Aiken Vocal Music Students at Aiken explore and develop the most personal instrument of all – - the human voice in vocal music classes for grades K-5.
All students receive sixty minutes of instruction per week. We primarily sing American folk songs and rounds that often incorporate movement, action or dance. This sequential basis for instruction involves children in listening and oral activities that tap the unconscious mind. Slowly musical elements are revealed and made conscious to the student. As concepts related to melody and rhythm are understood, the students relate what they hear to physical movement and then to visual representation. The last and most important step is for pupils to display their understanding using the music writing/notation process.
Rehearsals include relaxation/focusing techniques, vocalises and warm-ups that incorporate exercise, posture, breathing and tone quality skills. Rehearsal time is allocated for student analysis and discussion of the vocal score.
Performances usually include state-of-the-art music and lighting technology including MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) sequenced multi-tracked synthesizer accompaniments. These virtual tracks reinforce the pre-existing choral arrangement or augment it in a novel manner.
Strong support from the school PTO has made possible a continuing grant used for an Accompanist-in-Residence program. Individual grants from the PTO have also purchased live sound and studio technology as well as performance apparel.
Compact disc recordings of the Aiken Chorus have been compiled during both rehearsals and performances. The Aiken Chorus has represented Aiken School, the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and the West Hartford Public Schools by nature of their invitation and performance at the CMEA (Connecticut Music Educators Association) In-Service Conferences in 1991 and 2001. In 2002 and 2006, the Aiken Chorus was recommended by the CMEA for consideration to perform at the MENC (Music Educators National Conference) Eastern Division Conference and Convention.
The instrumental music program at Aiken School is designed to develop musical understanding and instrumental proficiency. All fourth and fifth grade students are encouraged to learn an instrument because everyone has the potential to achieve in music. Research has shown that the study of a musical instrument enhances a student’s academic performance.
The curriculum for the instrumental music program at Aiken develops the “inner instrument” along with the musical instrument because the musical instrument is an extension of the mind and body. The focus of each activity is to empower students to become independent music makers and active music learners. The goal for all students in the instrumental program is to develop a foundation of musical understanding and appreciation that will last a lifetime.
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