We believe that music is the child’s first language and as such, a great music program encourages access to that essential means of identity.
It is important to have an appreciation of music and to use it as a tool for developing listening skills, rhythm reading, pitch matching, body awareness, emotional intelligence and imagination. We further believe that early exposure to music is vital to overall brain development especially in connecting the right and left brain hemispheres; and as an added bonus, it serves to make neural connections that are important for math and language acquisition.
Music is also a vital part of our cultural language. Students learn songs and dances from across the globe, often working with languages, rhythms, and melodies from diverse cultures. The primary focus of the classroom is to develop the whole musical child, not focus on the child musician.
All Cottonwood School students receive at least 30 minutes of music class each week led by our Music Director, Holly Gilster.
Toddler and Early Childhood Music
Toddler and Early Childhood classes are a joyful celebration of song, dance, and play. As part of each class, we invite the children to move to music. Over the course of each semester, the children practice proper technique on a variety of rhythm instruments, which they then use to accompany songs and games. Children’s picture books, especially those with a rhythmic cadence or ones that lend themselves to a musical response, will be an integral part of the program. Each semester’s work is showcased at the Peace Concert in December.
Elementary classes listen and respond to a wide variety of live and recorded music and are asked to make critical judgments about what they hear. Then, students choose from several instruments including drums, dulcimers and Orff instruments. They will learn to read and write their own rhythms and melodies and then play them together as part of a larger ensemble while following a conductor. Students are challenged to improvise rhythms and accompany songs, plays, and games. Elementary students learn how to sing alone and as part of an ensemble. They practice breathing and posture while learning how to maintain the correct pitch. Each semester’s work is showcased at the Peace Concert in December.
*Group Guitar classes, individual piano and Suzuki violin lessons are also offered separately, before and after school by different instructors, so that children can explore a variety of instruments on their own.