New Garden Elementary School’s band is comprised of fourth and fifth grade students who play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. They meet once a cycle in small groups to learn the various aspects of tone production, music literacy, and rhythmic etudes on their instrument. The students begin by learning how to assemble the instrument and advance throughout the year to playing beautiful music! They also take the time to learn the historical importance of the various composers, events during their lives, and connections to other art forms. When concert time is near, the students take all that they have learned in their group lesson and rehearse together as one large ensemble. This gives the young musicians a chance to combine their part with the other instruments in the band to create complex harmonies and rhythms. The musical literature the students explore includes folk, multicultural music, movie soundtracks, and classical arrangements of both traditional band and orchestra composers.
New Garden Elementary School’s orchestra is composed of students in third through fifth grades who play instruments from the string family; violin, viola, cello, and bass. They meet in small groups once per cycle, as well as in a large group ensemble to prepare for concerts. The students begin by learning the basics of sound production on their instrument by establishing the correct right and left hand technique, and then advance to more complex bow strokes and fingering patterns using all the strings. A large emphasis is placed on learning to read music and understanding basic theory skills. The musical repertoire that is used in their development and concerts comes from many genres including classical, American fiddle, mariachi, rock, and movie soundtracks.
New Garden Elementary School’s instrumental program is a year-long commitment with concerts presented in January and May.