The Center School


Music at the Center School

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.
~Ray Charles 

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The Center School music program is at once a joyful, layered, and community experience.  Our music teacher, Ann Percival, is also a professional, gigging musician and a member of world-renowned band, Wild Asparagus.   In addition to her work with the school, each class has at least one homeroom teacher who is a musician.  Music is often integrated into other studies, such as Theme or Lit.  Social Justice songs are a huge part of the Center School musical canon.

Many of our students are talented musicians, singers and dancers, and thus have rich and accomplished musical lives in and out of school.  For this reason, Center School projects often contain musical elements, with students writing or performing songs and dances related to areas of study.  For example, a student exploring mountaintop removal recently studied a related song by John Prine, called “Paradise.”

The final “assessment” or “representation” of our musical learning each year is the Center School Variety Show, where every child and teacher performs.  This is an experience that focuses not just on the blessings of process, but also gives children the opportunity to polish their work to performance level and then to feel the accomplishment only an audience and much rehearsal can provide.

Skill areas covered:

-establishing a musical community

-listening, identifying, and appreciating different types of musical genres and instruments within these genres;  learning social justice songs from around the country and the world

-singing in a group/harmony singing

-community dancing- cooperation/musicality/team building

-exploration of time and meter using various clapping and foot rhythm patterns

-song research- what is fun to sing and why, who is our audience?