At Point Chevalier School we place an emphasis on the creative arts. Through parent donations, the school BOT funds a full time performing arts teacher, Mr Chris Moore, to teach music, dance and drama to all children in the school. Each class receives a weekly lesson of 45 minutes (30 minutes for Year 1) throughout the year. Lessons follow the guidelines set out in the New Zealand Arts Curriculum.
In music lessons, use is made of the Kodaly approach to music education. This method is singing based with lessons containing singing games, part singing, sight singing and much unaccompanied singing of predominantly traditional folk music from around the world. These are chosen for their historical and musical value, for their usefulness in teaching an element of music, or because they are fun to sing.
One aspect of this approach is the development of the ability to internally hear music. In this way, students start to think musically and are able to begin to read, write and create music with understanding. Kodaly tools to enable this include the use of 'solfege' (where students sing using the names do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti – reinforcing these using hand signs) and the use of rhythm names to enable easier recall of common rhythms.
These skills are built up over the years so that by the time a child leaves in Year 6, they possess some useful musicianship skills.
Realistically, the children need to have these skills reinforced several times during the week in class or at home to achieve a significant level of musical skill and literacy but, at the very least, our children will be able to sing, learn a classroom musical instrument, read and write to a basic level on the treble clef, and be able to talk about the musical elements in a piece of music with confidence and musical understanding.
In dance and drama lessons, the emphasis is on exploring their ability to control and use their bodies to convey meaning in a dramatic context. Students explore the basic elements of dance (time, energy, relationships, space, body awareness) to create their own simple dance pieces. In drama, they develop skills in characterisation, improvisation, mime, clowning etc.
Occasionally, we are able to arrange for external professionals to run workshops in school to further develop specific skills in music, drama or dance. Through the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's Partnership in Schools programme (APOPS) a small group of Year 5/6 students participated (Term 2) in a series of Indonesian Gamelan workshops with Miranda and Rob from the APO. This was a great experience learning to read a different type of music notation and playing gongs and specifically Indonesian instruments. It was also great fun sitting in a Mongolian yurt (tent) surrounded by horses, chickens and Scottish highland cattle! Refer to the Auckland Gamelan Group website for more information and future community events.
Our choir will be participating in the local In Our Beat music festival on 29 and 30 October.
You will often see children creating dances in the playground in preparation for a performance.
Children have the opportunity to learn instruments through Lewis Eady Music School which operates during school hours here at school. Each year we have between 120-150 children who choose to learn an instrument either individually or in groups (maximum 4 per group). Instruments on offer include: keyboard, trumpet, clarinet, violin, drumkit, voice, electric and acoustic guitar, piano, ukulele, recorder, saxophone, and flute.
There is a sampler programme 'Blast Off' where students try several instruments over a term before deciding which to learn and a programme for younger children based on Orff music education principles – 'Musical Jam'. Details of the programmes on offer and costs are available on the Lewis Eady website.
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