Music

The Academy’s Fine Arts program develops the creative potential in each student, a process which is both intellectual and experiential. A rich, varied experience in the arts is essential to educating the whole child, and the Fine Arts Department offers courses in the visual arts, music, dance, and theater.

Experiencing and creating coherent, rhythmic patterns of tones and movements is a universal human experience and a central part of every Academy child’s education. In the Lower School, children experience music through singing, moving, playing, creating, listening, reading and writing. The program uses many resources but is framed by the Orff-Schulwerk Music for Children program. Later in Middle and Senior School, music literacy becomes important, focusing on melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color, texture and form.

[Click on a grade below to read the description]

List of 9 items.

  • Early Childhood (PK-K)

    The Early Childhood Music program contributes to the physical, social, and intellectual development of children. Young students learn a repertory of songs and singing games of small vocal range, as well as easy rhythms. By the end of Kindergarten, children will be comfortable using their voices through singing as well as maintaining a steady beat with body movements or playing simple instruments while singing. The Early Childhood program develops readiness for more formal instruction in singing, instrumental music, learning to play an instrument, and dance in the later grades.
  • Grade 1

    Children learn proper vocal skills and learn to match pitch while singing, maintain a steady beat, explore their own ideas through creative movement, and mirror the teacher when playing specific instrument accompaniments on Orff instruments.
  • Grade 2

    Children begin to explore rhythmic and melodic notation through pictorial and traditional representation. Grade 2 students are also introduced to time signatures, instrument families, treble clef, and line and space notes.
  • Grade 3

    Children begin to practice vocal skills as they learn proper breath support, posture, and diction. Rhythmic experiences move from aural to visual as students become ready. They become aware of the tone and mood of songs by mirroring and traditional treble staff notation. In addition, children learn repeat signs, key signature, time signature, sharp/flat signs, and musical forms.
  • Grade 4

    Students build on the aural and visual skills they’ve practiced in the lower grades. They combine aural, written, and performance skills to play the recorder as modeled and guided by the teacher. They also demonstrate note-reading skills as they accompany vocal songs using Orff/Unpitched percussion instruments. They also learn new components of written music including dynamics, natural sign, descant, legato, staccato, and canon.
     
    In Grade 4, students may join Band or String Ensemble, an elective class for those who wish to engage with others in making music while learning to play a musical instrument. Students develop musical skills through the use of a method book and a variety of introductory pieces.
  • Grade 5

    The program is divided into general music and chorus. General music focuses on areas like note-reading using the soprano recorder, rhythmic exercises using body percussion, and various singing and listening exercises that reinforce basic musical concepts, including pitch, rhythm, scales, keys, dynamics, chords, and form. In chorus, all Grade 5 students learn a choral repertoire and prepare music for performance. Singing in two-part harmony, singing in a world language, and using solfege syllables for scale identification are important aspects of the choral program.
     
    Students may elect the Band or String Ensemble, which continues to be an elective class for those who wish to play a particular musical instrument. Band and String students learn more advanced musical notation and rhythms, develop rehearsal skills and musicianship, learn a variety of musical symbols and expression marks, develop an understanding of harmony and playing with different parts, and  acquire the skills necessary to play in an ensemble. Students rehearse and play in two formal concerts each year.
  • Grade 6

    Art electives are offered in the following categories for students in Grade 6: digital arts, performing arts, and visual arts. Performing arts classes prepare for an ensemble performance either large or small during the term. Students in Grade 6 must select either band, orchestra, or chorus for the year.

    Music & Dance
    Students will explore rhythms, steps, and composition techniques in tap dancing and music classes. Working with dance and music teachers, they will create, write, rehearse, and perform their own stomp percussion piece that combines elements of both tap dance and instrumental percussion.

    Instrument Skill Builder
    This class is for students who have started learning their instruments within the last year and want to join band or orchestra class. The class is strongly recommended for students who are new to our school, or they may audition to opt out. Students receive additional practice and coaching in a small group setting to support playing the full ensemble pieces. First term only. 

