“Truly inspiring is the music program, complete with Chorus, Recorder Ensemble and Orchestral performances for the entire community to enjoy.” ~ Nancy Hoose (parent)
The Mountain Laurel Waldorf School Music Program
Music carries the social impulse at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School. Our students are continuously being called to bring their best to the music, finding their place in the group — learning to express their individual voice while listening intently to the whole, a true metaphor for the practical work of life. Through striving, discipline and acting in collaboration, we harvest the joy of making music together. What a blessing!
Curriculum: Orchestra, Chorus & Recorder
The music curriculum at Mountain Laurel flows in two streams: vocal and instrumental. In the early grades, the children love to sing and appreciate the joy and beauty of music. In grades one and two, pentatonic music and traditional childhood songs are emphasized. Introduction to the diatonic major and minor scales is often saved for third grade.
Instrumental music is introduced to the children through the pentatonic flute or recorder in first grade. They begin learning breath, motor control and rhythm. In the early years, in both vocal and instrumental music, music making is emphasized as a social experience.
By third grade, all classes play recorder and may begin learning musical notation. Third graders are guided to choose violin, viola or cello and they begin weekly private lessons with the instrument of their choice. The orchestra teacher begins in the Fall to lead group string lessons once a week to teach the rudiments of playing together; this progresses to twice weekly in the Spring.The children continue both recorder and string instruments in fourth grade. In the fifth grade, the students break into four recorder voices: soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
Students in grades four through eight continue to study their instrument privately. In fifth grade, some students may elect to change to a woodwind, brass or percussion. The fourth and fifth graders benefit from a rich musical group experience in both chorus and string ensemble. The emphasis in these groups is on folk music, unison and two-part singing. In grades six through eight, students transition to a full orchestra with percussion, brass and woodwind sections. The orchestra divides into sectionals for Wednesday rehearsals. The orchestra is open to the greater community and many parents and friends of the school choose to participate. In the upper grades orchestra and chorus, classical and contemporary repertoire is introduced as well as three and four part singing.
In addition to vocal and instrumental ensembles, teachers throughout the grades choose vocal and recorder music that relates to their curriculum Folk songs, seasonal songs and music from the cultures covered in the pedagogy, as well as Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical arrangements, are some sources of music.
Individual classes perform in work shares held twice a year. The chorus and orchestra perform in the Winter and Spring music shares. These events help to teach the children the etiquette of formal music occasions. In addition, students in grades five through eight, have the option to participate in two after school ensembles: Mountain Laurel Chamber Group and Recorder Ensemble. And, new since 2017-2018, alumni students wishing to continue playing in an orchestra, return to Mountain Laurel to participate in the High School Chamber Ensemble.
One of the musical highlights for our students, is the annual “Waldorf Tour”, when the Mountain Laurel Recorder Ensemble and Chamber Group board a real tour bus to play a polished concert for other Waldorf Schools in the North East.