Students of GKA will experience music through a comprehensive, sequential, longitudinal curriculum using the “Jump Right In” method. In a number of settings, as a part of general education and as a specialized subject (instrumental music), elementary students will explore two of basic concepts in music: tonality and rhythm. These concepts, along with composition and improvisation, will be extended from music to other disciplines such as writing, social studies and science in the upper grade. In addition, all fourth year students will be introduced to recorder in order to prepare them for the fifth year and sixth year instrumental program. Participation in the instrumental program requires that all students learn to play at least one wind or percussion instrument and experience performing in small groups as well as large ensembles through Junior High School.
While most music education programs focus on the aesthetic elements of music, music education at GKA will be centered on developing necessary skills needed for musical understanding. Musical understanding is not reserved for only the “gifted” or “talented”. Students that have yet to be exposed to music in a productive way naturally being their education with fewer skills for understanding than those that have. These students are not “untalented”, rather they are simply inexperienced. Too often, music educators neglect these students and find themselves teaching to students that “have interest” or tend to “excel” in music. What if a teacher of mathematics were to teach only to students “excelled” in math, while neglecting students that have yet to achieve an acceptable level of understanding? We would conclude that that teacher has failed his students and his duties as a teacher. The same applied to music education; every child has the potential to achieve a level of understanding in music, and it is the duty of the music educator to teach the necessary skills needed for understanding. Appreciation of music is not possible without understanding; without understanding, there is no interest; without interest, there is no desire to participate.
At GKA, we believe that music education benefits every student because it cultivates the whole child, gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression and communication. This process requires not merely an active mind but a trained one. We also believe that an education in music benefits society because students of music gain powerful tools for understanding human experiences, both past and present. They learn to respect the often very different ways others have of thinking, working, and expressing themselves. They learn to make decisions in situations where there are no standard answers. By studying music, students stimulate their natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a complex and competitive society. And, as study and competence in music reinforces other disciplines, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible, and powerful.
"When I examine myself and my method of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge."