Curriculum & Instruction
In kindergarten music, children are introduced to beginning musical concepts. The key concepts taught in kindergarten are steady beat, high and low, loud and quiet, fast and slow, the difference between singing and speaking voices, and that music can tell a story. These concepts are taught through singing, speaking, dancing, playing unpitched percussion instruments, and listening to music, as well as through children’s literature and games. In kindergarten music, children are exposed to music from many cultures. Kindergarteners learn to find their own singing voice, create their own ways to move to music, and work together, taking turns with their classmates.
First grade music builds upon and expands the experiences introduced in kindergarten music including steady beat, high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, and singing voices. In first grade, children learn about rhythm in music, first through connecting rhythms to words, and eventually reading quarter note, quarter rest, and eighth note rhythms. The major activities in first grade music continue to be singing, dancing, playing instruments, and listening to music as well as learning through children’s literature and games. First graders also learn to play barred ORFF instruments as they make music with their classmates. Children in first grade continue to develop their singing voices, play both the beat and rhythms on instruments and create and improvise their own musical patterns and dances with their classmates.
Second grade music expands on the musical experiences of first grade, including steady beat, rhythm, high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, and singing voices. In second grade children are reading quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, and begin to read and play half notes. The major activities in second grade music continue to be singing, dancing, playing instruments, listening, learning through children’s literature and games, and the introduction of the four families of instruments. Second graders begin to learn about form in music and identify form in the song they perform. Children continue to play the barred ORFF instruments and learn to create their own sections of music within a song through rhythm. Children in second grade are also introduced to the concept of musical canons and perform canons vocally and instrumentally.
Third grade music builds upon and expands the concepts of rhythm as it applies to note reading on the staff. Children are introduced to basic note reading in the treble clef. Third grade students are introduced to beginning composition on the staff using quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, half notes, and whole notes. Third grade students also begin to learn the notes B, A, and G on the recorder and play together with their classmates. Students in third grade are also introduced to a choral concert that includes singing with proper breathing technique, concert etiquette, and performing instrumental, dance, and choral pieces on a stage. Third grade music students continue to sing, dance, play ORFF instruments, listen to orchestral selections that range from classical to global music, and review the four instrument families to prepare them for informed selection as they look ahead at ensemble opportunities in the fourth grade.
Students spend two trimesters in the Orff classroom where they focus on reading lines and spaces on the treble clef; reading rhythms; studying Native American music, music of Bach and Handel; and playing orff instruments, drums and recorders. Students also participate in composing a piece for drums. Students also have the opportunity to spend a trimester in the keyboard lab where they learn the basics of playing piano; learn songs in middle C position; review lines and spaces for treble clef and learn lines and spaces in bass clef. Students also create a piece of music for the piano.
Students spend two trimesters in the Orff classroom where they focus on reading lines and spaces on the treble clef; reading rhythms; learn about rondo form; study the music of Mozart and Beethoven and compose a piece for drums. Students also participate in playing orff instruments, drums and recorders. Students also have the opportunity to spend a trimester in the keyboard lab where they review the basics of playing piano; review the lines and spaces of treble and bass clefs; learn songs in C position; and write a piece of music for piano using chords.
Students spend two trimesters in the Orff classroom where they focus on reading more lines and spaces on the treble clef; reading more difficult rhythms; explore music from the Middle East; listen to music from some Romantic composers as well as some American composers; and compose a piece of music for the Orff instruments. Students also participate in playing orff instruments, drums and recorders. Students also have the opportunity to spend a trimester in the keyboard lab where they review the lines and spaces of the treble and bass clefs and compose a piece of music that uses both a melody and chords. They also learn to use the music software, Finale, to print their final composition.
- Beginning Band
- 5th Grade Band
- 6th Grade Band
- 4th-6th Small Group Band Lessons
- Junior High Band
- Junior High Lessons
- Senior High Symphonic Band
- Senior High Wind Ensemble
Music is an important part of your child's education and is a rewarding experience that will enrich your child's life for years to come. The Victor Band program introduces students to the beautiful and fulfilling world of music and the opportunity to develop abilities and interests that may otherwise never be discovered. The Beginning Band is the first opportunity Victor students have to begin their studies on wind and percussion instruments and students may join the band program in 4th grade. This ensemble begins the year in sectional groups, woodwinds, brass and percussion separately, to learn the basics of musicianship and ensemble playing. The groups learn to follow and respond to the gestures of the conductor, count beginning rhythm symbols, breathe and begin together, keep a steady beat together, end together and read the first five notes on the music staff. The three groups come together in November to form the full band and prepare for concerts. The band rehearses two mornings a week and performs two evening concerts each year. Students who participate in the Beginning Band must take lessons in the school program and show consistent attendance in both lessons and band to participate. The school provides bus transportation to school for morning rehearsals.
