Music is an area of strength at Paideia School. The word "paideia" conveys the importance of each child's musical and artistic education. Students involved in the school's music program are supported by a team of nine musician/teachers. In musical groups and classes they strive to:
- Have specific goals and objectives in mind for each class and group
- Support and enhance the musical skills and talents of the students
- Provide performance opportunities
- Provide exposure to different styles of music and instruments
- Offer beginning and advanced instruction as well as nonperformance classes
- Encourage outside music opportunities
- Involve students in a variety of ways from stage crew to soloist
- Support the regular classroom curriculum
- Offer internships for high school students
To accomplish these and other music education goals, the music faculty collaborates on planning, concert schedules, combined concerts, course offerings, and goals. The school supports its music program by providing equipment, materials, supplies, and space in classrooms and the theater. Friends of Music and Drama, composed of parents and faculty, provides encouragement and ideas for the music faculty and supports the music program in many ways. Their fundraising furnishes supplemental materials and fees for guest artists.
The music program for most of the elementary, organized by Miranda Dillard, strives to create an active learning environment based on the philosophies of Orff Schulwerk music education originated by the German composer Carl Orff and the Education through Movement program of the High/Scope Foundation.
Children participate actively in creative music making, using their bodies, voices and minds to understand musical concepts. Students attend music class twice a week. Poems, rhymes, games, songs and dances are used as the basis for exploring, developing and creating basic concepts. As children move through the elementary school, music instruction builds on this foundation, raising both the skill level and the complexity of musical works. Students who are 8 and 9 years old learn to play the soprano recorder.
The curriculum includes folk songs and dances from various American and other cultures, traditional singing games, choral speaking, introduction to notation, listening activities, and creative movement. Whenever possible, materials used in music coordinate with studies or activities going on in the classroom, including the production of original music for class plays.
The study of wind and percussion instruments begins in 5th and 6th grades for Paideia students. The instrument choices are flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, and percussion. Instruction at this level emphasizes correct breathing techniques, accurate hand position, and proper assembly and care of the instruments. The students' experience in the general music class ensures quick progress, and the band is soon performing exercises from method books and music arranged for young groups. The band performs in a number of evening concerts and at school events.
Junior High Band
Band studies continue at the junior high level and include detailed and challenging technical studies, chorales, and more difficult band literature. The wide variety of music includes marches, Broadway and movie tunes, television theme songs, patriotic works, and original literature for intermediate band. In addition to performances at school, the students are eligible to audition for district and state honor bands. In the spring, this group performs for evaluation in the Georgia Music Educators' Association Band Festival.
High School Band
The high school wind and percussion program is currently divided into two groups, Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band. Both rehearse and perform works representing the many styles and rich history of jazz, and improvisation is emphasized and encouraged.The Jazz Ensemble, the more advanced group, is selected by audition. Besides many performances at school, the students participate in clinics and festivals sponsored by the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and are eligible to audition for the All-State Jazz Ensemble, District Honor Band, and All-State Bands.
During the January and May "short terms," music theory and improvisation are offered to musically advanced high school students.
All 5th and 6th grade students are eligible to be in the elementary Chorus. This chorus performs regularly throughout the school year starting with Grandparents' Day in October followed by a fall concert and winter concert and ending with the spring concert. The rehearsal schedule is once a week with added rehearsals towards the concert time. Students learn basic choral music reading, healthy vocal skills and standard choral music techniques. Elementary chorus practices and performs unison, two-part and three-part choral music selections of varied styles and composers.
Junior High Chorus
Seventh and Eighth grade students are encouraged to continue to participate in choral music during their Junior High School years when their voices, knowledge and skills continue to develop and grow. Every class starts with vocal and choral warm-ups designed to teach healthy vocal and musical skills, which are then transferred to their choral music selections. Every week students work to improve skills involved in sight-reading, score study, music theory and rhythmic studies. The Junior High Chorus practices choral music selections of varied styles and composers, performing a broad range of pieces in each concert.
Each student attends chorus three times a week -- once a week by gender and two times a week with the full chorus. Performances include three school concerts, and the opportunity to audition for All-State Chorus held by the Georgia Music Educators' Association.
High School Choruses
All students are welcome to sing in one of three choral performing groups at Paideia. Interested students are required to audition for the director in order to be placed in the appropriate chorus. Placement is based on the students' ability and the needs of the performing group. All groups perform at least three concerts during the school year.
High School Chorus: This chorus is available to 9-12th graders who are interested in learning quality literature and performing in a chorus. Every member is expected to do in-depth work on vocal production, choral methods and theory.
Chamber Chorus: This chorus is available to 10-12th grade male and female singers. This is a top quality group of excellent singer/musicians with exceptional reading skills. This group works on difficult literature of varying musical eras and genres. Classroom presentations and papers are part of the curriculum.
Madrigals: This chorus, available to 10th-12th grade male and female singers, is comprised of experienced singers with the desire to learn and perform difficult four part choral music of varying styles. This ensemble maintains high standards by daily work on music theory, choral and vocal exercises.
The Paideia Elementary Orchestra (5th and 6th grade)
During the first year of instruction orchestra students learn the basics of string playing. The following instruments are taught: violin, viola, cello, and string bass. Students, who come to class two times a week, learn to observe and evaluate their performance as well as performance of others. Opportunities for private instruction are available for those students wishing to further their technical skills. Private lessons are not required. The elementary orchestra performs throughout the year at school and at Georgia Music Educators' Association events in the Atlanta area.
The Paideia Junior Chamber Orchestra (7th and 8th grade)
All students who have played for at least a year on a string instrument perform in the junior chamber orchestra. The orchestra class is designed for students to further their skills on their instruments, and to increase their knowledge and appreciation of music. Each student attends class three days a week. Violins and violas come together one day, cellos and bass on another day, and everyone attends a full rehearsal twice a week. The orchestra performs at school, at the Festival of Trees, and at Georgia Music Educators' Association events in the Atlanta area. Students are encouraged, but not required to take private lessons. Students are also encouraged to audition for the All-State Orchestra and to perform in the various youth symphonies in the Atlanta area.
The Paideia Chamber Orchestra (9th-12th grades)
The Paideia Chamber Orchestra focuses on combining advanced technical skills and musical expression to perform advanced string orchestra literature. Students, who attend class every day during the long term, are given the opportunity to perform in chamber music ensembles in addition to their orchestra class. Most students study privately, and many perform in the various youth symphonies in the area including the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Buckhead Youth Orchestra and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, students participate in the GISA All-Select Orchestra and the GMEA All-State Orchestra. The Chamber Orchestra participates and performs in competitions throughout the United States.