At the start of the new year the Academy welcomed Mrs. Maggie Eisenbarth as its new upper school music teacher. Mrs. Eisenbarth joins Mrs. Jerelyn Karberg, our lower school teacher, and together the two musicians bring a newfound energy and vision to the Music Department at our school.
That energy is already evident: Students in grades K-8 enjoy music first and foremost because their teachers, Mrs. Eisenbarth and Mrs. Karberg, so clearly enjoy music themselves. And that shared enjoyment of music stems in no small part from the shared musical vision of those teachers. Mrs. Eisenbarth outlines that vision as one having three goals for the Academy student: That he or she develop an active knowledge of music, an ability in music, and most of all, a lasting love for music.
Knowledge of Music
Academy students are to establish an enduring understanding of these music essentials:
· The notation of music.
· The genres of music and the similarities of and differences between those genres.
· The great composers of history and what it is that makes them great, even today.
· The mathematics and order behind music.
Ability in Music
Academy students are to learn these essential music skills:
· To read music.
· To hear and identify various parts of a musical piece (to train the ear, so to speak).
· To sing various parts of a musical piece.
· To play an instrument.
Love for Music
In knowing music and in developing an ability in music, students, over time, are encouraged to experience the following effects:
· An appreciation and affinity for the beauty of music.
· A genuine joy in producing their own music.
To achieve those three music goals, upper school students are currently encountering the best composers through June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson’s Meet the Great Composers, and have been listening to those best composers - Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, to name several - in class. Throughout the year students will also study a classic introduction to music, Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory, and learn music history through a collection called The Classical Kids, which presents an accessible, well-ordered storyline of the most influential musicians and their works. Lower school students are familiarizing themselves with those essentials just as their older colleagues are, but of course at their own pace and age level, always geared, too, towards a love for music.
Of note as well is that Mrs. Eisenbarth and Mrs. Karberg aim to integrate their music classes with those classes centered on literature, history, and art especially, such that when 6th grade students learn medieval music, for instance, their music studies coincide with their medieval readings in their other classes. In that way, Academy students might not only obtain a fuller picture of a period’s music, but also of the literary, historical, and artistic works likewise under study.
That integrated approach to music and education in general is well reflected in a quote recently given by Mrs. Eisenbarth herself, stated as follows:
“We are not compartmentalized beings; we are a whole soul and body created by an intentional God.”
That very idea – to form whole students, who are well-rounded and talented, yes, but above all, wise and virtuous – embodies the classical and Christian nature of our Academy. It’s in that vein that we hope every Academy student might loudly proclaim along with David that “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast.”
And now to complete that same stanza, which comes from Psalm 57, we hope that every Academy student might, in harmony with David, soon too say this: “I will sing and make music.”