The 5th Grade Band is for second year players and is designed to further develop the basic skills learned in Beginning Band. This band rehearses two mornings per week and performs two concerts each school year. The band will explore new rhythms, key signatures, music symbols and terminology, work to expand dynamic levels, balance and blend sounds together, advance control and precision in articulations and use more interesting harmonies to enhance the overall sound of the band. Students participating at this level will have an opportunity to participate in solo festival, explore small group ensemble music in lesson groups and perform around the school for special occasions. Students must have consistent attendance at rehearsals and small group lessons to maintain membership in the group.
The 6th Grade Band is an opportunity for students to further develop the skills they have learned in the Beginning and 5th Grade Bands. New key signatures, rhythms and terminology will be introduced in rehearsals, as well as ways to help students fine tune their ability to control their tone, in an ensemble setting. It is our hope that students are able to continue maturing musically as they learn to balance and blend their playing within the group. At this level, students could have the opportunity to play in the All County Festival wind ensemble, and all students are highly encouraged to participate in the annual solo festival. This band has two evening concerts throughout the year, as well as in-school performances on special occasions. Students are expected to have consistent attendance in lessons and ensemble rehearsals in order to participate in this group
Small group instrument lessons are offered on a weekly basis to all students registered in the band program at the Intermediate School. Lessons begin in September and run through the end of the school year. Students have one 40-minute small group lesson each week, during regular school hours, in a small group of 4-6 students playing the same instrument. Lessons are on a pull-out basis, with lesson times rotating through the daily schedule so students do not miss the same portion of class each week. In group lessons the fundamental skills of playing the instrument are the focus- posture, tone, technique, music literacy and basic expression. Students will also learn to properly care for and maintain their instruments. Students are expected to practice their instruments at home on a regular basis, approximately 15-20 minutes a day for first year players, 20-30 minutes per day for second year players and 30 or more minutes per day for third year players. Students who enter the program should do so with an understanding that it will take daily effort, patience and commitment to discover their true potential for music and to enjoy the benefits of their hard work.
The Junior High Band Program is designed to continue building the musical foundations that your student has been working on in the Victor band program. The goal is to help our young musicians continue to improve and build skills on their instruments, expand their learning through performance opportunities and help them explore everything that the Victor band program has to offer. All performance-based classes such as band meet for forty weeks and are full-year commitments. Band members are expected to attend all performances, attend one lesson per week and practice a recommended two hours per week.
All students are required to take one lesson per week on their instrument. Lessons are offered during the school day on a rotating basis. The lessons are taught in small groups with an emphasis on improving individual abilities, which will in turn improve the student’s ability to play in band. Small ensemble literature is also explored at this time.
Performing in a band enables a student to broaden his/her music knowledge, develop a skill on a musical instrument and gain personal confidence and maturity of his/her capabilities through group and personal performance. As members of the Symphonic Band, students will receive a traditional concert band experience as well the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular ensembles and other small ensembles. Participation in outside performing opportunities and solo festivals is open to all students and is strongly encouraged. Participation in all ensemble concerts is a mandatory course requirement. Small group lessons are a part of the curriculum as well.
Performing in the Wind Ensemble is a unique experience that provides the student musician an opportunity to achieve the course outcomes to a higher degree through advanced literature. The select nature of the Wind Ensemble will afford the more advanced student the chance to excel in literacy, cognition, creativity and performance. It offers the advanced high school musician an opportunity to perform music at a very high level with peers of similar performing skills. Participation in outside performing opportunities and solo festivals is open to all students and is strongly encouraged. Participation in all ensemble concerts and is a mandatory course requirement. Small group lessons are a part of the curriculum as well.
