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Subjects JS Music KS2

Leadership

The Junior School’s Key Stage 2 music programme is taught by full-time music specialist, Wesley Hoplaros. Originally from America, Mrs. Hoplaros has a Masters in Music Education and K-12 Teacher Certification from The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Bachelors of Music from Texas Chrisitan University, where she majored in piano performance. Mrs. Hoplaros has had over 11 years experience teaching private piano and cello lessons, and 3 years experience teaching general music to ages 1 to 19.

Currently, Mrs. Hoplaros divides her teaching schedule between The Junior School and The Senior School, where she teaches music classes in Key Stages 3 and 5. For the 2011-2012 school year, she will be on The Junior School campus every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can reach Mrs. Hoplaros by calling the main office at The Junior School or by emailing her directly at whoplaros@thejuniorschool.com.


Curriculum

I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy, but the most important is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the keys to all learning

– Plato

Students in Years 3 to 6 attend music class once a week for 40 minutes. Year 3 music is taught by Mrs. Olga Nearchou, and Years 4 to 6 music is taught by Mrs. Wesley Hoplaros. Our aim is to provide a strong foundation of musical knowledge and experience and to foster a love of music that will last a lifetime. The Junior School music department utilizes the British National Curriculum in addition to materials from the well-established music education methods of Orff and Kodaly. Activities in music class include singing, instrumental performance, movement and dance, listening, appraisal, improvisation, and composition. Students sing and play folk songs from the UK and Cyprus, as well as songs from countries around the world. Students deepen their understanding of the elements that make up music through the exploration and creation of sounds and pieces of their own. They also learn how to read and write music notation, to use music vocabulary and symbols, and to work together with their classmates. Cross-curricular connections are made frequently with history, science, literature and other topics studied in class.

By engaging children in making and responding to music, music teaching offers opportunities for them to:

  • develop their understanding and appreciation of a wide range of different kinds of music, developing and extending their own interests and increasing their ability to make judgements of musical quality;
  • acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to make music ,for example in community music-making, and, where appropriate, to follow a music-related career;
  • develop skills, attitudes and attributes that can support learning in other subject areas and that are needed for life and work, for example listening skills, the ability to concentrate, creativity, intuition, aesthetic sensitivity, perseverance, self-confidence and sensitivity towards others.

[Excerpt from the music exemplar scheme of work prepared by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE)]


Facilities

The purpose-built KS2 music room is well-equipped with instruments and new technology. In addition to hand percussion and a number of Orff xylophones and glockenspiels, we also have a set of school cellos and two acoustic pianos. The digital projector and interactive whiteboard allow us to take advantage of the many resources available for music learning on the internet, and we often make use of the plethora music apps available on the school ipads.


Performances

Every student is given the opportunity to shine in music. Music Stars Day has become an important marker for KS2 music students. For one week each term, the children are asked to bring in a musical object from home to share with us or to perform a piece they have been studying, usually (but not necessarily) with a private instrumental, vocal, or dance teacher. Performances have included everything from digeridoos to violins, and from Mozart to Rihanna. We have even had students working together at break times to create their own dances and songs to perform for Music Stars Day! Not only is it great fun for the children and good practice for performing, but we also get to learn about new instruments and how they are played, hear new music, and practice being good audience members who listen attentively and support our peers. 

Choir, orchestra and recorder students are given additional opportunities to shine at the school’s annual Christmas and Summer Concerts as well as at various local charity events.


Extra-Curricular Activities

In addition to general music classes, students may elect to join recorder class, choir, beginning string class and orchestra.


Recorders

Our school is known for its strong tradition of recorder playing. Junior School students in Year 3 have one extra music lesson per week in order to allow them to learn to play the recorder. Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 may choose to continue their recorder studies in afterschool recorder activities. They may also choose to undertake examinations set by The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. Our results have been excellent, with students usually gaining merit and distinction marks. Recorder students learn to play a variety of styles in small and large ensembles, and they often perform in assemblies or other events, as well as at the Christmas and Summer Concerts.


Orchestra

Students in Year 4, 5 and 6 have the opportunity to join the Beginners’ String Orchestra, where they learn to play violin or cello in a group setting. First-year orchestra members focus on learning to hold and care for their instruments, to produce a good tone, and to translate music notation into sound as an ensemble. Second- and third-year orchestra students develop their technique and reading skills so as to be able to perform more complex pieces and take part in the Christmas and Summer Concerts. The Junior School Intermediate Orchestra students greatly enjoy working together with the Senior School strings and wind band to perform some truly orchestral pieces.


Choir

The only thing better than singing is more singing

– Ella Fitzgerald

In choir, we learn how to work together as a team to create music, as well as how to shape our own individual voices and talents. Repertoire is varied and carefully selected to meet the needs of the singers. Everyone is encouraged to participate and have fun, and students gain confidence through positive reinforcement and successful performances.

There are two Junior School choirs: The Minim Choir for Year 3 and 4 students and The Hemidemisemiquaver Choir for Year 5 and 6 students. We also frequently work together with the Senior School choir and orchestra to present school-wide performances. All students are encouraged to give their best and to contribute to the group, and we take pride in our high-quality performances and teamwork.

 

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it
Aristotle