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 from Kindergarten through Grade 12 learn how to discover and apply musical elements from simple yet effective use through to complex concepts via analysis and critical thinking. This naturally leads to critical and creative thinking skills resulting in high quality composition and performance. The curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 prepares students for the Cambridge IGCSE whilst Grades 11 and 12 prepares students for the IB Diploma Program. Both courses focus on theory, history, composition and performance.

We also offer diverse and varied SLO® Music activities that all students are encouraged to join. Older students are encouraged to form their own music activities as part of the IB CAS initiative.

Overview of Curriculum

Music in Kindergarten and Primary School

The ISR Primary School Music program offers 2 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 also has its own school song, which is performed proudly by students often at opening events.

ISR School Song

Music in Middle and Upper School

The ISR music curriculum for Grades 5-10 has recently been revised. Our students’ understanding and enjoyment of music is developed through activities that bring together requirements from performing, composing, listening and appraising. While the main study topics remain the same, i.e. the musical elements, a greater emphasis is placed on studying musical styles in a wide variety of cultures and traditions – both Western and non-Western. In order to bring Music at ISR into the 21st Century we have recently invested in 15 computers for the main Music classroom. All the computers have Mixcraft software and a MIDI keyboard attached. This enables students to create & edit their own work in a variety of styles and genres regardless of their performance ability on any instrument.

Grades 9 and 10 focus on Cambridge IGCSE which is excellent for pre-International Baccalaureate (IB) preparation. The IGCSE focuses on performance and composition which is supported via the theoretical 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 Grade 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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ISR International School on the Rhine