- 4th Grade Chorus
- 5th Grade Chorus
- 6th Grade Chorus
- Junior High Chorus
- Senior High Concert Choir
- Senior High Varsity Choir
This is the student’s first formal introduction to singing in a choir. Students have the opportunity to try singing both part 1 and part 2. Students are introduced to using choral music and folders during rehearsal and will learn to follow their part in the music. Students also learn choral warm ups, which focus on good tone placement and diction. Students learn to sing in two-part harmony using rounds, partner songs and simple two part songs. Finally, students learn to follow the directions and conducting of the choral conductor during the rehearsal and concert. Students perform in two evening concerts per year.
This is the second formal year of choral training. At the beginning of the year, students make a choice as to whether they want to be a soprano or alto. The exception to this is that all boys are required to sing alto--this helps to prepare them for future roles as tenor or bass singers in high school. Students sing in 2-part harmony throughout the year. Choral warm-ups continue as a way to work on vocal technique (posture, breathing, diction, phrasing, and dynamics). During each rehearsal, students will also work on ear-training and sight-singing skills using solfege in the key of C. Ensemble skills are reinforced, particularly watching and responding to the conductor. Students perform in two evening concerts per year. Students also participate in performing the National Anthem at a Red Wings game.
Students continue to expand their ability to sight read in the keys of C, F and G. Students continue to refine their ability to sing their part and work on blending with the group. Students also learn more difficulty choral warm ups, which focus on good tone placement and diction. Students sing in mostly two parts with a few three part/descant songs included. Finally, students continue to refine their ability to watch and respond to the choral conductor during the rehearsals and concerts. Students perform in two evening concerts per year. Students also participate in performing for the other events such as singing the National Anthem at a Red Wings game and other smaller concert events.
All students are welcome to join chorus both in 7th and 8th grade. While participation in choir and the Intermediate School is strongly encouraged, it is not a requirement to join. Chorus is a yearlong course that focuses on singing in an ensemble setting. Singers perform in three and sometimes four-part harmonies. There are two groups, 7th grade chorus & 8th grade chorus and they often combine at concerts. Participation in two evening concerts is a requirement for this chorus. Through this course, singers are offered additional opportunities to perform at both community events and NYSSMA solo festival.
Performing in concert choir offers students the opportunity to study music in an ensemble/team setting. Accomplishing musical goals in a disciplined and cooperative learning environment is the focus of this class. Music of varying difficulty, time periods and genres is studied. Emphasis is place on sight singing and music theory, as well as a cappella singing, languages, balances, blend and style. Several public performances, outside the school day, are required. Small group lessons are a part of the curriculum as well
Performing in this auditioned choir provides students an opportunity to achieve the course outcomes to a higher degree through the study of advanced choral literature. This ensemble will afford the more advanced student the chance to excel in music literacy, music theory, cognition, creativity and performance. It offers the advanced vocalist an opportunity to perform high-level music with peers of similar skills. Small group lessons are a part of the curriculum as well.
- Primary Suzuki Lessons
- Intermediate Suzuki Group
- Intermediate Orchestras
- Junior High Orchestras
- Senior High Sinfonia
- Senior High Philharmonic
The Suzuki program in the Primary School is an historically important program which started at VCS over 50 years ago. Dr. Suzuki himself helped to begin the program and visited VPS several times. Initially a program for First through Third grade, the program now includes only Second and Third graders. Students can apply to the Suzuki Program in the Primary School in the spring for acceptance the following fall. Violin, viola and cello are the only instruments offered at these grade levels. Emphasis is on position, tone production, memorization of material, basic elements of music and learning to play together in small homogeneous groups. Note reading is not taught during these lessons. There is a limited amount of space in the program and there is often a waiting list. Each year there is a different number of students accepted based on the teacher’s schedule.
Students who are new to a string instrument or are changing to a new stringed instrument from the Primary school participate in Suzuki Group. Students participate in a large group lesson twice a week where they learn the basics of playing a stringed instrument. A condensed version of what students learn in Primary Suzuki lessons, Intermediate students also learn to note read with the goal of being prepared to join a large ensemble orchestra.
There are three orchestras of varying levels at the Intermediate School. Early performance literature is designed to establish note reading and ensemble skills, and literature in the more advanced ensembles is intended to prepare students for participation in the Junior High Orchestras. Focus is placed on the team mentality of performing and a whole ensemble, so attendance is required in all rehearsals and lessons. Students will receive individual instruction on their primary instrument in weekly lessons, where students work on note reading, Suzuki repertoire, and other aspects of string playing. Participation in Solo Festival is strongly encouraged in 6th grade - younger students may attend by teacher invitation. Students perform in three formal concerts a year.
