Music

Mission Statement               

music

The West Hartford Public Schools' Music Department will provide all students with a comprehensive, standards-based music education. The study of music fosters artistic development, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and the pursuit of life-long learning. Through performing and responding to music, all students develop individual skills, realize a sense of belonging, and establish connections to the community.

The music program of the West Hartford Public schools provides a rich and rigorous experience for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Basic skills are introduced at the 11 elementary schools, while at the 3 middle schools there is a larger emphasis on improving ensemble skills. The high schools feature age and ability leveled ensembles that perform throughout the year.

All students take general music classes from Kindergarten through 8th grade, where they learn to sing, read and write music. They also develop dancing skills, rhythmic skills, and study some music history.

Starting in 4th grade, students are able to begin taking instrument lessons and perform in the Band, Orchestra, and Choir. These ensembles continue in the middle schools, where there are also select ensembles which highlight the most hard-working and gifted students. Each high school offers over a dozen courses where students hone their selected performance skills, vocally and instrumentally.

Inter-El

The Inter-Elementary Music Festival is a program open by audition to 5th and 4th graders in the music ensembles at the elementary schools. Students who are accepted into the Band, Orchestra, and Choir gather weekly for after-school rehearsals. The program culminates in a tour day within the district and a performance on the stage of The Bushnell in Hartford.

October 2019 Letter

Music Curriculum

Kindergarten

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

Singing

  • Sing in tune, clearly, alone and with others, e.g., greeting songs.

Performance/Improvising

  • Imitate simple melodic and rhythmic patterns.
  • Move to and keep a steady beat.

Reading/Notating

  • Develop reading readiness abilities.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to music with focused attention.
  • Respond to music with movement.
  • Use terminology in describing music, e.g., fast/slow; loud/soft.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Mexico.

Grade 1

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

Singing

  • Sing in tune, clearly, alone and with others, e.g., greeting songs.

Performance/Improvising

  • Perform simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, alone and with others.
  • Move to and keep a steady beat while singing.

Reading/Notating

  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., quarter and eighth notes; sol, mi.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to music with focused attention.
  • Respond to music with movement.
  • Use terminology in describing music, e.g., high/low.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Kenya.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., repeat.

Grade 2

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

Singing

  • Sing in tune, clearly, alone and with others.
  • Sing simple two-part songs, e.g., rhythmic and melodic ostinati.

Performance/Improvising

  • Perform simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, alone and with others.
  • Move to and keep a steady beat while singing.

Reading/Notating

  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., half notes; do, re, mi, la.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., repeat sign.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to music with focused attention.
  • Respond to music with movement.
  • Use terminology in describing music, e.g., repeat, variant.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Japan.
  • Put music into a cultural and historical context.

Grade 3

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

Singing

  • Sing songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
  • Sing expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.

Performance/Improvising

  • Perform expressively a varied repertoire.
  • Demonstrate part-work, e.g., simple rounds.

Reading/Notating

  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., sixteenth notes, pentatonic scale.
  • Identify symbols and traditional terms referring to dynamics, tempo and articulation.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., first and second ending.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to and recognize simple forms and styles.
  • Use terminology in describing and analyzing music, e.g., round.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Native American and West Indies.
  • Put music into a cultural and historical context.

Grade 4

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

The instrumental music program provides intensive instruction to develop music skills and is a natural extension of the classroom music curriculum. Students in grades four and five have the opportunity to study a band or orchestra instrument. Small group lessons occur during the school day. Large ensembles rehearse weekly before school.

Singing

  • Sing songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
  • Sing expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.

Instrumental Music

  • Play songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
  • Play expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.

Reading/Notating

  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., syncopated rhythms; extended pentatonic scale.
  • Identify symbols and traditional terms referring to dynamics, tempo and articulation.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., D.C. and D.S.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to and recognize simple form, styles and meter.
  • Use terminology in describing and analyzing music, e.g., folk and work songs.
  • Devise criteria to evaluate music performance, e.g., ensemble, intonation, balance.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity.
  • Put music into a cultural and historical context.

Grade 5

VOCAL MUSIC

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

The instrumental music program provides intensive instruction to develop music skills and is a natural extension of the classroom music curriculum. Students in grades four and five have the opportunity to study a band or orchestra instrument. Small group lessons occur during the school day. Large ensembles rehearse weekly before school.

Singing

  • Sing songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
  • Sing expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.

