The Choral Music Program at San Jacinto Valley Academy provides students with the opportunity to sing and work within an ensemble, employ deeper vocal exploration, and explore a wide variety of cultures and time periods through performance and study. The program contributes to the achievement of Expected Schoolwide Learning Results while promoting International Baccalaureate values.
Learning how to work in an ensemble is cultivated and encouraged every day in each of SJVA’s choir classes. Students learn how to be effective communicators on a daily basis through the choir program. The ability to think and communicate with clarity and precision is essential in an ensemble setting and is required of all students in order to be successful. This is embodied in student performance when they sing in tune, match vowels, execute precise entrances and cut off, etc. Being an effective communicator in choir also requires that students learn to perform in front of others. As performers, students must learn how to take responsible risks, and find humor in their mistakes. Choir students at San Jacinto Valley Academy have many opportunities to perform in front of their peers and an audience, which helps them put these varied communication skills into action. Students must be persistent when it comes to performance readiness. When participating in a choir ensemble, each singer is considered a part of a team. Each singer is expected to Choir students participate in four formal performances each year, two in the fall semester, and two in the spring. In addition to the formal performances, students also have the opportunity to demonstrate creative expression when participating in solo and small group performances, music festivals, assemblies, and many other school-wide events such as the Annual Harvest Festival, Touring America Fair, Spring Fest, etc.
Choir students at SJVA learn to become effective users of technology by implementing musical technology within the classroom. The SmartBoard is used on a daily basis to display class agendas, project sight singing and rhythm exercises, and play choral listening excerpts. Students have to gather data through all the senses on a daily basis when completing their daily journal entries. At the beginning of each class, students listen to a musical excerpt and reflect on what they heard. Student song reflections are to be as descriptive as possible, including how the piece made them feel, what they heard, what it reminded them of, if there was a physical item that it made them think of, etc. Students learn how to create, imagine, and innovate when given the task of completing inquiry projects such as choral composer or concert piece research projects. Students will implement their questioning and problem solving skills while work on their individual Google Chromebooks to complete inquiry projects and other classroom assignments on either Google Docs or Google Slides. In order to complete a high quality project, students will learn how to manage impulsivity by staying focused and remaining on task during project completion.
The choir program at San Jacinto Valley Academy helps students become contributing members of society by studying and performing music from a variety of cultures and time periods, participating in community outreach and public performances, and practicing cultural awareness. Students are challenged to think flexibly and interdependently on a daily basis in choir when given pieces in other languages and from different cultures around the world. Class discussions, facilitated by the instructor, take place whenever a new genre, culture, or language is presented in the form of choir repertoire and literature. Students engage in open dialogue and ask questions about the meaning behind the piece and its origin. They learn to listen and understand with empathy as their classmates talk and learn about music from around the world and often respond with wonderment and awe when given the opportunity. The beautiful thing about music and choral literature is that it often provides an avenue in which students can explore different cultures and genres. Students learn how to appreciate music, heritage, and customs from other cultures by being exposed to a variety of choral literature.
In order for students to be inspired to be lifelong learners in the area of music, they will be taught the importance of consistently striving for accuracy by the instructor teaching them how to recognize a good choral tone, correct vowel pronunciation, placement, articulation, cut offs, etc. With ensemble singing and performing, students are taught to think about their own thinking and to be aware of their own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions that affect others. When a student chooses to participate in choir as a singer and musician, they must remain open to continuous learning and apply past knowledge to new situations. Students are challenged on a weekly basis to use these skills when studying new material and participating in sight-singing and rhythm assessments. By introducing students to these concepts, they become equipped with the skills, knowledge, and desire to become lifelong learners in music. As a musician, one always has room for improvement, growth, and more learning opportunities. Music in itself is a lifelong learning process. A love of playing music must also be nurtured in each student to help to create lifelong learners. Instilling the love and desire to learn music must come from inspiration. This is achieved by choosing material that the students can relate to as well as making lessons fun and engaging. The goal of SJVA’s choral music program is to instill a deep love for music so that students will want to become lifelong learners.
5th Grade Choir: 5th Grade Choir, designed for students in 5th grade as educational enrichment. Students in 5th grade choir meet with the choir director every day to learn music fundamentals as they are applied to choir, and to experience performing in an ensemble. This is an entry level ensemble for students who have little or no singing experience. More advanced students joining this ensemble are challenged by being assigned solos or extra projects that will further develop their musicality.
6th Grade Choir: 6th Grade Choir, designed for students in 6th grade who are interested in learning how to sing, or continuing their music education. This ensemble meets every day with the choir director to work on ensemble music. Students enrolled in this class learn and develop music fundamentals, ear training, musicianship, music theory, and sight-reading skills to help them build a strong foundation in music education. Students learn beginning choir music and ensemble concepts.
7th and 8th Grade Choir: 7th and 8th Grade Choir, designed for students in 7th and 8th grade who are interested in learning how to sing, or continuing their music education. This ensemble meets every day with the choir director to work on ensemble music. Students enrolled in this class learn and develop music fundamentals, ear training, musicianship, music theory, and sight-reading skills to help them build a strong foundation in music education. Students learn appropriately challenging repertoire, and have a stronger focal point on ensemble performance technique. Students learn how to sing more advanced choir music with multiple parts and harmonies in both acapella and accompanied settings.
AFTER-SCHOOL Choir OVERVIEW
SJVA’s After-School Choir program, founded four years ago, was created as an outlet for students to express themselves and come together in a completely safe and supportive environment. Our after-school choir program’s goal is to encourage personal growth as well as providing real life experience in collaboration and communication to reach a common goal. Our after-school choir program is open to 1st grade students and above. Students learn healthy singing technique, ear training, musicality, choreography, teamwork and performance through ensemble repertoire. All choir classes incorporate foundational music knowledge learned in elementary general music. We present two formal concerts per year, one performed in December and one performed in May. Students work together for roughly four months per semester to rehearse and perfect the repertoire.
Treble Clefs: Beginning Level Choir, designed for first grade students of varying skill levels. Students learn healthy singing technique, ear training, musicality, choreography, teamwork and performance through ensemble repertoire. This class incorporates foundational music knowledge learned in elementary general music.
Eighth Notes: Beginning Level Choir, designed for second through third grade students of varying skill levels. Students learn singing, ear training, musicality, choreography, teamwork and performance through ensemble repertoire. This class builds from previous after school choir experience and fundamentals learned in elementary general music.
Show Stoppers: Middle Level Choir, designed for new and returning fourth through sixth grade students. This class build techniques in choral music, singing, choreography, performance and ensemble work. Students learn to sing polyphonic and homophonic music written and arranged appropriately for their age group.
Crescendos: Upper Level Choir, designed for seventh through twelfth grade students. This group works on advanced repertoire with multipart harmonies. Students learn singing and vocal technique, sight reading, ear training, blending, musicality, choreography, teamwork and performance through ensemble repertoire.