Grade School Music
Riverdale's music program begins with a strong foundation in the early grades and students advance to band studies in middle school.
The kindergarten through 4th grade music curriculum is based on the Orff-Schulwerk model of total, active involvement in the process of music making.
Orff-Schulwerk is music for children – a way to teach and learn music in a noncompetitive atmosphere where one of the rewards is the pleasure of making music with others. There is a place for every child, and each contributes according to ability. The program uses poems, rhymes, children's literature, games, songs and dances as basic materials. These materials can be traditional or original and are accompanied by voice, movement and dance, and body percussion instruments. The art of ensemble is essential. The “Orff Instrumentarium” is the instrument group our younger students progress through as they learn music. Kindergarteners start out using introductory instruments such as sleigh bells and shakers, and by the time they are in 4th grade they are using the full xylophone and metallophone orchestra and more.
"Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand." This is the essence of Orff-Schulwerk.
Students in 5th-8th grades continue their education in music with experiences in both band and choir. Our 5th and 6th graders are required to take a full year of band; each of these classes meets three times per week. Students learn the basics of playing an instrument, how to read melodic and rhythmic notation and how to play in an ensemble. We also offer a Jazz Lab Band and Middle School Jazz Band that meet before school through the Community School (entrance by audition).
In 7th and 8th grade, students take music as an elective. The 7/8 (Advanced) Band is offered as a full year course, while 7/8 Choir (Riverdale Singers) and Marimba are electives offered during the school year.