Music Department

Between our “animal” physical instincts and our potentially angelic intellect lies our humanity, a metaphysical middle ground inhabited only by men and God Himself; here, God and the Devil engage in battle for human souls. Of all the arts, music focuses most acutely on this aspect of our being. The best music has within it the capacity to draw our baseness through ordered emotional response toward a transcendent understanding; the worst music can accomplish the reverse, a corruption of the intellect that, in response to emotional urgings, reduces a man to a bestial state. Beyond the accumulation of facts—many relating to the cultural foundations of Christendom—and the development of lifelong skills, education in music strengthens the humanity of students, allowing them to form more intense and meaningful attachments to ideas, and reinforcing an empathetic discipline over body and passions.

For the earliest grades—K-5—we have developed a curriculum based on the educational philosophy and methodology of Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967). Concerned with what he saw as a dangerous loss of cultural and historical identity, he undertook an exhaustive project to collect the folk songs of his native Hungary, and developed his program to teach music literacy, appreciation of traditional cultural heritage, and the capacity to appreciate musical masterworks. Students develop an organic familiarity with technical elements through application. They learn solfege, intervallic recognition, and rhythm through singing and moving to simple folk songs.

In the middle school sequence, students who have gained fundamental literacy work hands-on with lifetime instruments. The instruments not only provide a comprehensive representation of instrument families but are those that students can maintain after completing their education. In grade 6, students learn the recorder; in grade 7, students play in a chimes ensemble; in grade 8, students play the guitar, the most likely life-long instrument.

The Academy divides the four grades of the boys’ and girls’ high schools into 3 distinct choral ensembles. The 9/10 boys Schola/Choir gain a proper appreciation for Chant and sing men’s choir arrangements of choral masterworks. The 9/10 girls’ choir prepare accompanied and a capella selections from all time periods in varying ensembles. The components of the combined 11/12 four-part (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass or SATB) boys’ and girls’ choir rehearse separately and prepare choral masterworks from all time periods for on-campus performance and off-campus competitions.

The effects of music are undeniable. Common sense and empirical data support this. Our children will find it difficult to avoid exposure to popular music that is based on a spirit specifically opposed to Catholic morality, self-discipline, or self-denial. The Academy provides them with music education that encourages them to choose truth, goodness, and beauty freely.