    Jazz Band
    Students in Grades 6-12 who have experience reading music are welcome to join Jazz Band. This ensemble practices once a week from 7:30-8:00 a.m. This course is ungraded.
  • Grades 7-8

    Art electives are offered in the following categories for students in Grades 7 and 8: digital arts, performing arts, visual art, and music. Students select these courses in the spring by rank ordering their choices in an electronic form, sent through email. All students will be placed in three courses, one each trimester. Performing arts classes prepare for an ensemble performance either large or small during the term.

    Musical Theatre History
    Have you ever wondered how a Broadway Musical is created? In this course, students will research the people, shows and events that helped shape the rich history of musical theatre. With a solid understanding of these elements, students will then work collaboratively to create their own truly original musicals.

    #TrendingMusic
    This course is all about exploring current musicians and artists who are trending now. Students will examine artists such as Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake (and others) with a particular focus on their music, videos, social media, and their public image and platform. Recognizing that all of them have “made it big” in the music industry, we will explore what allowed them to reach their goal? What set them apart from so many other aspiring musicians, and what may have inspired and influenced their decision to pursue a career in music? (Disclosure: some video and lyric content may be PG-13)

    Song Writing
    Students will learn how to write lyrics and music, and the class will produce a CD. No prior music skills required. If you can write a poem, or play three notes, you can write a song! 

    Voice Class
    Do you love to sing but need help hitting the high notes? Do you want to be on stage? Looking to prepare for an audition? This course offers instruction in vocal technique, musical interpretation and performance in a group setting, and is open to any student wishing to improve their solo singing. Repertoire will be chosen from among a broad selection of genres including art song literature and suitable Broadway/stage material, and students will be responsible for providing/purchasing their own music scores. Students will receive guidance in choosing appropriate repertoire and coaching on individual singing in a master class atmosphere and will be expected to prepare two songs during the course of the trimester. This is not an ensemble class.

    A Capella Ensemble
    This course is for students that want to sing more contemporary music with their fellow students in a small group setting. Repertoire will be tailored to the interests, voices and beatboxing skills of the participants, but will be along the lines of the Pentatonix, Home Free, and the Real Group.

    Musicianship
    If you want to know more about how to write your own music or how to play the music you love by ear then this is the course for you! Musicianship is available to any student wishing to improve their music reading, aural skills and music theory knowledge, offering differentiated instruction in the “grammar” of music. Open to students at any level of experience, regardless of musical interests, we will play ear-training games in class, utilize online resources, and learn how music is put together so you can connect what you hear with what is on the page.

    Ukulele Fun-damentals!
    This course is designed for beginners who would like to experience the fundamentals of instrumental music within a fun and collaborative learning environment. Topics include basic chords, strumming, reading notation, posture, tuning, and learning to play several popular songs. There are no prerequisites for this course. An instrument will be provided for you or you may bring your own. 

    Ensemble
    Students in Grades 7 and 8 either continue studying in their performing art or are assigned to skill building during that time. Students are able to participate in more than one ensemble.

    Jazz Band
    Students in Grades 6-12 who have experience reading music are welcome to join Jazz Band. This ensemble practices once a week from 7:30-8:00 a.m. This course is ungraded.
  • Grades 9-12

    The Senior School's Music program is performance-based and offers students the opportunity to perform in a variety of groups and ensembles. These include Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Ensemble, and Chorus. Students are expected to attend rehearsals, maintain a consistent practice schedule, and participate in a number of performances throughout the school year.

List of 5 members.

  • Pamela Scott 

    Chair Arts Department, LS Music Teacher
    Duquesne University - B.M.
  • Brian Buckley 

    Accompanist/Music
    Duquesne University - B.M.
    Carnegie Mellon University - M.M.
  • Vanessa Candreva 

    Band Director
    Frostburg State University - B.S.
  • Gino Faraci 

    Strings Teacher/Orchestra Director
    Manhattan School of Music - B.M.
    Manhattan School of Music - M.M.
  • Timothy Heavner 

    Choral Teacher
    Oberlin Conservatory of Music - B.M.

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Sewickley Academy
315 Academy Avenue
Sewickley, PA 15143
Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.