Berkeley has a strong music program where music is core to the curriculum from Pre-K to Grade 8. Our music program forms an essential element of our students academic careers, and this emphasis shines through during music performances.
Kindergarten music is about developing a basic musical awareness and fostering a love of music making together. Accordingly the lessons are based on the things students enjoy doing already – singing, clapping, playing games and dancing. When appropriate students also start to use classroom instruments to accompany songs and games. By the end of Kindergarten it is expected that students will show an awareness of pulse, dynamics and tempo and respond appropriately.
Elementary students have music class twice a week. The curriculum has a largely practical approach and students develop skills in performance, improvisation, and composition alongside music theory and listening and analysis skills. Units of work focus on understanding the ‘elements of music’, tempo, beat, rhythm, duration, pitch, dynamics and melody. The standards followed are adapted from the National Core Arts Standards from the US.
ORCHESTRAL STRING PROGRAMME
All middle school students at Berkeley learn about music through our orchestral string programme. The skills and knowledge developed in this programme will help students to become lifelong musicians as well as being highly transferrable to other areas of life. We currently have four groups to cater for students at all ability levels from beginner to advance. Membership of each group is determined by experience/ability rather than school grade/age.
Practical work is supported by contextual studies and independent learning tasks that explore music history and theory in greater depth. There will be at least one public performance each semester and all students are required to take part as it forms part of the course assessment. The remainder of the assessment is formed of on-going teacher assessment of class work and written self and peer evaluations.
Andante Strings offers Berkeley students the opportunity to learn the basic musical and technical skills required to play violin, viola, cello or double bass. Students learn how to read standard music notation, produce a good tone, perform expressively and how to balance their part within an ensemble. Students are loaned their instruments from Berkeley and are expected to practice for at least 15 minutes every other day in order to make expected progress. Students are expected to own personal copies of the Essential Elements 2000 for Strings Book 1 that can be purchased through the school.
Allegro strings is for students who already have some experience of string playing and the course follows Essential Elements 2000 for Strings Book 2. Students will further develop their knowledge of performance, improvisation, music theory and context, building on the foundations from earlier grades. As with all string groups, students are expected to have their own copy of the course text. Students will also be loaned instruments from the school if required.
This is our most advanced string group. The course broadly follows Essential Technique 2000 as well as exploring appropriate string orchestra repertoires. As with all string groups, students are expected to have their own copy of the course text. Students will also be loaned instruments from the school if required.
The High School Music course runs for a full year, represents 0.5 credit and provides students with the opportunity to develop their musical talents and knowledge through practical, ensemble based activities. A wide-range of music styles will be studied including pop, rock, jazz and classical with much of the repertoire selected by students. Whilst there is a focus on practical work, some time will be spent exploring music history, theory and technology when appropriate. There will also be the opportunity to attend professional concerts in the Bangkok area.
The only prerequisite for the course is a genuine interest in music and a willingness to be involved in all aspects of performance. If students play an instrument they will be expected to bring it to class.
To gain an additional 0.5 credit for this course students have the opportunity to complete an extended project. The exact nature of this project will be discussed with the teacher but examples include a public solo recital, composition portfolio, in-depth research project or student-led concert. Work on the extended project will need to take place outside of class time but teacher support and music facilities will be made available as appropriate.