Our school’s music program is growing leaps and bounds. Not only are students practicing for their upcoming annual Winter Concert, music teacher Ms. Wendy Savage has also created multiple after-school programs which focus on a wide variety of intriguing musical education classes.
Here’s a look at the melodies of music currently heard around our school campus.
Music Classes During School
Our campus is buzzing with musical education throughout the school day.
During music class, students sing as well as play instruments. They learn to accompany the songs they sing with a variety of instruments such as recorders, the keyboard and piano. They also have a wide variety of music activities that include movement and singing games.
When instruments are involved, Ms. Savage teaches using the Orff Approach from composer Carl Orff. The instruments are smaller, such as xylophones, so that it is easier for children to play. Ms. Savage teaches the fundamentals of music which include keeping time and working with rhythms.
Elementary Music Class
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade attend music class once a week. A wide variety of instruments are played, in addition to singing, during each class.
Middle School Music Classes
Our school has a growing band and orchestra program.
Sixth grade students take classes that are all instrumental. Students choose one of three options: guitar, orchestra or band. This is a rotation class, so students will also rotate through art and technology during the school year.
Students in seventh grade have the option of taking band or orchestra. While they also are scheduled to rotate through art and technology classes, they can choose to continue with band or orchestra class instead. Seventh and eight graders join together for orchestra and band classes. These classes meet throughout the entire school year.
Ms. Savage finds kids are really getting involved with music on campus.
Ms. Savage says that middle school students in band or orchestra often come into the music room before school to practice playing the instruments.
Ms. Savage feels the students are really enjoying the music program and look forward to learning.
She is so excited to be rolling out a wide variety of both during-school and after-school music classes.
“For me, TCDS is an amazing place because it allows me to build a music program that I’ve always dreamed of… The staff here and administration are just so supportive that they allow me to dream and the kids to dream, and they try really to accommodate…The kids here are just so enthusiastic, and it’s just a really great environment for a program like this to build, a really great environment,” said Ms. Savage.
TCDS parent Ariella Bell plays a role in assisting Ms. Savage with music classes. She is a pianist, teaches piano and has a choral background. She volunteers with our school’s music program, and she will also be playing piano for the upcoming elementary Winter Concert performance on Tuesday, December 3rd.
(*The middle school band and orchestra winter concert is on Thursday, December 12th.)
After-School Music Programs
Ms. Savage stays busy every day after school with a variety of music classes that she teaches on campus.
Students in first through third grade meet every Monday from 3:15-4:00pm for SINGERS. Currently, 33 students are part of the SINGERS choir. At the beginning of second semester, kindergarten students can join this choir if they choose to.
Students in fourth through eighth grade meet every Friday from 3:00-4:00pm for CHAMP Choir. There are currently 30 students in this choir.
Ms. Savage uses Suzuki violins, which are geared toward younger children, with the idea that you learn how to play an instrument in the same manner that you learn how to speak a language.
Beginning violin classes, for kindergarten through third grade students, currently meet Thursdays from 3:15-4:00pm.
Students in any grade who have had some previous experience with playing an orchestra instrument – violin, viola, cello or bass – can enjoy after-school orchestra classes. The class meets every Tuesday from 3:00-4:00pm. Middle school students can also drop in to these classes for extra practice.
Interested in joining an after-school music program?
A new violin class will begin in January. There will also be a continuing violin class beginning second semester.
Students interested in joining an instrumental class or one of our after-school choirs can do so come January.
Private Music Lessons
Ms. Savage also offers private music lessons on campus after school. Several students are currently taking private violin or cello lessons.
TCDS staff are even getting involved in the school’s music program. Several teachers and staff – Ms. Savage and Ms. Jaclyn on the violin, Dr. Saliba on the piano, and Ms. Barney and Ms. Johnson on the viola – meet on Fridays to play classical music in this chamber, or small, orchestra. Seventh grade student Josh Bell is also part of this orchestra, playing the violin. The group calls themselves Staff Sinfonia.
Music Instrument Donations
With fundraising last year, Ms. Savage was able to purchase two string basses and one cello. Our music department also received a great donation of nine violins from TCDS school board member Bill Iveson and his wife. Mr. Iveson’s wife is a former Tucson Symphony member.
TCDS families have been donating various instruments. Ms. Savage says the McCabe family donated funds to purchase a bass xylophone last year, which is a popular instrument in class.
These donations have been a wonderful way to expand the school’s music program.
“…We are still in the building stages. Instruments are really expensive. It’s not necessarily an inexpensive thing to do, but there’s been a lot of support and donations,” Ms. Savage said.
Ms. Savage could always use more musical supplies for the music program. Those supplies include digital keyboards, headphones, and any band or orchestra instrument.
One of our TCDS students is an Eagle Scout, and for one of his projects, he generously offered to build storage space for larger instruments for the music program. We are thankful and excited to have this student involved in this project!
Upcoming Fundraiser for Music Program
The music program’s big annual fundraiser is coming up next semester. It’s a BBQ and talent show that is scheduled to be held March 7. Last year’s fundraising event was very successful.