Our music curriculum blends a basic Montessori curriculum with
some elements from mid-century Hungarian musician/philosopher Zoltan Kodaly. These elements have been fully integrated with the West Australian Curriculum Framework and are currently being integrated with the National Curriculum.
The children learn songs and nursery rhymes using So, Mi, and La, also low middle and high as Do, So, high Do, rhythm games using Ta and Te, games and activities concerned with the recognition and performance of musical qualities such as fast, slow, soft, loud, high, low. I aim to integrate language skills such as phonemic recognition through the use of nursery rhymes and various games and songs that explore rhythm, words and music.
In Mariposa and Papillon the study of Sol-Fa continues, and the students learn to sing songs in Sol-Fa and recognise simple Sol-Fa, rounds and expand their repertoire of rhythmic values. They begin learning to read musical notation,
both rhythmic values and the letter names (which of course are fixed, rather than movable). We do games that are oriented towards note recognition, they play the xylophones and sometimes the guitars. Every second year the students perform a musical. They also learn the songs for Winter Solstice and the School Concert. The students also listen to a wide variety of musical genres and begin learning about the place of music in society.
In Spitfires the musical experience broadens a little. Students begin learning to read and write musical notation, key signatures, time signatures, they learn the full repertoire of rhythms, bass clef, treble clef, they explore elementary harmony, and they explore creating their own music. Sol-Fa continues with part singing and instrumental work. The students experience a wide variety of musical genres.
In Swordtails, the students are able to create their own music. They begin to be competent at reading and writing musical notation, understand the concepts of key signatures, time signatures, scales, and they also learn basic Guitar Tab notation and learn how to read and play guitar chords. The students experience a wide variety of musical genres and discuss the place of music in society with more knowledge of the historical backdrop. As students who have learned Sol-Fa with me from a young age reach Swordtails, more and more Sol-Fa will be integrated into the curriculum. More advanced students are given specific projects that cater to their individual needs.
Playing with a group of other musicians is one of the great pleasures of playing a musical instrument. When students can read music and play a musical instrument for which they have a tutor either at school or out of school, they may audition to join the School Ensemble, if they are in Papillon/Mariposa or above. In School Ensemble the children learn to play songs they are familiar with, and perform at Winter Solstice, School Concert, and some school meetings. The aim of School Ensemble is to provide an opportunity for those students who play instruments to improve their skills, play in a group and perform publicly.
Andrew's musical journey started aged 7, when his grandmother paid for organ lessons. He later learned the trumpet and piano. He attended Churchlands High School on a music scholarship and studied trumpet and composition at UWA, graduating with a Bachelor of Music.
Andrew completed his Graduate Diploma of Education part time while teaching trumpet and piano at St Mary's Anglican Girls' School and later worked as a piano accompanist, music teacher, session musician and composer.
He has taught part time at Chrysalis since 2010. An avid writer and composer, he's written several musicals, some of which have been performed at our school.
"What is really great about Chrysalis is the inclusive atmosphere - what I have seen is that children who might find it hard to fit in, in other schools, are accepted here by the other students. It is a truly unique school."