Volume 4, Issue 2
September 2018

Did you know that the benefits of music extend far beyond its immediate enjoyment? Research shows that regular music instruction can help children excel in a variety of areas. Learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances important skills children use in other areas. For instance, music instruction supports the development of auditory, language, reasoning, and critical thinking skills. Additionally, music instruction promotes creativity, social/emotional development, teamwork, and self-confidence. No wonder the Cypress School District values the role of music in its educational program and places a high priority on expanding music opportunities for all students!  

This edition of our e-newsletter features the district’s music education program, including our recent expansion efforts. We hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about the valuable opportunities we are providing for our students!

Anne Silavs
General Music Program

Every student in the Cypress School District benefits from weekly music classes taught by credentialed music teachers during the regular school day. Students learn concepts that include pitch, melody, rhythm, and tempo. Music teachers use Kodály, Orff, and Dalcroze methods to develop the ear and musical understanding in a developmentally appropriate instructional sequence from preschool through sixth grade.
TK/K – 1st Grade: Students are introduced to the basic elements of music, such as beat, rhythm, and melody, to build their music literacy skills. They create music through voice and use of various percussion instruments.
2nd – 3rd Grade: Students learn basic music theory, how to match pitch, and how to sight-read music using the Kodály method. Students perform songs in unison as well as in two parts.
4th Grade: Students begin to identify notes with absolute pitch names to prepare for instrumental performance using soprano recorders. They are introduced to the nuances of music and learn to notate rhythms and analyze structure/form.
5th – 6th Grade: Students build proficiency in identifying notes with absolute pitch names and reading rhythms using the Kodály syllables. They develop their voices with various exercises and repertoire to extend their range. They also learn to play soprano recorders. This year, the district expanded music offerings for fifth and sixth grade students to include a 10-week rotation with the ukulele, during which time students acquire the skills to identify and play basic chords using proper technique.  

Students at all grade levels showcase their musical accomplishments at an annual concert performed on each school campus in the spring. Collectively, these experiences are designed to cultivate deeper student interest in music. However, even if students choose not to pursue further vocal or instrumental music study, the general music program they receive in elementary school helps develop cultural literacy and an appreciation for the complexities of the musical art form.
Specialized Music Instruction
In addition to general music education, our upper grade students also have the opportunity to participate in a number of performance ensembles that include choir and world music. This year, we expanded our music offerings to include a new band program on every school campus. We currently have over 150 students taking band, as well as over 100 students in choir and approximately 95 students participating in world music. 

Beyond the value of the musical experience itself, students who participate in these ensembles develop a strong sense of community. These budding vocalists and musicians have the opportunity to see how their individual efforts contribute to the accomplishments of the larger group. The synergy that ensues further fuels their creativity and passion for music. The outcome is nothing less than magical!

While we are extremely proud of the outstanding programs and services we provide our students in the Cypress School District, we fully recognize that the success we enjoy is built on a strong foundation of parent and community support. The district’s music program was made possible through voter approval of Measure R in 2014, which allowed the district to exchange the old Mackay school site for an investment property that funds both music teachers and instruments (not to mention the district’s STEM program, too). 

Working together with our local community, we effectively achieve our mission to inspire and empower every student, every moment, for every opportunity. Here’s to another extraordinary school year in the Cypress School District!
Candi Kern - Sandra Lee - Donna McDougall - Brian Nakamura - Lydia Sondhi, Ph.D. 
Anne Silavs