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About ISR’s Music Department


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.

Musical Concerts

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.

Music Activities

SLO® Music activities are diverse and varied. Students are encouraged to join those already in existence or to form their own music activity.