Music at Rochester Central Lutheran School is a tradition as old as the school itself. There were accordion bands, recorder choirs and many other unique ensembles in addition to the highly regarded choirs, handbells and bands that appear to be the primary musical groups of today.
The city of Rochester contains many professional people who have a high regard for the fine arts. Thus, the music program at RCLS is highly valued and supported. As a Lutheran School, we have numerous opportunities for performances. Our churches often invite our groups to worship with them on a Sunday morning, use them as entertainment for a special dinner, and in the past, they have offered their sanctuaries as performance spaces. Our chapel services every week also provide us with an excellent performance venue.
The Psalms command us to “Sing and make music” with many different instruments, and RCLS becomes the training ground for musicians of all levels. Everything we do should be done to the glory of God. So, whether it is in a choir rehearsal, an instrumental lesson or while working on the Christmas program, our focus should be the same: Music is a precious gift of God and we should use the talents we have to praise His holy Name!
General Music instruction is taught to students in Preschool through Grade 5 once per week. The students are taught using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to learning. Students will increase their musical knowledge through speaking, singing, moving and play instruments. The following are a list of topics that we focus on:
“Sing to the Lord a new song….” The book of Psalms is filled with references about praising God in song. As Lutherans, music in worship is an integral part of our heritage. In order to promote service to God through our singing, RCLS offers choir at Grades Kindergarten through Grade 5. The grades will sing at chapel and at an occasional special event. In Grade 5, the choir will perform at two concerts (one in December and one in May) as well as one Sunday at one of our supporting churches.
Our music requirement in Grades 6-8 is fulfilled through participation in one of three performance based groups. Handbells meets twice a week. We have two handbell choirs because the group is limited to a certain number of bells. Beginning handbells is usually comprised of 6th Grade students and Advanced handbells is comprised of 7th and 8th Grade students. No prior music instrument study is required to participate in these groups. Students will learn note reading skills, rhythm skills, and also the technique needed to play handbells. These groups perform in December and May as well as on one or two Sundays at our supporting churches. We do expect all the members of our handbell choir to attend all performances. We worship with our churches to thank them for the financial and spiritual support they provide to our school.
Our music requirement in Grades 6-8 is fulfilled through participation in one of three performance based groups. Concert choir meets 5 times in a two week period. We review basic music notation and terms. We use this skill base to build sight reading skills. Students will be asked to sing an 8 measure music example on the solfege syllables using correct rhythm, pitch and hand signs to assess their progress. Concert choir will perform two and three part music. This group performs two concerts at the school; one in early December and one in May. We also sing at one or two of our supporting churches. This must be done on a Sunday morning and we do expect all members to participate in order that we praise our Lord to the best of our ability. We worship with our churches to thank them for the financial and spiritual support they provide to our school.
Band is an optional activity which is encouraged beginning at grade 4. The majority of students start in 4thgrade, while some wait until 5th or even later to begin lessons on an instrument. No prior music instrument study is needed to learn how to play an instrument. There is a band fee that is billed to each participant yearly.
Beginning Band (4th grade)
Varsity Band (5th-6th grade)
Concert Band (7th & 8th grade)
Both the Beginning Band and the Varsity Band have rehearsals twice/week during the school day. Students who participate in Concert Band have rehearsal 5 times every two weeks. Students are expected to bring their instrument, music and pencil on band/lesson days. Band is an activity where most of the responsibility lies on the musician. This is a skill that we practice daily. Band members are expected to practice outside of school a certain number of minutes/week in order to maintain and grow on their instrument.
Lessons are taught in small groups (5 is considered the maximum) for 20 minutes once per week during the school day. The teacher lets the family know what book (s) to buy for use in the lessons.
Attendances at all performances is required and a schedule is distributed at the first rehearsal of the school year. Each of these groups performs two concerts at the school; one in early December and one in May. In addition, Varsity Band and Concert Band members will play at one or two of our supporting churches. This must be done on a Sunday morning and we do expect all members to participate in order that we praise our Lord to the best of our ability. We worship with our churches to thank them for the financial and spiritual support they provide to our school. Varsity and Concert Band members will also play for the 8th grade graduation ceremony, Pep Band during RCLS basketball invitational tournament and various community events. The Concert Band (7th -8th grade) has its own Solo and Ensemble Festival where every band member chooses to perform a solo or a small ensemble for a judge usually held in the spring.