to create life long musicians. The journey towards this goal begins on day one as each EAC student is already considered to be a musician before they walk through our doors!
The Ithaca Festival Parade (Photo courtesy of the Ithaca Journal).
Recent press has articulated the benefits of music instruction that go beyond the value of music for itself and the opportunities for community building inherent in any school band program.
“New research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development. Studies released last month at the Society for Neuroscience meeting here find that music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decisionmaking, and complex memory, and they may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once. Research also found that starting music education early can be even more helpful.” Sarah D. Sparks (Education Week 12/9/13)
Lucky for us, at The Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca, music is at the core of our every day, in fact, it is the very heartbeat of our school and is, in part, makes EAC such a happy place.