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Lower School Performing Arts

Our Lower School music program invites enthusiastic participation from our students. By connecting the notes to words and movement through rhythm, music lessons are a whole body experience, inspiring creativity and innovation. Throughout their six years in the Lower School, students will study both classical and contemporary composers, bringing their work to life through song and dance. Each year, students grow in their experience with unpitched percussion instruments, xylophones, and the recorder and begin to accompany their own performances as early as Kindergarten.

These experiences teach concepts such as rhythm, melody, harmony, style, and expression and integrate with the thematic learning at each grade level.

Kindergarten Baby Elephant

A capstone to the Kindergarten year is the annual production of "Baby Elephant," an original musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's tale, How the Elephant Got His Trunk, that features composers they have studied throughout the year. Outfitted in individualized costumes, each child builds confidence through the joy of sharing their play with the audience. 

1st Grade Imagines a Fairy Tale

First graders grow empathy and storytelling skill as they connect music with fables by Hans Christian Andersen, considering what it means to embrace differences with the story of the Ugly Duckling. They begin working with pre-recorders and discover various rhythmic patterns by playing rhythm instruments and practicing writing musical notes and rests. They culminate the year with a musical revue from favorite fairy tales.

2nd Grade Ignites Wonder

At the start of the year, 2nd graders discover classical composers and a selection of Broadway tunes that showcase how even the youngest child can be a change-maker. They culminate the year with a fully produced play called Wonder Cat, a musical about a glamorous cat whose friendships are tested when her home unexpectedly burns down.

A Night at the 3rd Grade Opera

Connecting to the 3rd grade level theme of global perspectives, students explore songs from around the world, including rhythms and dances from South America, Japan, China, Australia, and Angola. They graduate from pre-recorders to soprano recorders, explore the musical alphabet, and practice rhythm notation. Students culminate the year with a performance of songs based on famous operas.

Raising Voices for Change in 4th Grade

During 4th grade, students begin the fall with a tour of music history from Bach to the Beatles. Units on jazz improvisation, ragtime, bebop, and Motown connect with the social justice curriculum they explore in their homeroom. Fourth graders finish the year performing a medley of Broadway favorites.

5th Grade Takes an Odyssey

The final Lower School performance for our 5th graders is a much-anticipated musical version of The Odyssey, complete with original costumes and set and a moment for every student to shine. They also connect the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Aaron Copland with their immigration unit in the classroom.

Musical Theater

A wide shot of the Brentwood Lower School stage shows the full cast of "Beatles in the Underworld" taking a bow

In addition to their grade level performances, students have the opportunity in 4th and 5th grade to participate in our after-school musical theater program. This year, the students performed an original play called Beatles in the Underworld, which follows the Greek myth of Psyche and Cupid to the discography of the Beatles.