On any given day, walking through the halls of Mission Basilica School, you might observe students gaining competence in musical concepts and skills as they prepare for various religious services and educational presentations. You may hear first graders retelling the life stories of Haydn, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, the flutelike sounds of the recorder coming from the fourth grade classroom, or the developing voices of our Eighth grade cantors as they prepare for Mass!
Our music program at Mission Basilica School is twofold. We instill the love of music in every child mainly via their own instrument – their voice. We teach the children liturgical music, so they can fully participate in Mass while developing their voice and appreciation of the liturgy. With singing as an aid, the children fully experience the basic elements of music to become musically literate.
Throughout the year, there are several performances and special Masses for which we prepare our students, including our United Nations Day performance, the Christmas Program, St. Joseph’s Day Mass and May Crowning. Each class celebrates special retreat days. Worship through singing strengthens their personal spirit-filled experience on those days.
When there is no performance or Mass to prepare for, we continue to develop the children’s musical path toward complete music literacy in accordance with the California State Standards for Music: the ability to read and understand music, as well as thorough ear-training in singing and instrumental experience via use of recorders, body movement and hand motions. New to our MBS music program is the incorporation of a music history and appreciation curriculum. First through fifth graders learn about the masters of classical music, their lives, their contributions to music, and are able to identify works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Rossini, and more. Sixth through eighth graders engage in in-depth studies of each of the style periods of western art music: ancient, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern.
For middle school students who have extra interest in singing, we also have a Mission Basilica School Choir and an annual Spring Musical, produced by Mission Basilica School Youth Theatre in collaboration with Creative Kids Playhouse. This year, we will have two separate Spring Musicals, one for grades 1-5 and one for grades 6-8.