District Philosophy and Program Overview
In Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), our elementary music program is called Block Music. All elementary students in grades 4th and 5th receive two 40-minute music lessons per week. Due to the unique structure of Block Music, students are not pulled out of other instructional activities to participate in music.
During the first weeks of school, CUSD students have the opportunity to explore various instruments of the string, woodwind and brass families and to explore vocal music. Every child in the fourth grade will receive an eight-week experience to explore the students' options in music. Every child in the fifth grade will receive a six-week music experience to explore the students' options in fifth grade music. This experience will include wind instruments of the brass and woodwind families and some vocal music. This part of the Block Music program is called the basics. During these basic classes, School District instruments are used for instruction and NO material or equipment rental is required of students.
Following this basic music experience, students may choose to enroll in continuing classes in which a more intensive study of the instrument is undertaken. These classes meet twice weekly and involve home practice and rental of equipment. We will invite parents to our final class meeting of your child's "basic" class. At this time, you will be able to observe the progress of your child's class as well as your own child. Mr. Hunker and Mr. Wentzel would be most happy to meet you and answer any questions you might have at that time.
Those demonstrations are scheduled for the week of October 24th. For specific times and dates, click here.
Fourth grade students wishing to continue on the violin will need to rent an instrument during the week of October 31st. Fifth grade students wishing to play on a wind instrument will need to rent an instrument during the week of October 10th.
Fourth and fifth grade students who elect not to continue on an instrument after the basic introduction, have other exciting choices in music. Students have the opportunity to participate in the chorus. Also meeting twice weekly, this activity will teach students about the fundamentals of music, note reading, and vocal production. The chorus will perform at several functions throughout the year, including the winter concert and spring concert.
Fourth grade students who elect not to participate in instrumental music may select a course of study called general music. This class provides students with an overview of the discipline of music. Depending on the music teacher's expertise, the student might experience some vocal music, and/or music history, note reading, dance, folk songs, drama or possibly recorder.
In January, auditions will be held for students wishing to participate in the Districtwide Elementary Honor Band, Honor Orchestra, and Honor Choir. Honor groups will perform at one or more of the districtwide Honor Concerts held as part of the CUSD Festival of Music. Additional information will be sent home with students in December.
In CUSD, Music is offered to all students. It is not reserved for those selected as "talented". Music is for everyone! Music is basic!
Here are some interesting recent findings regarding music education:
A UCI neuroscientist team, Rauscher and Shaw, through their research have found that students who take music courses do better in other academic areas, specifically in math and sciences.
The College Board that administers the SAT states that "students who take music courses have higher SAT scores than those who do not take music
We look forward to having your child in the Block Music Program in CUSD!
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