Lower School Academic Departments

Performing Arts

Students are introduced to music through Orff-Schulwerk, an approach to music education created by composers Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, which connects singing, poetry, movement, drama, instrumental ensemble, and oral interpretation.  Through singing, chanting rhymes, clapping, dancing, pretending, and keeping a beat, children discover that these techniques are interrelated. In the same way that children learn how to speak before they are able to read and write, good music education encourages singing and playing instruments prior to learning how to read and write music. In this way, the art is immediately accessible and comfortably embraced. Activities center on six content areas: singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music.
In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Lessons and Carols service and Grandparents’ Day. Fifth grade students meet weekly for fifth grade chorus rehearsals and sing in several school-wide concerts during the school year. Students in JK-4 perform in chapel services and Lower School programs as well.
  • Music JK

    Junior Kindergarten students begin their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students develop a heightened awareness of their surroundings and are able to follow directions and cooperate with the class as a whole. In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music K

    Kindergarten students begin their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students develop a heightened awareness of their surroundings and are able to follow directions and cooperate with the class as a whole. In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music 1

    First grade students begin their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students are expected to maintain self control in a larger group and respect the ideas and space of classmates.  In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music 2

    Second grade students begin their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students are expected to maintain self control in a larger group, respect the ideas and space of classmates, and work cooperatively with a partner. In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music 3

    Third grade students continue their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students are expected to maintain self control in a larger group and respect the ideas and space of classmates.  With the increased length of songs and instrumentations and the introduction of new instruments, students are encouraged to be more self-directed. In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music 4

    Fourth grade students continue their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students are expected to maintain self control in a larger group and respect the ideas and space of classmates.  Self discipline is essential in order to continue the learning of longer songs and more complex musical compositions.  In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.
  • Music 5

    Fifth grade students continue their study of music through Orff-Schulwerk. Activities center on the following five musical elements: melody, rhythm, texture, color, and structure. These elements are explored through singing a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others; listening to, analyzing, and describing music; demonstrating internalization of music elements through movement; performing a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others; improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; and reading and notating music. Students are expected to maintain self control in a larger group and respect the ideas and space of classmates.  Self-discipline is essential in order to continue the learning of longer songs and more complex musical compositions. In addition to music classes, Lower School students have opportunities to perform in front of audiences at our Christmas program (Lessons & Carols), Grandparents’ Day, and other events throughout the year.

Department Faculty

  • Matthew Gehlhoff

    Lower School Music Teacher, Grades JK-2
    703-212-2840
    Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY - B.M.
    George Mason University, Fairfax, VA - Orff-Schulwerk Certification
  • Rebecca Gehlhoff

    Lower School Music Teacher, Grades 3-5
    703-212-2846
    Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY - B.M.
    George Mason University, Fairfax, VA - Orff-Schulwerk Teacher Certification
JK-12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Grades: JK-5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304