The Music Department has a Philosophy:

    Every known civilization has utilized music for satisfying multi-dimensional human needs. Music is the aural art form that satisfies the need to respond emotionally to human experiences. Through listening, performing, creating and responding to music,21st Century Skills can be achieved.

    The Music Department believes that the role of music instruction in the schools is to enhance and expand creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, literacy, flexibility, self-direction, social, cross-cultural, productivity, accountability, leadership, and responsibility in students through the integration of music in the teaching/learning process. Music education is both an individual process and a collaborative group experience that provides an enduring understanding of concepts that transcends grade levels and enables responsible individuals to become contributing members of society and to communicate in a global society.

    Furthermore, the Music Department believes that the music education curriculum has the following unique and essential responsibilities:

    · To heighten the aesthetic development by affecting sensitivity to musical sound.

    · To help students attain proficiency so that they may become active participants in music.

    · To help students attain the highest level of musical understanding of which they are capable.

    · To help students attain an eclectic and multi-cultural perspective through exposure to all music and recognition of its value.

    · To create learners who demonstrate self-motivation and direction, engage in collaborative learning, appreciate the importance of life-long learning, and reflect upon their learning process.

    · To create thinkers who understand and employ skills of thinking critically, analytically and reflectively, express themselves imaginatively, effectively solve problems, and formulate well-informed personal, social, and academic decisions.

    · To create communicators who express their thoughts clearly and coherently, and adapt to emerging technologies.

    · To create graduates who recognize the importance of leadership and collaboration, solve inter-personal conflict through negotiation skills, demonstrate ethical responsibility, convey self-confidence and motivation, embrace a well-rounded approach to learning, understand the importance of emotional and physical health, appreciate diversity, and are active in their community.

    The Music Department has a Mission:

    We will promote the acceptance and adoption of the Pennsylvania Standards for Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts in general and music in particular.

    We will give all students an opportunity to access the experiences necessary to realize and surpass the national and state standards.

    We will develop and produce new and innovative ways to give our students, parents and all other internal and external clients musical skills and knowledge in interactive and participatory ways.

    We will continue to promote and foster client support groups and arts advocacy organizations.

    We will continue to develop and produce outreach programs, business, partnership programs and joint ventures with local agencies and organizations in the arts, in education and in business.

    We will continue to be sensitive to the concerns of our diverse community and apply that sensitivity in all aspects of program development.
    Elementary General Music

    The Elementary General Music Curriculum is a creative and active learning experience in which all K-5 elementary students participate. To reach the whole musical learner, while also meeting the Pennsylvania Art Standards and the National Music Standards, the elementary general music classes will incorporate a wide variety of teaching techniques and approaches drawn from several schools of musical thought and research. The Elementary General Music Curriculum centers around an active understanding and use at different levels of Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Form, Timbre, and Creativity. The main musical schools of thought include the following:

    The Orff approach is a way of introducing and teaching children music on a level that they can easily comprehend. Musical concepts are learned through singing, chanting, dance, movement, drama and the playing of percussion instruments. Recorders are played in grades 3, 4 and 5. Improvisation, composition and a child's natural sense of play are encouraged.

    The Gordon Music Learning Theory uses three basic learning sequences: skill learning, tonal content and rhythm content. As a method of instruction, the learning sequences are combined in various classroom activities. A skill level is achieved in combination with a tonal or rhythm content level.

    Dalcroze Eurhythmics utilizes physical movement and musical rhythms to affect the student's performance and retention of musical basics. Through participation in simple games, exercises and improvisations, the students learn to combine music and movement in order to develop rhythmic unity between the eye, ear, mind and body.

    The Kodaly Method uses a child-developmental approach to sequence the introduction of skills strongly focused on ear training and sight singing. Children are first introduced to musical concepts through experiences in listening, singing and movement. After the child becomes familiar with a concept, he or she then learns how to notate it. Concepts are constantly reviewed and reinforced through games, movement, songs and exercises.

    The above four schools of musical thought join beautifully in a unique eclectic blend of musical methods. The book series Game Plan by Jeff Kriske and Randy Delelles creatively ties these concepts together in a grade by grade level plan for a school year. This curriculum will provide instructional consistency across our seven elementary schools while fostering individual creativity among our music educators.

    In the general music class, the students will be exposed to musical literature, historical context, cultural diversity and exercises in creativity. By using this eclectic approach, the Elementary General Music Curriculum will be an ever-widening spiral based on the Pillars of the North Allegheny Music Curriculum.

    The above four schools of musical thought and methods join beautifully in a unique four way collaboration of musical methods. To keep all nine elementary general music teachers on the same “page” without limiting their individual creativity and teaching style, the book series Game Plan by Jeff Kriske and Randy Delelles creatively ties these schools of thought together in a grade by grade level plan for a school year.

    In the general music class the students will also be exposed to musical literature of all times and from cultures around the world. Using these four schools of musical strategies, the Elementary General Music Curriculum will be an ever-widening spiral K–5, up the Music Pillars on which the Music Curriculum is based.