More about Music in Primary Classes
THE STRINGS PROGRAM FOR UPPER PRIMARY CLASSES
Classes 3 - 6 and beyond
I - Overview of Incarnation, Right Use of Will, Beauty
Playing an instrument is an integral part of Steiner education. The learning of a stringed instrument reinforces a child’s sense of personal expression, physical incarnation, cognitive brain development and the right use of will. The very nature of ‘searching for the note’ on a fretless stringed instrument assists children in seeking out all that is true, harmonious and beautiful in the world around them. At Shearwater, the String Program is an essential cultural element of Primary education, meeting both Anthroposophical and Board of Studies music education outcomes for Classes 3 through 6.
II - Program Structure
Each child will choose between the violin or the cello.
They will learn and support each other in a Class 3 ensemble.
They will have group lessons in addition to the ensemble.
Ensemble showcase in Terms 1 and 2.
In Term 3 they will play at the Spring Fair
They will participate in the Term 4 'String Thing'.
Classes 4, 5 and 6
The students will continue with their weekly string lessons and class ensemble.
They will participate in the 'String Thing' in Terms 1, 2, and 4, and in the Spring Fair in Term 3.
All classes will be involved in presenting a small recital for their class and families in Term 3.
Extension program: Shear Strings is for students who really enjoy playing together and are dedicated to their instrument and practice routines. Students may be invited to join from Class 4 onwards. Students in Class 3 are welcome to join by invitation if they have had lessons on the violin or cello prior to Class 3, and if private lessons will continue in Class 3. This group meets after school every Tuesday from 3:30 - 4:30.
The students are asked three questions to consider before they join Shear Strings.
1. Do you enjoy playing your instrument?
2. Do you feel confident reading music?
3. Do you enjoy playing in ensemble?
If the student can answer yes to two of these questions they are welcome to try the group. It is expected that students who decide to join will commit to doing the group for the year to foster a sense of continuity and ensemble.
Shear Strings will occasionally go on performance excursions or overnight trips
Strings in the High School
High School strings players are still supported in their musical journey by being allowed to have private lessons during class time. Strings students are welcome to join in the after school HS music ensemble which meets every Tuesday from 3:30 - 4:30 in the HS music rooms.
HS strings students are included in music for The Wearable Arts, the Unplugged concert, as well as school events such as the Spring Fair and Open Day.
Every class has a different level of participation in performances.
The String Thing is our showcase every last Tuesday of Term (except in Term 3), in the hall from 2 - 3 pm. All classes and parents are invited to watch.
Term 3, all classes will play for the Spring Fair.
The strings program also supports music for class plays.
Overview of Important Performances by Term
Term 1 and 2
Class 3 - Ensemble showcase - last week open ensemble
Classes 4, 5, 6 - String Thing - last Tuesday 2 pm in the Hall
Spring Fair- Classes 3 - 6
Class 4 - solo and small group recital
Class 5 - solo and small group recital
Class 6 - solo and small group recital
Open Day - Shear Strings
String Thing Classes 3 - 6
III - Instruments, Learning Materials and where to purchase them
Cello or Violin?
The choice of instrument is important, and the decision will shape and influence the child’s entire string program experience. Too many times, the violin is chosen over the cello for the reason of cost. The child may resent the violin if they had their heart set on learning the cello and this greatly influences their love and appreciation of music for the next four years.
The cost of a secondhand violin ranges between $100 - $300 or new $250 - $500; a secondhand cello between $300 - $600 or new between $500 - $1200. Hiring an instrument is worth considering if your child shows a strong preference for the cello but the initial outlay is too costly for your family budget.
Instrument price usually reflects the quality of the instrument itself and there is much to be said for investing in a good quality instrument that stays in tune, is well set up and has a pleasing tone. The sound the child creates on their instrument will have a strong correlation to their desire to play it.
Students are required to purchase their own instruments, accessories and learning materials. The private ownership of instruments fosters a sense of personal responsibility for their care, and has a positive impact on their commitment to regular practice at home.
Shearwater has a collection of Tricks to Tunes books 1, 2, and 3 available for students to borrow, so there are no books to purchase initially.
Required Violin Accessories
Shoulder rest, rosin, music stand, bow, an extra set of strings
Required Cello Accessories
Rock stop, rosin, music stand, bow, an extra set of strings
Where to purchase Instruments and Accessories:
Son of Drum in Mullumbimby
The Byron Music Shop in Byron Bay
Animatos in Brisbane (Hire options available)
Simply for Strings in Brisbane (Hire options available)
If your child would like to try the viola or the string bass they will have the opportunity in Class 5. These can be purchased at the same shops, and they will usually trade in your violin or cello towards the purchase if you so wish.
The shops in Brisbane will have everything you need, and the local shops will order it for you if they do not. Animatos and Simply for Strings have new programs for hire to own or hiring an instrument if you desire this option. These shops also offer repairs.
Ebay purchases are strongly discouraged, as the instruments are generally of poor quality. If your child chooses not to continue lessons after Class 6, you should be able to sell on for a similar price to your initial investment, providing the instrument has been well cared for and maintained. You may need to purchase a new set of strings or a new bow before selling on. In Term 4, we run an instrument swap where parents can sell instruments to other parents. Your child may need to move onto a larger sized instrument as they grow.
IV- Practice Expectations
- Children are expected to practice a minimum of three days a week for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Each child is given a practice book in which a record can be kept of practice material and time practiced. These books are to be reviewed by parents and music tutors weekly.
- Parental support is crucial in developing a practice routine. We strongly encourage you to set up a routine, and to help them stick to it. Practice days should be timetabled like any extra curricular activity, and the routine gives the children confidence and stability.
- Playing a stringed instrument is a rigorous addition to your child’s overall education. It requires the support and commitment of the entire family. Self-discipline in small children is a skill that needs nurturing by the adults around them.
- Keep in mind that in most cases, when children do not remember to practice it is not an indication that they dislike the instrument. It is just that most children will not find the will to practice without being encouraged and reminded by their parents and/or caregivers.
- Be prepared to engage with your child to promote healthy at home practice habits. Encourage them to play for you, and ask them to teach you how to play.
Any queries can be sent to Rebecca Britton: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Music Classes for Upper Primary – Classes 3, 4, 5 and 6
At different times in the year children will have Class music lessons with a music teacher. In these lessons a broad experience with music is explored, with an emphasis on creativity. The program encompasses: singing, playing, creating/composing, performance, reading and writing music, exploring instruments, music of other cultures, music and other performing arts.
A performing ensemble continues to build, drawing upon singers from Upper Primary.
Private lessons are available in class time and after school to students in Primary and High School. Please contact the School regarding lessons. Instruments to choose from are: Violin, Irish Violin, Viola, Brass, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Guitar, Bass, Cello, Piano, Keyboard and Voice.