The Middle Division band program fosters a deeper understanding of musical instruments while learning key musical terms and symbols in order to promote music literacy. Students play a variety of multicultural styles and genres ranging from classical to contemporary. Students are provided with ample opportunities to develop their skillset of a particular instrument, including a Christmas Concert and Spring Concert. Yearly band trips have included a trip to Disneyland to participate in a mock sound-scoring session.
The St. John’s Middle Division choir program expands upon the foundations of music literacy and vocal technique that were developed during students' elementary education. Students sing a wide variety of vocal repertoire; ranging from early classical pieces to popular standards and everything in between. A strong emphasis is placed on healthy vocal production, proper breathing, and performance skills. Students also learn sight-singing techniques, how to read music, and are given the opportunity to sing in several different languages.
As the year progresses, students become increasingly familiar with music symbols, terms, and vocabulary. They also participate in the Middle Division Christmas and spring concerts and go to choir festival in May, where they are critiqued by experienced choral directors before heading to a southern California theme park for a day of fun. Last year the Choir received a Silver Rating, placing them in the top 20% of choirs in the nation.
Early Childhood Division
Music Together is an international early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.
Students receive a bi-annual new song collection and experience melody and rhythm through an artfully conceived flow of songs, rhythmic chants, finger plays, and movement activities. Classes provide instrumental "play-alongs" with a variety of percussion instruments, and students are encouraged to use their voice to speak, chant, and sing. Physical movement is also emphasized and students move or use body percussion to demonstrate awareness of beat and tempo; use body movement to respond to dynamics and tempo; and participate in finger play.
Students also use a personal vocabulary to describe music from diverse cultures and use developmentally appropriate movements in responding to music from various genres and periods.
In Orff Schulwerk classrooms, children begin with what they do instinctively: play! Imitation, experimentation, and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, life-long musicians and creative problem solvers. The Orff approach to teaching is a model for optimal learning in 21st Century classrooms.The program engages all student senses in the musical moment by combining speech, song, movement, and instrument play, and naturally progressing from imitation and exploration to improvisation.
St. John's offers World Drumming!
Students experience the music and rhythms of Africa, South America, the United States, and the Caribbean. Units of study include Orff barred instruments, hand drums, African tubanos and djembes/drum circles, body percussion, group composition project, and drum kit technique. Students play at a variety of school-wide events throughout the year.