The Vocal Music Department educates the whole musician by developing students’ fundamental skills individually and within a performance ensemble. Each Vocal Music student participates in their grade level Vocal Ensemble and Music Fundamentals class. Students study basic skills of musicianship, including reading and understanding music notation, interpreting lyrics, sight-singing, and analyzing and critiquing performances. Vocal Ensemble classes emphasize the rehearsal and performance of a varied repertoire of music as an ensemble. Students also participate in class activities and projects that develop their individual vocal technique and performance style.
Fifth grade Vocal Musisc allows students to gain confidence in their own voice through a balance of solo and ensemble projects, rehearsals, and in-school performances. The Vocal Music Workshop also prepares one to two songs and performs as part of the Fifth Grade Arts Showcase each year. Fifth grades also participate in an overlapped rehearsal with the eighth grade Vocal Music class, emphasizing singing in harmony within an ensemble and collaboration with other talented musicians.
Vocal Music students in sixth grade continue to develop their skills as solo and ensemble singers. The curriculum emphasizes learning to use the voice to create a musical sound, identifying and interpreting music terminology and symbols, and rehearsing and performing two and three-part choral repertoire in various duple meters. Music Fundamentals class supports the ensemble curriculum by providing additional instruction in music literacy—reading and performing pitch and rhythmic notation on the music staff, interpreting expressive symbols in performance, and understanding the historical and cultural context of music.
Seventh grade Vocal Music students rehearse and perform ensemble music in a variety of genres and styles. The seventh grade repertoire focuses on three-part harmony and performing with and without accompaniment. Students also learn to collaborate with other singers and musicians by completing small group performance projects throughout the school year. In Music Fundamentals, students study music from different genres, cultures and time periods, finding connections between music from the past, music in other artistic and academic disciplines, and music in everyday life.
Eighth grade Vocal Music is split into three segments—Audition Preparation, Music Theory and the A Capella Vocal Ensemble. In Audition Preparation, students develop the skills necessary to independently prepare for a vocal audition. By the end of the course, students will have added at least four new songs of contrasting styles to their personal repertoire. The Music Theory course reinforces basic music concerts like reading music notation, applying these skills to more advance music theory concepts including sight-singing, intervals, major and minor scales, and composition. Through the Vocal Ensemble, students learn to collaborate with fellow singers and musicians to rehearse and perform unaccompanied vocal music, with an emphasis on three and four-part harmony and developing listening and analysis skills.
Vocal Music students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade prepare for two major concert performances each year, one in the winter and one in the spring. The eighth grade Vocal Ensemble also serves as one of the school’s touring ensembles, performing at many community outreach events throughout the school year at venues including the PPL Center, Coca-Cola Park, and The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley. Fifth grade students prepare and perform during the annual Fifth Grade Arts Showcase. Students also have the opportunity to audition for and perform in the school’s Coffeehouse Nights, Show Choir, and Show Stoppers!, the annual musical revue.