Manhattan Country School’s music curriculum supports children’s natural love of music. In the 4-5s through 7-8s, class time is given equally to singing and movement. Children progress from unison singing to rounds and four-part harmony. The use of rhythm instruments develops skills in improvisation and accompaniment. The 8-9s through eighth grade have choral singing and are conducted by a choral director with the assistance of a professional accompanist. The 8-9s and 9-10s take recorder as well, and an additional music class is a required elective for seventh- and eighth-graders.
Choral singing is integral to assemblies celebrating Thanksgiving, the festivals of light (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings’ Day, and the Solstice), the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the end of the school year. The selections represent a variety of cultures and musical styles. Folk, classical, jazz and contemporary songs are programmed alongside freedom songs that embody the school’s history and spirit.