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 recorder and 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 aural skills and musical body expression through the study of enjoyable folk and children’s songs.
- Orchestra Introduction and Exploratory Class – Students are introduced to the four orchestral families through experiences with professional musicians. Students then expand on this knowledge by spending time learning the recorder and violins, in addition to continuing to play in a bucket band setting.
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 an instrument free of charge 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. The students perform in public approximately 6 times per year. Classes meet four afternoons per week, for a total of 250 hours. (Grades 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 three large ensembles, wind band, string orchestra, and full orchestra. Several times per year students form smaller chamber groups. Depending on their level of understanding, most students participate in music theory classes twice a week. The number of public performances increases dramatically, up to 30 times per year. Level 3 students meet five afternoons per week. (Grade 3-5)
- Large Ensembles – These are multi-age ensembles that play classic and contemporary music while displaying the highest behavior and citizenship skills.
Level 4 – Upper School Academy: – This level focuses on higher levels of performance and understanding. Students who are at this level often participate in Peninsula Youth Orchestra (Soundscapes provides the tuition) and act as mentors to our younger students (Levels 1-3). Some may also participate in smaller performance chamber ensembles that prepare a program and perform it all year.