Pre-Kindergarten Music (20 minutes weekly) Students study basic fundamental music concepts, including seasonal and liturgical pieces, in preparation for the Ward Method in Kindergarten.
Kindergarten-5 Music (110 minutes weekly) Students study the Ward Method, seasonal musical selections, and make use of classroom instruments such as percussion, hand bells, and recorder. Students are encouraged to make use of the extra-curricular musical offerings such as
Children’s Choir, The Saint Benedict School Band, and study private lessons.
Ward Method Fundamentals:
Vocal exercises (tone quality, timbre)
Intonation (eye and ear training, pitch)
Rhythm gestures and dictation
Staff notation (both modern and Gregorian)
Original creative work oral and written
Songs with and without words
From Book One, here are the musical elements taught in the Ward Method of Instruction (Justine Ward, That All May Sing, Book One, vi-ix, 1976):
Musical Elements Taught Separately
- Tone Quality: (discovering and developing the singing voice)
- Voice Placement: (Singing the single syllable “Nu” (a light quality of voice characterized by a free head resonance)
- Tonal Range: (only fixed pitches between F (above middle C) up to soprano E ) during the first year.
- Measure: (time or meter, identifying the relationship of short tones to long tones.)
- Rhythm Gestures: (movements by the whole body that bring rhythm into play—thus rhythm becomes a muscular experience, and from this experience children develop muscular memory.)
- Metrical Gestures: (special arm and hand gestures are used for counting pulses within a rhythmic movement)
- Rhythmic Dictations: (in the presence of a rhythmic musical stimulus, children are required to react physically and accurately, controlling muscles and taking careful note of what he hears and feels.)
- Melodic Gestures
- Finger Notation
- Number Notation
- Staff Notation
Justine Ward recommends gentleness and moderately soft singing for all exercises and renditions.
WORDS – SONG TEXTS
These are studied for understanding, articulation and control.
- Pitch : (skills in handling pitches, high and low and scale-line tonal groupings.)
- Intonation Exercises: (by means of charts, diagrams and drills arranged in order of progressive difficulty.)
- Ear Tests: (melodic dictations, given daily)
- Eye Tests: (Look and remember games)
- Arm and finger Gestures: (Measuring the height of a tone with the arm used daily for strengthening the child’s perception of musical tones.
Music Elements Combined
SONGS WITHOUT WORDS: (songs that combine pitch, rhythm, and notation in a variety of ways.)
- Vocalizations: (Combinations of timbre with rhythm and pitch.)
- Intonation Exercises: (Combinations of pitch and rhythm in the form of melodic applications of the scale tones under study.)
- Rhythm Patterns: (these combine with pitches to from rudimentary melodic designs—sung on names of the scale tones.)
- Notation Drills: (Combinations in various oral and written form of rhythm patterns and tonal groupings.)
- Improvisations: (Combinations of pitch and rhythm in the form of question and answer games.)
SONGS WITH WORDS: (All of the musical elements studied are combined and in doing so make the greatest demands on the child’s powers of concentration. If the child is able to control all of these musical elements then the rendition of a complete song will bring him the full musical rich experience that lies there waiting to be summoned forth.)
- Pitch Calls: (Combining familiar verbal phrases with tones.)
- Refrains: (simple melodic settings of works like Amen and Alleluia.)
- Improvisations: (Combining words spontaneously with melodic fragments.)
6-8 Grade Music (100 minutes weekly)
Ladies and Gentlemen split into Women’s Choir and Men’s Choir. Choir and following course combined are offered twice weekly. The textbook used for the Music History portion is Concise History of Western Music, fourth edition, by Barbara Russano Hanning.
Six semester rotation of Music History:
Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Music
Music of the Baroque
The Classical Time Period
Music and Romanticism
Twentieth Century Music
Music of the Catholic Mass (General Course- Chant, Polyphony, Contemporary Choral, Orchestral Masses, Liturgy of the Hours, Organ)