Music at Belvedere Elementary
General Music is scheduled twice a week for grades K-5. Classes include vocal, instrumental, and creative movement/dance instruction. Students in grades 3-5 also receive recorder instruction. The recorder is a simple woodwind instrument which enables reading music notation with satisfactory sound production.
The Fairfax County Music Program of studies is organized into 4 basic strands that correspond with the Music Standards of learning of Virginia Public Schools: Perform; Create, Investigate, and Connect.
At Belvedere Elementary School the music program is taught and learned through a unique approach; Orff-Schulwerk. It is based on things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and keep a beat on anything near at hand. These instincts are directed into learning music by hearing and making music first, then reading and writing it later. This is the same way we all learned our language.
Orff Schulwerk happens in a non-competitive atmosphere where one of the rewards is the pleasure of making good music with others. When the children want to write down what they have composed, reading and writing find their moment.
Orff Schulwerk uses poems, rhymes, games, songs, and dances as examples and basic materials. These may be traditional or original. Spoken or sung, they may be accompanied by clapping and stamping or by drums, sticks, and bells.
The special Orff melody instruments include wooden xylophones and metal glockenspiels that offer good sound immediately. Played together as in a small orchestra, their use helps children become sensitive listeners and considerate participants.
Band lessons are offered during the school day to interested 5th graders for 60 minutes a week. Students learn the basics of playing their instruments alone and with the group. Concerts are given in the winter and at the end of the year, with additional opportunities to participate in the Justice-Annandale Area Band and the yearly Solo Festival.
The Belvedere Chorus is comprised of fourth and fifth-grade students who meet once a week for 45 minutes. This class is a formal chorus rehearsal, with the hope of further extending singing and aural skills, with special emphasis in part-singing and reading scores. Students have opportunities to sing in different languages, styles, and musical genres.
Strings is offered starting in 4th grade. We currently have over 100 students who participate. Students can choose to study violin, viola, cello, or bass. Classes meet for an hour once a week and concerts are performed twice a year. Extra opportunities to play such as Area orchestra and Solo & Ensemble become available to students in 5th grade.