Upper Elementary: Students experiment with their creative side through singing, instruments, drama games and performances. UE chorus is a part of the MSM Elementary Chorus, and involves singing, understanding music theory and how sound is made (sound waves), listening to various music motifs, playing rhythm instruments with shakers, sticks and drums, understanding dynamics and forms of songs, and singing in other languages and cultural styles. They will study composers and their music styles, learn vocal warm-ups and the harmony part songs for a large ensemble. In both Recorder and Chorus, students are learning to read, sing, sight read and play more challenging music. They will play and sing harmonies and rounds, and mentor other students.
The UE students are learning applied music theory as they review and learn new songs for the Recorder. To prepare for a life-long music experience and for middle school band or orchestra, the students learn to play in an ensemble, conduct, identify the time signature and key, and read music with multiple staffs, various dynamics, and notation. The students are learning breath control and fingering in both a classical style and in an informal social "Irish Session" by ear with special ornamentation. Music is extended into instrument club-time for playing ukulele, guitar, violin, piano, and tin whistle together. They share their musical talents in the winter assembly in December, with the Senior Citizen home, and the annual spring Choral and Recorder Concert.
The UE Drama program is a unique approach to introducing Shakespeare to young people in an interactive way. Students explore acting through drama games, group monolog, and then are immersed in the world of Shakespeare as they rehearse and perform a 20 minute cut version of a play using the actual lines from the original play. The entire experience is very "organic" so the students really "own" the play by the time they perform, and gain a comfort level with this important literature, the sophisticated story lines, and vocabulary which stays with them throughout their lives. The comedies are the focus of the program so students can connect with the light-heartedness of Shakespeare, while learning valuable skills and abilities to become better speakers, writers, readers and actors. Five plays are rotated in this repertoire with all the UE students participating. The students virtually performed the "The Comedy of Errors" last year during the Annual MSM Drama and Arts Program in May.