Welcome to ISR’s Music Department!
Music is a vital component of the ISR curriculum and is held in high regard at our school. Music at ISR has developed over the years into a program designed to provide students with a fun and educational approach to performance and an understanding of the most important aspects of music. Students build self-confidence and leadership skills through the entire program as they learn to progress in their musical abilities.
Our music program is focused on developing students’ music appreciation from an early stage with a goal of achieving an early university level of knowledge in upper grades. Students from kindergarten through grade 9 receive instruction in elements of music, singing, playing and composition. The curriculum for grades 8–12 prepares students for the IB Diploma Program and focuses more on theory, history and music composition.
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. Singing and choir are also developed through the kindergarten and early primary grades.
Beginning with grade 3, all students begin to learn to play the violin and cello with a later option of learning the string bass. Students are encouraged to develop conducting skills as well as instrumental skills.
The string program in grades 3–5 is continuing to grow with over 200 students forming 8 string orchestras performing on violins and cellos. Guitar ensemble is also offered in grades 7 and 8.
Why Violins? – We chose violins as a preferred instrument for a number of reasons: Violins come in many different sizes to accommodate the various physiology of students. It is an excellent ensemble instrument and encourages students to learn how to work together. A string ensemble is an ideal vehicle for recitals. Also, students develop a keen awareness of pitch sense as well as coordination.
Music in Secondary School
The curriculum for grades 8–12 prepares students for the IB Diploma Program and focuses more on theory, history and music composition.
Grades 9 and 10 focus on pre-International Baccalaureate (IB) preparation. Music composition, higher level performance and understanding of music theory and history, as well as an introduction to computer music software and recording technology, round out the curriculum.
Grade 11 and 12 music curriculum is designed for students who are pursuing a possible higher education or career opportunity in music or for those who wish to broaden their educational experience by adding performance art to their profile. 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 contrabass
- 24 guitars (electric bass guitars, electric guitars)
- 1 drum kit
- 4 pianos
Private Music Lessons
Private music lessons are offered for 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. A wing of practice rooms is available for students to use during break times.
Many of our students place high in state and national competitions. The music teachers are committed to helping their students reach their potential and achieve their goals. To arrange private music lessons, just contact us.
Students have the opportunity to showcase their work and talent with two concerts and three recitals per school year in addition to many other festivals and events. The two main concerts involving most of the students in the school are the Winter and Summer Concerts. Throughout the year, at least 3 recitals for student ensembles and soloists are offered. Students may choose to enrich their music education by enrolling in the String Orchestra Student Life activity or Concert Choir.
Our concerts have been a great success. In the 2012 Winter Concert we were very fortunate to have a Steinway Grand piano on temporary loan compliments of the Düsseldorf Steinway Haus. Many students admired the Steinway Grand played on it from the moment it arrived to the moment it was collected by the piano movers. Many very talented students performed on it before the concert began.
The great advantage of an international school is the variety of musical instruments that students from around the world play during our concerts. Some of the senior students perform at a very high level on instruments such as the Korean Haegum as well as the Andean Pan Flute. Past concerts also featured many grade 9–12 student bands including stellar vocalists performing their own arrangements.
SLO® Music activities are diverse and varied. Students are encouraged to join those already in existence or to form their own music activity.
Meet Our Music Department Team
My name is Caroline Cross and I’m the Head of ISR Music Department. I have joined our school in 2017, after having worked as a music teacher in the UK for 19 years teaching English National Curriculum, GCSE, AS & A2 level music. Most recently I was working in Dubai, teaching IBDP, MYP & IGCSE curriculums.
I teach music in a practical manner creating a safe, comfortable environment in which students feel confident to take learning and performance risks whilst also respecting and valuing one another.
I intend to share and foster a lifelong passion for music as well as a lifelong love for learning. I’m really proud to be part of the team and I really enjoy working in our wonderful school.
As a former artist with American Opera Projects in Brooklyn, New York, and throughout her career, Ms. Bucher has found collaborating with composers, work-shopping their pieces and premiering their works to be particularly gratifying.
Lyric mezzo-soprano Stephanie Bucher (known professionally as Stephanie Woodling) sang with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf for over five seasons. There she portrayed Dorabella, Hänsel, Annio, die zweite Dame, Siébel, Blumenmädchen (Parsifal), Giuletta (Tales of Hoffmann), Christa (The Makropoulos Case), Karolka (Jenufa), Wellgunde (Das Rheingold), Tessa (The Gondoliers), Antonia (Tiefland), Ascagne (Les Troyens), und dritte Elf (Rusalka). She debuted with the company in 2004 as die zweite Magd in their new production of Elektra.
Ms. Woodling debuted in the 2011/2012 season with Opernwerkstatt am Rhein in the titel role of the world premiere of Reineke Fuchs, set by 2003 German Jazz Prize Winner Ulrike Haage. In the 2009/2010 season, she appeared as Ino in Handel's Semele at the Aalto Theater in Essen.
Prior to moving permanently to Germany in 2008, Ms. Bucher sang extensively throughout the United States, most recently, in 2008 as Cherubino at Michigan Opera Theater and as Stephano in Romeo et Juliette with Baltimore Opera. With New York City Opera, Ms. Bucher performed in A Little Night Music, Rigoletto, and La Traviata and covered in several productions.
Previously a young artist with Opera Pacific, she appeared in a number of roles, most notably Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, which critics described as providing "an intellectual burst of animation into the proceedings, giving a charming, brash, and thorough reading.”
Other Opera Pacific credits include Meg in Little Women, Flora, Mercedes in Carmen, die zweite Dame in The Magic Flute, and Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking, in which she also covered the great Frederica von Stade in the role of Mrs. De Rocher. Other operatic debuts include Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Stephano in Romeo et Juliette, OK Mozart Festival as Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, and Los Angeles Opera as Mrs. Segstrom in their production of A Little Night Music. As a young artist with Santa Fe Opera for two seasons, she made her debut on their stage in the role of die zweite Dienerin in Strauss's Die ägyptische Helena.