Welcome to ISR’s 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.
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
An Orff-based approach is applied in Kindergarten through early Primary, where students have two music lessons per week. Students explore the elements of music, and there is a composition exercise at the end of each unit which correlates to the appropriate skill level of the class.
In Grades 3 and 4, all students begin to learn to play the recorder. We chose the recorder as a preferred instrument for a number of reasons: Cost is low, maintenance is easy and the recorder is readily portable. The light weight of the instrument as well as the limited number of holes make it an instrument that lends itself well to the young learner. Taking our students busy and long day into account, we recognize and appreciate that the recorder is a relatively simple instrument to master with lesser lesson practice time needed than other instruments. The goal is to produce musically literate students who exercise the self-discipline needed in practicing as well as experiencing the joys of making music in an ensemble. By the end of Grade 4, most students can proficiently read simple music in the treble clef.
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.