St. Mary’s sees the value of music in our school and in our lives, and our music program covers many aspects of the subject area. In the lower grades (K-3) we focus on establishing a strong, steady beat by reading and writing rhythms, doing body percussion, playing instruments, and playing music games. We also focus on singing by learning a wide variety of songs, using of solfege hand signs, and playing music games. Theory is incorporated throughout our activities so that the students are able to read and perform basic rhythmic notation as early as Kindergarten.
In 4th grade we spend the spring doing our Recorder Karate unit, focusing on reading music on the treble staff, improvising within set boundaries, and performing for others. In 5th grade we add more complex theory and move into part singing; we also have a unit in which we explore the rich history of patriotic and folk music in America. 6th grade focuses on music theory, history, appreciation, and creation. In all grades, there is some exposure to great and important music by the masters - like Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Bach, and more.
There are two special 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 for free.
MASS MUSIC is also a major part of the culture at St. Mary's. One morning each week students and teachers meet together to practice all the songs, and sometimes additional music, for our Masses. Attention is brought to the printed music in the songbooks so that students can successfully navigate through songs. We have a rotating group of students who volunteer to participate in a choir for student Masses.
We are always singing at St. Mary's, whether it is during our morning prayer circle as a school, praying before a meal, or saying goodbye to all our friends. We live out Psalm 98:4 in our daily school lives: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise!"
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.