Music

Our music program begins as early as kindergarten with instruction on how to be beatful, artful and tuneful—components that are crucial to a students’ musical skill development. Our robust music program continues all through middle and upper school, giving students freedom to explore their preferred creative expression, from choir to strings ensemble to jazz band and even music theory.

The immersion method takes root in music through folksongs, dances, improvisation and outside visitors. From MVS’ partnership with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra to Muse Machine, our students are exposed to different musical careers and talents. Music is an avenue for both community building and expression of individual passions. With numerous music-driven core and elective class offerings, professional-grade music software, and a state-of-the-art recording studio and music tools, our students are able to discover a beatful, artful and tuneful world of their own—one they will carry with them long after MVS.


Lower School

K-3 Music

In grades K through three, students learn how to be beatful (clap appropriately on beat), artful (move to music and appreciate a performance), and tuneful (be able to match pitch and sing familiar songs). As students continue their pursuit of music, they incorporate creative movements and dances, and more advanced pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments in their learning experience. Improvisation, creating patterns to the beat, learning traditional music pieces and working together as an ensemble are also incorporated into the music instruction in grades K through three.

Strings Ensemble (4th & 5th grade)

Fourth and fifth graders have the option of working together in one of three performing ensembles: band, choir or strings. The fourth- and fifth-grade string program allows students the opportunity to explore and develop a proficiency on the violin, viola or cello. Students learn how to read notation for their instrument’s clef, how to play songs in unison and two-part harmony, correct playing posture, and proper instrument care. Students perform numerous times throughout the school year.

Band (4th & 5th grade)

Fourth and fifth graders have the option of working together in one of three performing ensembles: band, choir or strings. The fourth- and fifth-grade band program allows students to explore a specific musical instrument—in-depth—for the very first time. Beginning with proper playing posture, breath support and instrument care, students receive step-by-step instruction on the instrument of their choice. Toward the end of the year, the band curriculum assimilates elements of jazz performance, preparing fifth graders to advance toward the middle school jazz ensemble.

Choir (4th & 5th grade)

Fourth and fifth graders have the option of working together in one of three performing ensembles: band, choir or strings. This choir class is the foundation of MVS’ vocal program. Students are introduced to vocal pedagogy, ensemble singing, and music content knowledge. Music content knowledge includes level appropriate reading and writing standard music notation, rhythmic and melodic ear training, sight singing, music history, music theory, solfege, composition, and improvisation. Students have the opportunity to perform different styles and genres of music throughout the year.

Middle School

Choir

In middle school choir, students have the opportunity to choose their role: soloing, small group performance, leadership, social leader, sectional leader, and sound and stage crew. Students continue their musical training in vocal production and pedagogy, ensemble singing, ear training, music literacy, and music content. Students have the opportunity to perform many different styles and genres of music throughout the year and take part in field trips, music festivals, and competitions.

Pop A Capella

Elite Beats is the middle school pop a cappella group and is comprised of young vocalists interested in challenging themselves musically. Pop a cappella takes a more advanced approach to singing, focusing on group harmony, blend, soloist singing, and tonal production. Students have the opportunity to perform at multiple school and community events, field trips, festivals and competitions.

Introduction to Instruments

This is a mixed-level prep course that feeds into the more advanced middle school jazz band. Beginner students are welcome and will be taught from the ground up. All students should expect an accelerated pace, however, as this course is designed to grow players toward an advanced level of skill.


Jazz Band

Designed for students with experience on a band instrument, this course illuminates the fundamentals of jazz and rock performance. Approaching jazz literature in various modes, students improve rhythmic and technical understanding while growing the skills necessary for effective ensemble play. This class also introduces students to jazz theory and improvisation.

Strings Ensemble

Strings ensemble develops students’ skills by expanding their ensemble music beyond two-part harmony. Students are exposed to scales and key signatures with multiple sharps, as well as some keys with flats. Technique, music vocabulary, theory and music history are continued elements in their ensemble learning in the classroom.

Upper School

Jazz Ensemble

This class further develops and diversifies instrumental skills in a rich and varied genre. Students learn tunes that span a gamut of styles: Blues, Latin, Rock, Funk, Bop, and Swing. Students listen to jazz greats, loading an arsenal of licks and idioms as they approach soloing and improvisation. The class has four formal performances and a handful of other appearances throughout the year.


Choir

The upper school choir is open to all students who are interested in singing in an ensemble. Artistic expression and excellence in choral singing is a primary focus in this ensemble. Students perform at festivals, competitions, and concerts throughout the year, both on and off campus. Students will continue their musical training in vigorous vocal pedagogy, ensemble singing, ear training, music literacy, and music content knowledge.

Music Technology

Music Technology explores digital music production from the ground up. We discuss the mechanics of sound production, amplification and digital manipulation, using professional-grade editing software in a state-of-the-art recording studio. Students have the opportunity to record their own original songs and also work as sound engineers for projects of their peers.

Music Theory

Building from the basics of melody, rhythm, and chord theory, students explore the component of music and discover how they interrelate to make a song. They spend equal time working in written, aural, and improvisational modes and should be prepared to express their understanding using a musical instrument of their choosing.

Appreciation and History of Popular Culture Music

Students discover, listen, and recreate music from the civil war to now and learn how historical events and technology have impacted the music we listen to. Students will have the opportunity to reenact important musical events and listen to and discuss different artists and musical styles.

Rock Band

Instruction for beginning musicians who wish to experience all the facets of playing, rehearsing, performing, and producing with a real rock band. Bands typically consist of three or more musicians. The lineup is frequently rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, and drums with someone in the band also covering vocals. The format can be changed or modified depending on the student’s interest and instrument choice. Minimal experience with instruments is required.


Songwriting

This is the practical application and technique of the working songwriter. Melody, lyrics, “hooks,” points of view and song logic will be covered. Solo writing as well as the concept of collaboration are introduced. Students work individually and in small groups.

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