ISR Music Department

Music is a vital component of the ISR curriculum and is held in high regard at our school. Over the years, Music at ISR has developed into a program which provides students with a practical approach to composition and performance whilst developing understanding of the most important elements of music. Students build their IB learning skills throughout the entire program, such as inquiry, communication, risk-taking and reflecting as they learn to progress in their musical abilities.

Music at ISR

Students receive music lessons from specialist teachers from grade 1 all the way through to the end of grade 8. During these classes, students gradually develop their understanding of music, and how it is created from its foundational elements to its role and influence in culture. There is also the opportunity to learn instruments at a basic level (these include a recorder, keyboard, ukulele, guitar, and drums).

Students then have the option to elect to study music further, through the IGCSE course in years 9 and 10, and for the IB Diploma in years 11 and 12. Across these four years, students develop composition and performing skills, as well as expand their theoretical, historical, and cultural knowledge through the study of Western Art music, popular music, and World Music.

During SEA, there is also the opportunity to join ISR Band or Primary or MS choir. Private music lessons are also available through the Oxana Musicbox music school, which operates in the school.

Overview of Curriculum

Music in Primary School

The ISR Primary School Music program offers two lessons per week to students in Grades 1 – 3 and one lesson per week to students in Grade 4.  The curriculum integrates elements of Orff and Kodály.  We are guided by the music standards of the National Association for Music Education, which aim to cultivate a student’s ability to carry out the three Artistic Processes of

  • Creating,
  • Performing
  • Responding

These are the processes that musicians have followed for generations, as they develop into their adult selves and connect to their societies and the global community. We believe that students need to have experience in creating in order to be successful 21st century citizens.  Students need to perform – as singers, as instrumentalists, and eventually in their lives and careers. Students need to respond to music of a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures in order to become global citizens and lifelong learners.

All students from Grade 2 onwards gain experience in using music technology as an aid to composition and notation.  In Grade 3, all students begin to learn to play the recorder in one of their weekly Music lessons. In Grade 4, students have an introduction to ukulele.  The goal is to foster musically literate students who also experience the joys of making music in an ensemble.

ISR School Song

Music in Middle and Upper School

The Middle School music curriculum aims to broaden students’ cultural and aesthetic knowledge and provide them with the opportunity to learn an instrument and participate in musical performances. We also utilize digital resources to further explore creativity in music composition tasks. A broad range of music is studied, including Jazz and Pop, along with Western Art music, and time is also dedicated to exploring World Music. The three strands of Listening, Performance, and Composition provide students with a solid foundation in order to study music at the next level in years 9 and 10 and in the IB.

The IGCSE focuses on performance and composition, which is supported via theory and analysis development, achieved through studying set works in detail. Students are exposed to a variety of world music, incorporating a wide range of styles and genres through time. We follow the IB Diploma Program Curriculum for Standard and High Level for Grades 11 and 12. It is designed for students who wish to broaden their educational experience by adding performance art to their profile, or those who wish to pursue a higher education or career opportunity in music. Students are required to study musical perception and actively listen to a wide range of music from different parts of the world, musical cultures, and time periods. They also develop aural perception and understanding of music by learning about musical elements, including form and structure, notations, musical terminology, and context. Through the course of study, students become aware of how musicians work and communicate. Furthermore, students have many options to engage in performance on any instrument of their choice, as well as music composition or arranging. Higher Level music theory and analysis as well as music history, past and present, are studied in depth.

Instruments and Music Rooms

The Music department has 2 large classrooms and 4 practice rooms that are available to students. Thanks to the donations from the Parent Network, ISR has a range of instruments for developing musical abilities, including:

  • 28 violins
  • 2 cellos
  • 1 trumpet
  • 24 guitars (electric bass guitars, electric guitars)
  • 2 drum kit
  • 5 pianos

Private Music Lessons

Private music lessons are offered to ISR students during pre-approved school hours. Through our partnership with Musicbox Oxana, students may opt to take private music lessons at school on nearly any instrument of their choice during or after the school day. Two practice rooms are available for students to use during break times. Many of our students place highly in state and national competitions. ISR instrument teachers are committed to helping their students reach their potential and achieve their goals.

Musical Events

Students have the opportunity to showcase their work and talent through two concerts and two Musicbox Oxana recitals per school year in addition to other festivals and events.
The department organizes different field trips each year trying to further enhance the curriculum, while giving students the opportunity to enjoy live performance of the highest quality. Recent trips have included visiting The Tonhalle and Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

Music Ensembles & Groups

Students may choose to enrich their music education by enrolling in the one of the activities offered: 2 Rock Bands, Boomwhacker Ensemble, Primary School Choir, Secondary School Choir, Orchestra, or Sound Engineering.


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