Classes are arranged into four Levels, according to readiness. This allows each child to advance at his or her own pace.
Students learn the basic language of music, strengthen auditory functions, and work on developing positive social behaviors that will lay the foundation for future success in school, in life, and in the workplace. All students participate in vocal class and bucket band. They are introduced to the four families of instruments and participate in an exploratory class where they play basic recorder and build a paper violin. The students give approximately 4 public performances per year. Classes meet two afternoons per week, for a total of 128 hours. (Grade 1)
- Bucket Band – Students form an ensemble using contractor-grade buckets as their instruments. The ensemble is fun and fast paced and geared to let children let out energy while instilling a strong sense of rhythm, teamwork, and ensemble expectations.
- Vocal Class – Students build their oral skills and musical body expression through the study of enjoyable folk and children’s songs. This class prepares students to enter children’s choir, which begins in level 2.
- Orchestra Introduction and Exploratory Class – Students are introduced to the four orchestral families through experiences with professional musicians and building a craft instrument from each of the four families. Students then expand on this knowledge by spending time learning the recorder and building and performing with paper violins.
Level 2 – Instrument Readiness: Students continue training in positive social behaviors. After selecting a preferred instrument track at the end of Level 1, each student receives a free instrument and “earns” the right to take it home for practice. They study their selected instruments in a sectional setting (Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, High Stings, and Low Strings). Students gather several times per year to form either a Wind Ensemble or String Orchestra. They also participate in children’s chorus with Level 3 students. The students perform in public approximately 6 times per year. Classes meet four afternoons per week, for a total of 250 hours. (Grade 2&3)
- Instrumental Classes – Students learn how to properly play their assigned instrument in ensemble classes. This class is a prerequisite to Level 3 Orchestra.
Level 3 – Ensemble Readiness: Students model the positive social behaviors needed to create a successful musical community and serve as program mentors for younger level students as well as their peers within the school. The majority of their 320 hours of training is spent in two large ensembles, children’s choir and orchestra. Several times per year students form smaller chamber groups. Depending on their level of understanding, most students participate in music theory classes once a week. The number of public performances increases dramatically. Level 3 students meet five afternoons per week. (Grade 3-5)
- Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble – This is a multi-aged orchestra that plays classic and contemporary music while displaying the highest behavior and citizenship skills.
Level 4 – Upper School Academy: – This is also a multi-aged orchestra, open to graduates of Soundscapes’ Elementary Program and, by audition, to any student at Crittenden Middle School. Students rehearse twice a week after school for 16 weeks throughout the school year and perform four concerts. Participation in one of the school-day middle school music programs at Crittenden is a requirement of all Level 4 students.