Happy to have music back at school!
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Happy to have music back at school!

After a long period of experiencing the challenges of distance learning, primary and secondary students have enjoyed having music lessons at school once again together during these past few months. Students have been creative, developed their understanding of concepts further, focused on their critical listening skills and will be experiencing special digital music workshops and performances as we near the end of this school year.

By Jennifer Diepman, music teacher

Music Lessons

In primary, students have learned to identify the timbre, or sound, of specific instruments and have analysed and reflected on what they think about songs. They have danced to music from a variety of genres, performed body percussion and studied graphic musical scores. Graphic scores represent sound using pictures and lines, which is fun to see and to make. Students are working towards learning how to read traditional music notation throughout primary, so – if they cannot already – they can eventually sight read and play music from sheet music.

Grade 1 music lesson with music teacher Jennifer Diepman

Secondary students have been working on digital compositions individually or in groups and have been busy creating their own units. Giving students agency over their own path in learning is essential to keeping learning relevant. Students have brainstormed about ideas and potential songs for the last unit of the school year and have collaborated to agree on a plan. It is exciting to see students choosing their own focus, so that they can enjoy diving deeper into music and learn more about topics that truly interest them.

Ensembles and Private Music Lessons

Currently all ensembles and private music lessons are not able to take place at school. Several students sing or play an instrument online to continue their learning. The Primary Orchestra meets in sectionals online and focuses on expression, technique and beginning patterns in instrumental playing. The Primary Choir has met weekly online and students suggest songs that we can then sing together. These ensembles and the secondary performing ensembles hope to make music at school together again soon.

Most private music lessons have been able to continue online. We welcome Ms. Elsa Aspioti on oboe, Ms. Ayla Losada on cello, Ms. Norma Brooks on double bass, Ms. Athanasia Manou on harp and Mr. Pantelis Lykoudis on the saxophone to the team. An additional private violin and viola teacher will be joining us before the May break due to the growing music programme.

Music Connects

Our school finds itself in the middle of a city with strong musical traditions and a rich musical history. Students in our school normally experience special opportunities in collaboration with musicians from the region. We have arranged for alternative ways for students to listen to and make music in a special way. The planned workshops and performances will be digital, bringing the musical experiences straight into the classroom. KG students will hear a musical story told by Emma van Dobben, a musical storyteller, and grade 1 students will hear the Vibrations! string quartet play. Grades 2 through 5 will enjoy vocals, guitar, piano and drum music by Freek + Eric, Koosje Sekreve and Stef Classens from the Voice of Holland. Grade 6 students will hear the jazz improvisation of a blind pianist, Bert van den Brink and grade 7 will enjoy a listening concert. Grade 8 will be learning about the history of hip hop and trying out authentic hip hop moves from the Finnish breakdance master, Bboy Focus. Jesse Brouwer, a musician from Boom Chicago, will be working on improvisation with grade 9 students. Students in grades 10 – DP1 will also hear special performances.

ISUtrecht Community Music Makers

It is great to be in a community where music can have a place in everyone’s heart. The music department received a large response to the request for songs from the music makers in our school community. We will be posting these recordings soon, so keep an eye out for it in the communications sent from school. We hope you enjoy the music and look forward to the second edition of the music makers’ concert this summer!