Students interested in Junior High Orchestra should have participated in the Intermediate Orchestra program, or have had equivalent experience in private lesson instruction. Performance literature is designed to build upon skills developed in the Intermediate Program in preparation for participation in the Senior High. Students will receive individual instruction on their primary instrument in weekly lessons, as well as a basic introduction to music theory and critical listening in rehearsals. Participation in outside performing opportunities and solo festivals is open to all students and is strongly encouraged. Participation in all ensemble concerts is a mandatory course requirement.
Students interested in Sinfonia should have participated in Junior High Orchestra or have had equivalent experience in private lesson instruction. Performance literature is designed to technically challenge students and to expose them to a wide variety of compositional styles across the historical spectrum. Students will receive individual instruction on their primary instrument in weekly lessons, as well as instruction in music theory and critical analysis in rehearsals. Participation in outside performing opportunities and solo festivals is open to all students and is strongly encouraged. Participation in all ensemble concerts is a mandatory course requirement. Pull out lessons are a part of the curriculum as well.
Performing in the Philharmonic is a unique experience that provides the student musician an opportunity to achieve the course outcomes to a higher degree through advanced literature. The select nature of the Philharmonic will afford the more advanced student the chance to excel in literacy, cognition, creativity and performance. It offers the advanced high school musician an opportunity to perform music at a very high level with peers of similar performing skills. Pull out lessons are a part of the curriculum as well.
This is an advanced music theory class that will provide a foundation for future college music majors and other interested students an insight into musical composition and construction. Students will broaden their knowledge of various musical genres and styles through the use of ear training and music analysis. An instrument or vocal background is strongly recommended.
This advanced music history class is the second year of IB Music. It is a college level course that involves higher level music theory and listening skills. Students will be required to study, analyze and be tested on two substantial musical works as prescribed by IB. Music of different parts of the world, different genres and different styles will be investigated in depth throughout the course. All IB Music requirements are completed during this course of study.
The fourth grade reading curriculum supports student growth as thoughtful readers of all text. Each reading unit asks students, What do you notice the author included, and why is it important? and How does that impact you as a reader? Students dive more deeply into the author’s craft while exploring a variety of complex texts, and subsequently become more cognizant of how they are growing as readers. Each unit builds a culture that reflects a love of reading and promotes habits that support individual learning and progress, such as previewing, rereading to glean more information and deepen comprehension, noticing typical genre characteristics in each specific genre to informs how they read a text, and reflecting on personal goals. Students dive more deeply into structure, language, main idea, and theme, learning how authors use these tools to communicate their stories and information.
The fifth grade reading curriculum supports student growth as readers of complex and diverse texts. Students continue to internalize the reading process, approaching texts in a systematic way that promotes a deeper understanding of text structures and features, characters, and language. Students are immersed in texts spanning a range of genres, formats, and perspectives throughout the year. The fifth grade units promote lifelong literacy habits, including nightly reading, book clubs, and thoughtful discussions about text. Students continue to refine their understanding of author’s craft moves in order to understand how texts are constructed; this significantly increases their comprehension. For example, if students know how authors use structure to convey their stories and information, students begin to recognize the elements that support their comprehension. They also begin to realize that stories and texts carry messages that help us better understand the world.
In sixth grade our students build on what they have learned in 4th and 5th grade as they exploration high interest themes and topics. Every unit incorporates the essential standards for reading literature and informational text, writing, speaking and listening while at the same time includes other standards relevant to each unit’s design. The year begins with Everyone Has a Story to Tell where students review the essential skills and strategies for sixth grade readers and writers. Then, in Stories of Triumph, students read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, and analyze different perspectives, focusing on how the author develops the point of view of the narrator. Stories of Discovery focuses on the reading of a complex narrative nonfiction text. Students engage in the research process to produce a formal research report focusing on medical discoveries made throughout history. In Stories of Destiny, students study a contemporary take on the story of the Greek hero as they read both literature and informational texts. The school year cumulates with Demonstrating Habits of Literacy, in which students analyze famous speeches and use what they have learned to write and deliver their own self-reflective speech.