-All styles of music are listened to and discussed, from the Medieval Period to modern styles. Religious songs are a major part of what we sing.
-Each music class, regardless of grade level, begins with 2-3 minutes of quiet listening.
-Early grades concentrate more on singing, listening, and movement, along with basic discussions of musical concepts such as pitch, volume, counting, and identification of instruments and musical patterns.
-Middle grade students begin to learn about music history and more advanced concepts such as arranging, lyric writing, and the evolution of musical styles. Music is used as a vehicle to talk about other subjects such as geography, morality, math, science, etc. As we sing songs from books and music sheets, students are practicing looking up page numbers and reading lyrics. This is an opportunity to learn new vocabulary as well as sing in other languages such as Spanish and Latin.
-Older grades concentrate more on listening and discussion of music history and the origins of modern styles. They will learn about recording techniques and technology, video and concert production, and do more in depth analysis of various songs and compositions. 7th and 8th graders will attend an opera one year and a symphony concert the next year.
Students are graded on three criteria: Participation in singing, Participation in class discussion, and Behavior. They are not graded on musical ability or performance.
All students are capable of getting at least a B in music. There is no homework, there are very few tests or quizzes, and just a few in-class writing assignments.
Paul Rau is Music Director for St. Odilo Parish as well as the school’s music teacher. “I love the close knit community, and the comfortable, friendly atmosphere between Pastor, Principal, teachers and students. In my position, I get to teach students every year, and I enjoy watching them grow as students, singers, and as people from year to year.” With a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University, Mr. Rau believes that music can be a vehicle to get students into a discussion about history, geography, science, languages, spirituality, family, etc. “I am glad that we can talk about God and faith as well as morals at our school. I can't imagine teaching somewhere where God cannot be part of the discussion.” He’s glad that his students like him as a teacher and as a person, but more than anything, hopes that “they learned something from me and are a little bit better of a person because of their experience in my classroom.”
Music in our lives is like a holiday feast. At the most important parts of our lives it is always there. It is at our birthdays, it is at our worship, it is at our graduation, at our wedding, and at our funeral. What is a party without music?
Music touches everyone at some point. You don't have to have talent to love it. You don't need a great voice to sing it. You don't have to explain why it moves you. You can take a song with you in your heart forever.
This is why a young musician practices scales in solitude while other children are playing outside. This is why the singer drinks tea and goes to bed early while their friends stay out late. This is why children are taught to sing and clap and learn about great composers of centuries past.
For when the important times of our lives arrive, who will sing “America the Beautiful?” Who will sing “Happy Birthday?” Who will lead the congregation in “Joy to the World?” Who will play “La Bamba” at the wedding celebration? Who will play “Taps” at the cemetery? Who will move an audience to tears with the glorious finale of Beethoven's 9th Symphony?
So children must practice even when they don't want to. Parents must encourage their children to not give up on their lessons and must gently insist on practice when it would be easier to give in to the protests. Schools must know that music is not an extra that can be taken away when times get tough. The community must know that music is no less important than reading writing or arithmetic, and it is probably more integral to our spirit than any of them.
A song isn't born- it is created from an inspired soul. The violin doesn't play itself, someone must play it with love and emotion. Who will write the songs? Who will play the music? Who will sing their children to sleep? Will it be you?