After School Musical
The After School Music School services string students from the Provo School District in Utah. Each school in the district has a full-time music teacher who teaches a district-wide, Kodály-based singing curriculum during school hours. The string program is voluntary and is held after school. First-year violin and cello students start in the third grade, so the kids have had four years of instrumental instruction by the time they leave elementary school. The students get three lessons a week: a private instrumental, a group instrumental, and a group singing-musicianship class. I try to schedule the lessons on two days so the students can fit everything in a more concise schedule.
Private lessons address the needs of each individual student. Parents are requested to come at first and to supervise practice at home.
The group instrumental class (homogeneous class, no mixed instruments for the first three years) provides a social atmosphere and gives the students the ensemble experience they need to be ready for future orchestral work.
The singing-musicianship class is accelerated beyond what the children get at school, because the demands of the instrument require some modifications of the learning sequence and because we need to go faster.
This year we graduated our first 6th year class, which was composed of 7th and 8th graders. They played their own concert featuring music from each of the periods in music history. Since they were all violinists, we drew from the repertoire of violin duets and trios. They had studied much more music through the year than what time allowed them to perform on the concert. Among the composers they studied were Praetorius, Morley, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Bartok. I’m very pleased with not only their performing ability, but also the solid understanding of musical structure they have acquired. They will continue on in their musical endeavors with a depth of musicianship which will serve them well.