Music Memory fulfills a full school year’s curriculum. Each fall, students in two grade groupings (3-4 and 5-6) begin study of a fresh selection of 16 works representing a wide range of musical periods and styles, including orchestral, keyboard, choral, vocal, instrumental, opera and jazz compositions. Four full years in the program therefore offers a substantial overview of 64 timeless musical masterworks.
Calling upon the music itself to do the teaching, Music Memory develops listening skills, provides a link to explore the composers and their times, and also offers children the opportunity to express the music’s rhythmic, melodic and emotional content during interactive sessions. The aural-visual teaching materials, including recordings of the 16 pieces for school and home study and colorful listening maps, are created with painstaking care to insure both composer and music will be accessible to young listeners. Listening sessions are conducted in a peaceful, focused environment where neither teachers nor students speak while the music is played. This practice establishes rewarding and respectful listening habits for home or concert hall.
Music Memory culminates every spring at the Citywide Finals, a contest that recalls the popular “Name-that-Tune” show from early television days. Cheered on by parents and classmates, students are given the opportunity to show off their amazing listening and recognition skills, identifying the pieces and the composers of the 16 works they have studied throughout the year from musical fragments as brief as a single chord played onstage by Riverside Symphony. Their innate love of music, kindled in them throughout the school year on this unique musical voyage, is fired by the excitement of the competition.
In 2010, PS 32 won 1st place in the citywide finals in the 3rd and 4th grade category as well as the 5th and 6th grade category. In 2011 PS 32 won 1st place in the 5th and 6th grade category. We are preparing for the 2012 competition.