Instrumental Music

  • Play songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
  • Play expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.

Reading/Notating

  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns; e.g., dotted quarter and eighth; pentachordal melodies.
  • Identify symbols, traditional terms and standard music notation.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., theme and variations.

Listening/Evaluating

  • Listen to and recognize basic form, styles, meter and tonality.
  • Use terminology in describing and analyzing music, e.g., theme and variations.
  • Devise criteria to evaluate music performance, e.g., ensemble, intonation, balance and blend.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity.
  • Put music into a cultural and historical context.

Grade 6

The middle school music curriculum includes classroom instruction for all students in grade 6 and is aligned with State and National Standards to ensure a comprehensive and sequentially appropriate experience. The elective program includes band, orchestra, and choral ensembles. Further extension and enrichment of the curriculum is offered through co-curricular ensembles: jazz band, select string, and vocal ensembles.

Performance Ensembles Performance ensembles focus on building individual and ensemble skills through a broad selection of music literature. Components include:

  • Blend
  • Ear Training
  • Posture
  • Bow Control
  • Expression
  • Sight Reading
  • Breathing
  • Intonation
  • Tone
  • Quality

Instrumental students also receive small group instruction focusing on individual technique within a specific instrument grouping.

Classroom Instruction

Students continue the development of musical skills from elementary school. Reading, writing, improvisation, and listening skills are emphasized. The music of Mexico and Canada, as well as songs and dances from around the world, are included in the curriculum.

Grade 7

The middle school music curriculum includes classroom instruction for all students in grade 7 and is aligned with State and National Standards to ensure a comprehensive and sequentially appropriate experience. The elective program includes band, orchestra, and choral ensembles. Further extension and enrichment of the curriculum is offered through co-curricular ensembles: jazz band, select string, and vocal ensembles.

Performance Ensembles Performance ensembles focus on building individual and ensemble skills through a broad selection of music literature. Components include:

  • Blend
  • Ear Training
  • Posture
  • Bow Control
  • Expression
  • Sight Reading
  • Breathing
  • Intonation
  • Tone Quality

Instrumental students also receive small group instruction focusing on individual technique within a specific instrument grouping.

Classroom Instruction

Students study American music, with an emphasis on African-American music. Students continue to develop vocal techniques and musicianship skills through singing, reading and writing music, improvisation and critical listening.

Grade 8

The middle school music curriculum includes classroom instruction for all students in grade 8 and is aligned with State and National Standards to ensure a comprehensive and sequentially appropriate experience. The elective program includes band, orchestra, and choral ensembles. Further extension and enrichment of the curriculum is offered through co-curricular ensembles: jazz band, select string, and vocal ensembles.

Performance Ensembles Performance ensembles focus on building individual and ensemble skills through a broad selection of music literature. Components include:

  • Blend
  • Ear Training
  • Posture
  • Bow Control
  • Expression
  • Sight Reading
  • Breathing
  • Intonation
  • Tone Quality

Instrumental students also receive small group instruction focusing on individual technique within a specific instrument grouping.

Classroom Instruction

Students, through the use of Music Technology, develop their performance skills on the keyboard, explore compositional styles, apply music theory and notation concepts, and continue their study of composers and their music.

Music Courses in High School

Throughout the Performing Arts classes, students are brought together to work in ensembles where they hone their individual and collaborative skills. Students deepen their artistic development and expressive sensitivity through the carefully guided study of core repertoire and performance preparation.

The West Hartford Public Schools' Music Department provides all students with a comprehensive, standards-based music education. The study of music fosters artistic development, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and the pursuit of life-long learning. Through performing and responding to music, all students develop individual skills, realize a sense of belonging, and establish connections to the community. The Music department offers courses that provide a variety of experiences for students of all abilities and musical backgrounds. These courses are designed for students who wish to pursue music as an avocation as well as those planning a career in music. Some of the courses listed below are open to all students; others require a special audition for membership. Most music classes meet daily.

Students enrolling in performance groups accept the obligation to participate in all scheduled concerts and rehearsals. Students may only be excused with the instructor's approval.

In addition to the courses listed below as Honors Level, Contract Credit is available for a limited number of juniors and seniors in conjunction with one music class. Acceptance to this Contract Honors Program is based on a student audition and portfolio, both of which will be reviewed by the music faculty.

Conard High School

Hall High School

sheet music