In core music class students learn about the intrinsic value of music as a subject worthy of study in and of itself. Students make connections between music and society, music and history, and music and the language arts, through their performances of music from a variety of cultures and genres. They improve their aural skills through solfege exercises, their cognitive growth by moving and dancing to music, their rhythmic understanding through performing patterns on the bongos and congas, and keyboard skills through perfoming accompaniments of Orff instruments. They study music theory concepts such as tempo, form, and dynamics. Students also conduct their own compositions, using ipads and the SMARTboard, and create original accompaniments to videos and storybooks.
In third and fourth grade all students learn to read and write music notation through their performances on the recorder. Students apply their knowledge of music theory and history to their recorder performances of melodies from pieces such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and Duke Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues.” Students also have the opportunity to perform with the fifth graders in the annual Spring Concert.
Created with a grant from the VH1 Save the Music program our band features trombones, trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, flutes, and percussion. Students apply their knowledge of note reading and wind playing from their fourth grade recorder unit to their performances of beginning band repertoire. The band meets every Thursday during and after school and on Wednesday mornings. Band students perform Winter and Spring Concerts, as well as, a May concert with NYPD Jazz Ensemble. The P.S. 222 Band has also performed and collaborated with the I.S. 278 Marine Park Band, students and professors from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, and for Chancellor Richard Carranza.
Fifth grade chorus students apply their knowledge gained in core music class to their performances of a variety of songs from different countries and time periods. Students work together to produce a balanced choral sound that entertains their audiences and prepares them for junior high school singing. The Chorus performs Winter and Spring Concerts and has performed for audiences at the Carmine Caro Community Center, Brooklyn Borough Hall, and City Hall for various political leaders including the President of Brooklyn.
In Percussion Ensemble students use the drum set, bongos, congas, keyboard bass, rhythm sticks, bells, wind chimes, djembes, glockenspiels, and xylophones, to create original pieces of music. Students employ improvisation, conducting, and drumming techniques to make a variety of soundscapes. For example, the Percussion Ensemble has performed as a Rock band, a West African Drumming circle, and as a Brazilian maracatu ensemble.