Performing Arts Program
Music is alive and well in Berkley!
The Berkley School District offers a complete and comprehensive general music, band, choir and orchestra program.
Berkley Schools takes pride in making music education a priority starting in elementary school. Each elementary school students participates in 60 minutes of music instruction every week throughout the school year. Fifth graders join and explore band, choir and orchestra and continue through twelfth grade for a total of 8 consecutive years of exemplary music education.
Each year since 2012, the Berkley Schools have been chosen by the National Association for Music Merchants (NAMM) as a "Best Community for Music Education.” Berkley Schools music staff takes great pride is this designation. Our teachers and administrators know how important music education is for a well rounded education and work extremely hard to provide a solid music education for all students. Berkley School administrators and board members are committed to maintaining music education programs.
Music Education Points of Pride
- Incredibly supportive parents - as evidenced by their willingness to invest in quality instruments, attendance at concerts and participation in fund-raisers.
- A strong relationship with McCourt's Music, which supports our students with instrument rentals and repairs, underwrites the entire cost of the 4th grade musical instrument exploration night, presents an instrument demonstration assembly to all district 4th grade students (at no cost to the district), and are NAMM members.
- A music staff committed to including a diverse population of students into their classes.
- Bands, Orchestras, Choirs at the secondary level participate in and receive top ratings at District and State Festivals.
- Secondary students at Anderson Middle School compose music with the use of computer software.
- Berkley High School (BHS) Choirs perform internationally every other year -- in 2015, Madrid, Spain, and in 2017, Austria and Italy.
- BHS Jazz Ensemble was the only jazz group invited to perform at the Michigan Music Conference in January 2015.
- Joyful Noise, a group of select 4th & 5th grade students from Rogers Elementary School, invited to perform with Madrigal Chorale at their Spring Concert in May 2015.
- The high school Symphonic Strings Ensemble, which was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in March 2014.
- Angell Elementary School's participation in the first ever African Drumming Invitational in April 2013.
- BHS Symphony Orchestra and Choir presented the American premiere of "My Name is Anne Frank: A Cantata" in May 2013.
- Variety of community outreach opportunities; including city parades, Optimist Club performances, visits to senior citizen homes.
- A music curriculum based on the National Standards for Music Education.
- A music staff committed to student growth by constantly looking to find ways to make teaching even better, to help students not only become the best musicians possible, but also become lifelong lovers of music.
Music Curriculum Information
General Music Overview
K-5 Music Curriculum The elements of music are as follows: melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, texture and timbre. It is upon those seven elements that an elementary general music curriculum is created. The elements of music are common to all grade levels; however, the level of depth into which each element is explored and mastered is based upon the age of the student. All students will participate in activities designed for them to experience all the elements in a fun atmosphere. Those activities will include listening, movement, singing in tune, and playing (on rhythmic or melodic instruments).
The activities for each grade level are based upon the national standards for music education:
1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
5. Reading and notating music.
6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
Lower elementary students (Kindergarten – Grade 2) will generally remain at the experiential level; however by grade 2 students should be able to recognize differences in what they’re hearing or seeing although they might not be able to execute them. Beat competency is emphasized, rhythmic notation is simplified (ex. ta, ti ti, ta-a, ta-a-a and ta-a-a-a) and melodic note reading is not emphasized at all. Upper elementary students (Grades 3 – 5) build upon the skills that were begun in kindergarten.
This means that in addition to recognizing changes in music they must now demonstrate that they can create changes (ex. hearing a crescendo in music is a lower elementary expectation – creating a crescendo on an instrument or with the voice is an upper elementary concept). In addition, beat competency continues to be a focus, students begin to read standard rhythmic notation and read notes in the treble clef. Bass clef may be introduced in fifth grade – especially for those students who play a bass clef instrument. In the fifth grade students have the option to choose between band, choir and orchestra. An instrument fitting night is held in the spring of students’ fourth grade year to help them choose a suitable instrument – based on their interest and also their physical characteristics and capabilities. Participation in band, choir and orchestra is a year-long commitment and students have the opportunity to continue in those ensembles throughout middle and high school. In order to provide the most authentic assessment possible, students are evaluated throughout the year. While evaluation is on-going, formal