Renaissance Music and Drama Overview
Each Renaissance student has weekly music and drama classes throughout the year. We believe (and research shows) that music and drama, along with visual arts, help boost student achievement in academic, social and cognitive realms. Music and drama are also a joyful, fun part of childhood, and we love that we can provide students with the time and resources to explore these fields.
In the younger grades, teachers engage students in kinesthetic experiences with music, helping them find their singing voices and learn concepts of beat and rhythm through dance and movement. Students are introduced to the musical staff and notes of the scale, using chimes to learn and eventually compose and play their own original songs. Students listen to a variety of genres of music including classical, blues, jazz, and marches, and the children discuss the imagery and emotions the music elicits. Students gain musical skills as well as exposure to and an early appreciation for the rich world of music. Third Graders joyfully participate in the time-honored ritual of learning recorder; students use their knowledge of notes on the staff and rhythms as they read music and create their own recorder compositions. The older students continue to learn more complex pieces of vocal music, and are introduced to opera and musical theater.
All students practice performance skills, and then participate in several school-wide music performances throughout the year; we have seen that live performances help students with their confidence levels, both on-stage and off. In Drama class, students learn and practice the basics of being onstage and how we use our bodies, voices, and imaginations to create different characters. Students practice these skills through many theater games that also focus on working together to tell stories. Third Graders write short scenes based on certain criteria, and the Fourth Grade focuses on improvisation and creating scenes spontaneously. Each Fifth Grade student is assigned a monologue and works with a partner as both actor and director before performing for the class. In the spring there is a flurry of preparation and rehearsal for the lavish spring musical, which is usually performed in front of a large and appreciative audience.