St. Mary's Catholic School
Music, Choir & Art
St. Mary’s School Music Program covers many aspects of the subject. In the lower grades we focus on establishing a strong, steady beat by singing, moving to the beat, and doing body percussion. We also play rhythm instruments and barred instruments (such as the glockenspiel). Theory is incorporated throughout our activities so that the students are able to read basic rhythmic notation as early as first grade.
In fourth grade we play the recorder and read treble staff music that is required for that. In the middle grades we add more complex theory and move into part singing. Sixth grade focuses on music history and music appreciation, beginning with the Medieval Era and moving into the twentieth century. In all grades, there is some exposure to great music and students can identify well-known themes, such as “The Surprise Symphony”. Fourth and fifth graders attend the annual Children’s Concert given by the Boise Philharmonic which is a wonderful opportunity to experience live, classical music performed in a lovely setting (the Morrison Center) by a wonderful orchestra.
There are two school music programs during the course of the school year. Lower grades (K, 1, 2, and 3) perform at one and the upper grades (4, 5, and 6, ) perform at the other. One is in the fall/winter and the other in the spring, often rotating which grades perform for that particular semester. The final performance is in the evening so that family and friends may attend.
Choir is an option for fourth through eighth graders. It is a no-cost, no audition, before school activity that is available for students who enjoy singing. We sing unison pieces, rounds, partner songs, and also ones with harmony. The choir performs in the school programs and takes field trips to 4 different retirement homes to sing for the residents there. We have also been invited to participate in Festival of Trees and the Advent Choir (at Our Lady of the Rosary) multiple times.
Music is also addressed at our school Song Practices, Tuesday afternoons, at which we prepare for that week’s mass. We sing through all the songs and practice the mass parts, if needed. Attention is brought to the printed music in the songbooks so that students can read critical music notation necessary to navigate successfully through a piece. Finally, music is part of our morning prayer circle several days a week when we sing as a school body.
At St. Mary’s, we believe that Art is an important part of our children’s education. It is important to not only use the left side of our brain (rational and analytical) but to balance out our right side of the brain with creative sources (art and music). From Kindergarten to 8th grade the children learn about the color wheel, types of colors, medium, artists, types of art, art history, architecture, cultural art, different styles of art, how we use different tools to create art, non-traditional forms of art, computer art, the meaning of art, how art makes us feel and how to express our feelings through art, 2D and 3D art sculptures, fundamentals of art, principals of art and art preservation. We have a very dedicated group of volunteer art parents who come in once a week to teach their child’s class art and the children look forward to it as a highlight of their week. The classes also have numerous opportunities to go on field trips throughout the year. Art is non-judgmental and creative. Art supplies are in the most part supported by the PTO.