(Lou Magor and Whitney Tjerandsen)
We have a strong focus on vocal music at Tilden School, introducing students to many different styles and periods of music. The vocal music preparation students receive here lays a superb foundation for students who wish to study an instrument, in addition to engaging all students in the simple joy of singing. Tilden students have gone on to participate in various youth choirs and orchestras, and some who have become professionals (in bassoon, cello, and guitar) come back to perform for current students.
Each year, we commission two new musical compositions, written for the Tilden students, by excellent Northwest composers for performance during the year: one by John Muehleisen, and one by Robert Kechley.
In addition to performing music, students enjoy practicing appropriate audience behavior and listening skills in delightful annual visits by the Northwoods Wind Quintet and Northwest Opera in Schools, ETC., and other visiting musicians as the occasion presents.
Children in the first through fifth grades meet with Lou and Whitney for music and movement class on Tuesdays. They learn to clap rhythms, to sing solfège syllables (do, re, mi, etc.), to recognize intervals, to match pitches, to recognize syncopation, and to move to music while listening to directions. They experience both ensemble and solo singing, and memorize songs and singing techniques in preparation for the annual concert, usually held in the spring.
On Thursdays, Whitney sings many rounds with the children, teaching them to hear and participate in harmony, even before they can reliably hold on to a part, individually. Each student learns to match tones by singing alone, practicing the tone matching until it gets easy for them. Adding camp songs and humorous songs provides that levity music can also bring.
On Fridays, students and teachers sing with Lou at the piano. He covers a wide and varied repertoire: standards one learns from a parent or grandparent, songs from musicals, partner songs, and songs for campfires and car trips.
After the Friday sing along, Lou meets with the Kindergarten class for a special end-of-the-week music and movement class, to send the little ones home singing and dancing.
Drama is an essential element across our curriculum as our students are engaged in the interactive process of learning. During their time at Tilden, students will participate in drama activities including, but not limited to, readers theater, math dramatizations, science skits, Shakespearean plays, Spanish dramatizations, character portrayals, phonics dramatizations, poetry recitations, puppet plays, history reenactments, holiday celebrations, interviews, formal speeches, and community service skits, as well as all-school performances involving music and drama.