ISUtrecht has a cohesive music programme for all students from KG up to grade 12. We provide a comprehensive music curriculum for all our students with the option to join a choir, orchestra, band and take private lessons at school.
We communicate across cultures, using music to form strong bonds. That is why we offer an exciting music programme accessible to all students and connected to the rich music tradition of the city of Utrecht. (from the ISUtrecht Mission Statement)
We believe in connecting cultures through musical experiences. Music is an art form in which many different skills, the learner profile attributes and creativity come together. We like to share songs, explain instruments and sharing the joy of playing, singing and making music together. That is why at the ISUtrecht we are creating an environment where music is always present and where children will be educated to become skillful musicians, whilst at the same time being encouraged to use music as a creative outlet.
In our main building we have a dedicated primary, as well as a secondary music room. There is also a practice studio, which is used for practicing, or recording music, but also for one-on-one instrumental lessons.
Our enthusiastic music team: Jennifer Diepman, Juan Osorio and Paul Kemp work across the primary and secondary grades and they collaborate with each other to give students to best possible musical experience.
Primary Years Programme
Throughout the Primary Years Programme we focus on giving the students a solid base in both understanding and making music.
In kindergarten students start with the concept of steady beat. They also work on finding their ‘singing voice’. Music is taught with the Kodály philosophy in mind. Kodály, a mid-twentieth century Hungarian composer, has been a world-wide influence on the way music is being taught to young children. He developed a unique concept of working whereby children are first being introduced to musical concepts by listening, or singing, before they learn music notation. In the primary grades, students get a weekly music lesson and will participate in workshops and concerts throughout the year.
Grades 4 and 5 ensembles and orchestra
Because we believe that making music in a group is a very important part of music education, we offer an extra weekly music ensemble or orchestra lesson in grades 4 and 5.
The ensemble lesson is an opportunity for the grade four and five students to become a choir during a second weekly music lesson. In this ensemble lesson, the students who choose to be part of the choir ensemble will sing a varied repertoire, acquire new vocal skills and musical knowledge and work towards performances throughout the year. The performances are typically during the winter holidays and the spring concert or the end of the year festivities. music teacher Paul Kemp is the choir director and will lead both ensembles.
Grades 4 and 5 students who choose orchestra, rehearse during the school day one day a week, in addition to the general music lesson. The Grade 4 & 5 Orchestras typically perform once a year at the Spring Concert. Students will choose which instrument they want to play together with orchestra conductor Jennifer Diepman.
Middle Years Programme
In the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) the students get to make and experience music during a host of dynamic projects, such as songwriting and recording pop songs, experiencing the polyphonic music of J.S. Bach, or playing songs from the sixties for the elderly people in a care center close to the school. Students in grade 10 also have a special music composing project at TivoliVredenburg called “Pronkstukken”.
In the IB Diploma Programme years students can pursue their interest in music by following their own path, whilst being guided by the music teacher Paul Kemp. This course is part of the DP Creativity Activity and Service requirements.
Choir, ensembles, orchestra and band
The school has primary choirs, orchestras, a secondary a cappella vocal group and a school band. The band and vocal group together with the ISU Drama Troupe create a yearly musical production. In November 2020 they will stage At the End of the Day, an adaptation of the broadway musical Les Miserables.
For students who are really interested in music, who want to learn to play an instrument or for those children for whom music is an essential and predominant part of their life, we currently have several music teachers providing private instrument lessons. These lessons can take place during the school day when students are available, or in the afternoon, when lessons have finished. It is currently possible to have guitar, singing, drum, keyboard, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone and baritone tuba lessons. Over the coming years this programme will be extended to include more instruments.