Music at Congressional
The robust music program at Congressional School offers the opportunity to explore our world through singing, playing, moving and listening to a diverse repertoire of many times and many places through an eclectic blend of research-based methodologies, including Orff, Kodály and Dalcroze.
Lower School Music
Beginning in First Grade, Lower School student-musicians receive bi-weekly, forty five-minute instruction during which they are are identifying varying steady beat through an increasing variety of techniques, continuing to match pitch, singing within a six-note range and performing Do and Sol solfeggio through Orff and Kodály opportunities. As student-musicians transition between each grade level, the main concepts of music (i.e. melody, harmony, rhythm, pitch, timbre, expression and form) are illuminated through active participation in performing, creating and describing music. By Grade Four, students are advancing steady beat, singing and playing in three-part harmonies with the entire scale plus La-based minor and continuing to advance their Orff-mallet technique.
Early Childhood Music
The Early Childhood Program serves as the foundation of our music program, and all learning is done through active music-making (“musicing”) of authentic, folk songs from across the globe. As early as Bright Beginnings (infants), student-musicians begin receiving daily, 10-minute musical instruction, a truly unique feature of the program at Congressional. Through exposure to healthy aural stimulus and beginning instrumental opportunities, students begin to explore their voices and the way in which their bodies respond to sound. By Preschool, students receive bi-weekly, thirty-minute instruction during which they are identifying steady beat, matching pitch, singing within a five-note range and showing signs of readiness for Orff and Kodály opportunities.
Middle School Music
In Middle School, student-musicians transition to a rotating, trimester-long Arts block in which they receive music on a daily basis for one-third of the year. During this period, student-musicians are strengthening and expanding upon their fundamental musicianship skills; exploring, in depth, important composers and works from the Western Canon; exploring the compositional process by creating an original piece of music with GarageBand; exploring the production process by creating an original music video; discovering new, global musics (e.g. Carnatic/Hindusthani; Gahu/Ewe; Middle Eastern; South/Central American) and understanding their cultural significance; and exploring cross-curricular ethnographic connections through the creation of a multimedia-based presentation of a personal music ethnography. In addition to their general music instruction, students in Grades Five through Eight may join the Congressional Chorale, a choral ensemble that studies a variety of repertoire and performs frequently both on- and off-campus. This performance-based study allows serious musicians to continue their musical instruction once their trimester of music has ended.