School 61 offers Visual & Performing Arts Curriculum for Students in Grades PK to 4. Students participate in the following:
All students in grades PK-4 receive vocal music class. Students in PK learn how to sing in various tonalities and meters. Students in Kindergarten learn about high and low sounds and how to play various classroom instruments. Students in grades 1 through 4 learn about concert etiquette and attend a concert at Kleinhan’s Music Hall that is given by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) each year. All grades work on their singing and instrument playing skills throughout the year. The chorus performs at two school-wide assemblies: The Winter Concert and African American Celebration Day. The chorus also performs off-site at ECMC during the holidays and Fantasy Island Theme Park in the spring.
In elementary theatre classes, students are taught how to develop and improve creative thinking skills through a variety of experiences. Students are provided with opportunities to apply their imaginations in theatre activities in order to perform with self-confidence, participate collaboratively, and enhance problem-solving abilities. Students can therefore take skills and transform them into skills for life.
Students learn creative movement skills and create their own pieces of choreography based on different prompts such as body movement, poetry, painting, and colors. The exploration of different pathways of movement is essential for each child. Students are also introduced to various styles of dance including jazz, ballet, line dances and other styles and forms of dance.
Students transform personal experiences into original artwork using The Elements of Art. They compare and contrast historical art using The Elements of Art as a point of reference. Students evaluate works from artists and interpret the artist’s intention, using age-appropriate art vocabulary. Students reflect on artwork and share observations and thoughts, and they apply self-reflection strategies to improve their art skills.
Instrumental Music (Violin)
Numerous scientific studies have shown that studying the Violin, musical instruments, and classical music from a young age enhances brain function, analytical and reasoning skills, and improves math and reading abilities. Violin students are directly auditioned at the beginning of each new school year. It is a rigorous and intensive program. Students receive daily instruction which includes:
· The proper way to care for the Violin and Bow.
· The names of all the parts of the Violin and Bow.
· The Opening Positions: Rest Position, Bow, Foot Position, Violin on Shoulder, and Bow grip.
· Playing on each of the 4 strings; their first piece titled "The Open String Concerto".
· Introduction to left hand fingers; and finger exercises.
· Daily ear training using the Violin Lesson Book CD.