Singing, strumming, and serenading: what do all these terms have in common? They all play a part in the Fine Arts department at Providence Academy. PA starts teaching music to children entering pre-kindergarten with Mrs. Adrienne Johnson. The students are with Johnson until second grade, then continue their general music study with Mrs. Maureen Woeltge up to fifth grade. From sixth grade onward, students choose a more focused musical pursuit they may develop through Upper School or even in post-secondary education.
Part of music education at PA includes the performing aspect of the art; students showcase their talents from an early age on the stage of the art Performing Arts Center (PAC). This year, the second and third graders performed the concert “Oh my Stars it’s Christmas” where they showed the audience their latest talent, playing the recorder. “My favorite activity in music class is learning how to play the recorder”, noted Henry Hilberg ’29. Hilberg continued, “It’s really fun to learn how to play a musical instrument”.
Hilberg’s discovery–the joy of learning to play an instrument–is part of PA’s design: by getting this exposure and basic knowledge early on, students are ready to broaden their skill set when they have more say in choosing from the options available in Middle School. They must choose Strings, Choir, Band, Music Appreciation, or Theater each year to earn their sufficient credit to progress to Upper School.
“Music helps students learn how to work with other people and helps them cultivate empathy skills which they will use for the rest of their life”, remarked Ms. Emma Crane, Middle and Upper School choir director.
Band, Choir, and Strings not only help students learn how to read music and perform it in front of an audience, but the classes teach students how to engage their minds in ways other activities cannot achieve. It also allows students to take a break from taking notes and make beautiful music.
Once students move to Upper School, they have more options to earn music credit. They can choose from Symphonic Band, Academy Chorale, Music Consortium, or Drama/Theater. Students must take one full year of a Fine Arts class to graduate.
Some students like Madeline Young ‘20 decide to continue in music throughout their high school career. She is currently in the Choir, Chamber Choir, and has been in four musicals including the upcoming spring musical, “The Wizard of Oz”.
“I love the ability to bring a bunch of different voices together to sound like one”, glowed Young ‘20. As a senior, Young laments that this is her last PA musical, but her voice will reach the ears of audiences in Decorah, Iowa, where she will attend college this fall.
Whether through a wind or string instrument, or singing alone, music permits the musician to pour their heart out to the audience. Emotion is transposed into melody and shared by audience and musicians alike.
“Music class is not only to get credit to graduate; it allows students to express themselves in ways that words cannot.” concluded Ms. Crane.