Riverdale's music program begins with a strong foundation in the early grades and continues with a variety of music performance studies in high 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.
High School Music
The Maverick Choir is an elective course that takes all levels of musicians through a full semester of vocal ensemble training. Musical literature is chosen and designed to include cross-curricular themes. Each semester will conclude with, but will not be limited to, one performance as an ensemble. Students are encouraged to take on leadership roles within their vocal sections. This elective course is high energy and packed full of student engagement and leadership. It is challenging and extremely rewarding.
The Creative Band Project is an elective course designed to develop all levels of musicians as instrumentalists. Based on skill level and interest of students, each semester will include opportunities for performance in a variety of settings including symphonic and rock band. Students will be encouraged to take initiative and ownership of their ensembles for an unforgettable musical experience.
In addition to our elective courses, Riverdale High School offers varying music clubs depending on interest levels. Students participate in Jazz Band during zero period this year, and some years choir club offers more advanced vocal musicians to have the opportunity to be challenged in high levels of performance throughout the year.