Music-making at Portsmouth Christian Academy
PCA actively cultivates the skills necessary for excellent musicianship. Every student at PCA can develop the skills necessary to create music through classroom instruction, individual lessons, and participation in various ensembles. Musicians improve and progress as they move through the PCA program. Musical skills are enhanced and developed in every class culminating in our Christmas and spring concerts.
Preschool and Primary
Making music is part of what makes us human. We sing lullabies to our kids, Happy Birthday to friends, and worship songs in church. To do so with confidence starts with a solid musical foundation. The focus of music in our preschool and primary classes begins with being tuneful, beatful, and artful – learning to sing in tune, with a steady beat, and in a musically expressive way. Folk songs and dances are fun ways students learn these skills. As students grow older, music literacy – the ability to read musical notation – is added to the curriculum.
In third grade, all students learn to play violin at a basic level. This is in addition to singing, movement activities, and basic music literacy. Fourth grade is a banner year in music when students choose to be in one of three ensembles: choir, band, or orchestra. Students continue in these ensembles in subsequent years.
Most middle school students take their musical learning to the next level in one of our three ensembles: chorus, band or orchestra. A fourth option also opens up during middle school – music exploration. This is a course that rotates in content from year to year: ukulele, world music, and music technology & composition. Jazz band becomes an option at the middle school level, where they explore music in jazz, rock and pop styles and are taught how to improvise on their instruments. Advanced students from all our ensembles participate in the New Hampshire Seacoast Middle School Music Festival each spring.
Our Upper School currently offers three ensembles. Voices, our high school chorus, regularly receives top ratings at festivals and much gratitude from community members who benefit from their performances outside PCA. Our instrumental program brings together orchestral and band instruments to form our Symphony. Every other year, Symphony members create musical underscoring for a community showing of a silent movie. Our jazz program offers an Upper School Jazz Band. These students grow in their understanding and ability to play jazz music and often serve as ambassadors for the school at various events. Advanced musicians have been selected for All-State ensembles and participate in other state-wide music festivals.
Middle School and Upper School musicians who join the chapel music team lead their peers musically in worship weekly. This is one of the many ways that PCA helps to foster students’ leadership and spiritual growth. Students are given time to develop their skills in reading and playing worship charts. They also form a small group where they dive into questions and conversations about their faith and how to look at their role as leaders among their peers.
Private Music Lessons
Our Kaleidoscope program offers music lessons for students at all levels. Lessons include voice, piano, guitar, ukulele, and various band and orchestral instruments. Lessons are conveniently given at school as children are available before/after school or during a free period. Students who regularly study privately are often the ones who excel to high levels which open up further opportunities to receive lead roles, acceptance into All-State programs, and more.