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Education

Education Programs for Members and the Community

Through its multi-generational approach to making music (involving singers ages 8 and up), the Chorus of Westerly's educational programs are multi-faceted. The Chorus continues to invest heavily in an expansion of its education programming for both its singing membership and the general public.

Performance and educational programs include:

1. The Children's Music Program, an after school program at Kent Hall, includes several programs for youths ages 5 to 18 years. The performance and education programs provide an inclusive program that provides rich cultural experiences that contribute to a thriving community, as well as aids children in acquiring knowledge and skills for independent musicianship that will serve them throughout their lives.

Children's Chorus: This level includes children who have passed an audition and/or have been singing with the ensemble for a period of time sufficient to the music director's assessment. The majority of “Chorus Kids” sing in the Chorus of Westerly’s Children’s Chorus, and may include children as young as 11 years. Members of the Children’s Chorus sing with the adults on every performance in the symphonic and theatrical season. Children are rescreened annually. Some teens in high school may sing with the adults on Monday evenings for two hours.

Junior Chorus: This program first served as a secondary and more advanced level of training choir, and now generally includes children with demonstrable basic music skills of ages 8 through 11 years. Musicianship skills and vocal training continues in this level and is the final step before a singer joins the main children's chorus. Junior Choristers also sing in a variety of performances throughout the season.

Training Chorus: This level is for new child singers and the youngest singers  in the Chorus of Westerly, generally ages 5 through 8 years.  Designed  to teach the emergent singer music fundamentals, provide and allow for healthy vocal development,  and prepare them to sing advanced choral music. Singers in this program stay for a length of time determined by the music director. Singers in Training Chorus will sing in a variety of performances throughout the season.

Music and Movement: A pre-chorister program first offered in 2013, Music and Movement serves our youngest musicians, ages 5 through 7 years. Music is a key feature of early childhood, and children are natural music makers and delight in the musical world around them. In this class, young musicians—ages 5-8—will experience a variety of music activities designed just for them! Children will sing, move expressively, create, and play instruments. While building a repertoire of songs for everyday living, children will acquire music skills and knowledge that will enrich their lives far into the future.  In addition to acquiring early music literacy skills, making music enhances children’s understanding of their world, aids in language development, and contributes to their social and emotional well-being.

SCHEDULE

Children’s Chorus: Mondays, 5:00PM to 7:00PM
Junior Chorus: Mondays and Fridays, 4:00PM to 5:00PM
Training Chorus: Mondays, 4:00PM to 5:00PM
Music and Movement: Fall and Spring Eighth-Week Session—Fridays, 4:00PM to 4:45PM


2. Summer Camps

Choral Camp: All children and teens participating in any of the three children’s chorus levels are welcome to attend our children's Choral Camp program held each August in New Hampshire.

Music and Movement Day Camp: A music program for children ages 5 through 8. The program runs for a week at Kent Hall in August from 9AM to Noon and culminates in a performance for the children’s families and friends, as well as friends of the chorus.


3. Musicianship Instruction: Musicianship instruction is embedded in the rehearsal schedules.

Young children learn through play and demonstrate music understanding through moving, singing, and when ready, reading and manipulating (e.g., writing, reordering, categorizing) iconic representations of sound. 

Children develop their musicianship through a continued “ear” and “voice” approach—oral/aural. Music understanding progresses from active listening, moving, and singing to reading and writing symbolic representations of sound including standard notation, tonic solfa, and Curwen hand signs.

Adult learners require a specialized approach, whereby musicianship skills are approached abstractly (using symbolic and theoretical resources) and concretely (using sound to sight processes). Materials used for teaching musicianship are drawn from folk and composed music.


4. Pre-concert lectures are offered prior to November concert and the May concert. Lectures are offered free of charge to current Chorus members and the general public. Typically presented at noon on the Saturday prior to the concert by the Chorus maestro or specialized guest musicologists.


5. Vocal Master Classes with Guest Artists


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