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Growing Lifelong Learners Since 1972

Music

At Wingra, we celebrate music both as a universal art form and as an essential part of the students' daily lives. Learn more about our music curricula, band program, and performances.

Music Class

The curriculum combines music classes with open music studio time and electives, such as choir.

Each student is provided with opportunities to engage with music creatively, through composition, improvisation, performance, recording, and listening.

Every student in the Nest, Pond, and Lake has a weekly music class and an open studio. The Sky students have weekly music classes in the first half of the year and a variety of music electives in the second half. Additionally, students in the Pond, Lake, and Sky can join our rock ensemble and choir, and students in the Sky can join the Senior Choir.

At each level, students learn the basic playing technique on several instruments, expand their musical vocabulary and literacy, listen to various styles of music, and create their own music.

Instruments available for the students include piano, keyboards, recorders, flute, clarinet, trumpet, guitars, ukuleles, lap-harps, computers with recording and notation software, pitched and non-pitched percussion, electronic drum set, and more.

Nest (ages 5 to 7)

In the Nest, each classroom attends music once each week. During their music time, the students play a variety of instruments, sing, dance, create songs, and listen to music from around the world. The main musical topics that we explore are instrument timbres, pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and introduction to keyboard. We put a special emphasis on playing as a group.

Nest students also have the opportunity to participate in open music studio. Studio time provides the students with individualized attention from the music teacher. As students choose their own activities from available musical options.

Students reflect on their own progress in music projects through periodic portfolio entries.

A Note about Notes

Throughout history, music has been communicated both orally, and as a written tradition. In Wingra's music program, the students experience both methods, develop their own unique notation systems, and learn to use standard notation.

This is a gradual process, during which each student (starting at the Nest level) explores different ways to share music with friends:

  • face-to-face interactions
  • musical-sounds-only communication
  • written documents

Throughout these experiences, emphasis on the sounds themselves as "the music" is maintained, and the written notes are regarded as useful tools for sharing musical ideas.

Pond (ages 7 to 9)

The Pond students' opportunities for music include a weekly music class, open music studio, and optional choir. The activities in the music classroom include group playing, imporovisation, drum circles, composition, and listening to various musical genres. Each student in the Pond learns basic keyboard and recorder skills with traditional and original music notation. Students reflect on their own progress in music projects through periodic portfolio entries.

In the open music studio, Pond students practice instruments individually or in small groups and have an opportunity to pursue their own musical interests.

In the Wingra choir, students join voices with members of the Lake and Sky and explore voice techniques, vocal arrangements, and, most importantly, the joy of community singing.

Lake (ages 9 to 11)

The Lake students come to music class once each week and have additional weekly music options at open music studio, choir, and ensemble. In the music classroom the students play instruments, improvise, compose, record, and discuss musical topics, such as form, scales, and modes using classical and popular music terminology.

Each student in the Lake learns basic guitar and keyboard skills, including reading traditional notation and chord symbols. Other topics of study vary based on Lake units, student interests, and current events.

In the open music studio, the Lake students practice instruments individually or in small groups and have an opportunity to pursue their own musical interests.

In the Wingra choir, students join voices with members of Pond and Sky and explore voice techniques, vocal arrangements, and the experience of singing together.

Students reflect on their own progress in music projects through periodic portfolio entries.

Sky (ages 11 to 14)

In the Sky, each student has a weekly music class. During class time, students experience music as performers, listeners, composers, arrangers, producers, fans, and scholars. Topics of study vary based on Sky units, student interests, and current events.

Additionally, Sky students are invited to open music studio time, during which they can practice independently or work on special projects, such as arranging music for the school band.

Two other musical opportunities for the Sky are the senior choir, a student-driven vocal ensemble; and the Wingra choir, a singing group where Sky students collaborate with members of the Pond and Lake and discover voice techniques, vocal arrangements, and the dynamics of singing in a mixed-age ensemble.

Finally, Sky students may participate in music electives in the second half of the school year as students attend two electives each week and switch every three to four weeks. The music electives are designed throughout the year according to students' musical interests and goals.

Students reflect on their own progress in music projects through periodic portfolio entries.

Overture Band Program

Wingra students 9 to 14 years old may participate in an independent band program under the auspices of Overture, Inc., an organization which provides band programs for private and parochial schools in Madison.

Children who enroll receive one semi-private lesson and one large group band rehearsal each week. Families pay tuition directly to the Overture organization and provide the necessary instruments. Ronald Golner (rgolner@msn.com), the band director, is at Wingra on Thursdays and meets with students in the band room (Room 106).

Through the Overture Band Program, students also have the opportunity to participate in two yearly concerts, as well as summer band camps and private lessons. Students ages 11 and up may participate in the Wisconsin School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Festival, as well as the Overture Band Program Honor Band.

For more information, contact Ronald Golner at Wingra, or call Nadine Doudlah, Executive Director of Overture, (608) 882-5581. You can also visit the Overture Band Program website.

Performances

Students perform at a winter concert, a solo and ensemble evening, during Opera for the Young, and at an all-school spring concert at the Overture Center for the Arts.

Drama and music are important components of our curriculum, and our students perform both formally and informally throughout the year.

In addition to the band concerts, all-school get-togethers for students and staff, known as Friday Follies, occur monthly and are a favorite variety show of music, skits, and presentations.

And each spring, members of the Lake (ages 9–11) and Sky (ages 11–14) classes celebrate Kids' Night Out, an evening of skits written, cast, directed, crewed, and performed by students.

Photo by Markieka Greene