Frequently Asked Questions: This page contains answers to common questions for students and parents.
- What kinds of activities take place in the general music class?
- What can you tell me about the Irwin School Chorus?
- Can I join Chorus if I am a member of Band or Strings?
- Can I join Chorus in the Spring?
- Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Irwin School Band or Orchestra?
- What is All-District Chorus?
- When does All-District Chorus rehearse?
- Where do the All-District Chorus rehearsals take place?
- What should I bring to the All-District Chorus rehearsal?
- When will the All-District Chorus perform?
- What should I wear for the All-District Chorus performances?
- What is the dance residency?
- Where can my child take private music instruction?
- What dates will my child/ren be working with the teaching artists?
- What is the Rutgers Children's Choir and when can my child audition?
What kinds of activities take place in the general music class?
The New Jersey Core Content Standards provide a guideline for what
students need to know and be able to do. The East Brunswick music
curriculum is aligned to these standards, and corresponding activities
to support these standards are reflected in each lesson. Lessons involve
students in singing, playing, moving,listening, creating, responding,
problem solving, participating in classroom dialogue, and developing musical
creativity through improvisation and composition. Music literacy is
reinforced daily and derived from a variety of musical genres. Students
are encouraged to make connections between music they listen to outside
of school to the music and concepts they learn in their music classes.
"Outside music," thenbecomes a regular part of our general music classroom.
Technology is also integrated in the upper grades through the use of iPad minis/
Music First Jr. through a grant I wrote and received from the East Brunswick
Education Foundation (EBEF).
Students will experience learning through whole class participation, cooperative
learning groups, partnering,and working individually; all of these strategies play
an integral role in strengthening the students' musicianship,both as individuals and
within the community of musicians/learners.
What can you tell me about the Irwin School Chorus?
Chorus is an extra-curricular singing ensemble that meets before
school on Wednesday mornings and takes place in the Irwin School
In order to participate, a parent/guardian is required to register
for all clubs through our district website. You may do this by going
to the Irwin School website or https://www.ebnet.org/.
You will see a green tool bar. Click on"Activity Registration and Pay."
Log in with your child's user name and password. If you need assistance,
call (732) 613-6674. You mayalso register in person at the Jon R. Kopko
Administration Building (located at 760 Route 18 East Brunswick, NJ 08816).
Students who receive free or reduced lunch are not required to pay the club
registration fee, however, parents are required to submit the
registration form to the Administration Building as stated above.
In addition, you and your child will need to sign and return the Irwin
School Chorus Contract from the Chorus Packet they received.
Rehearsals will begin promptly at 8:10 for attendance and vocal warmups.
Students who are safeties are dismissed at 8:50 to go to his/her
assigned post. In the event that there is a delayed opening, chorus
will be cancelled and amake-up rehearsal will be announced if needed.
There will be some occational rehearsals with Faculty Choir on Friday
mornings closer to the concert. I will give parents advanced notice
when these rehearsals will take place.
Chorus performs a Winter and Spring Concert each year (including
an assembly program for the student body and an evening concert
for families). In addition to in school performances, the
students have sung for local nursing homes, Board of Education
meetings, PTA functions, school events, and also the National
Anthem for the Somerset Patriots Baseball Team. Past choral
groups have collaborated with the American Boychoir for a Sharing
Session, and we even produced our own CD in 2004.
The chorus provides an excellent opportunity for your child to
develop his/her singing potential and reinforces concepts taught
in general music class. As your child learns the basics of
singing posture, breath control, diction, phrasing, tone color,
dynamics, and part-singing, they expand their skills and general
musicianship as well.
The choral program is child-centered. Singing for the sake of
music or performance is not the goal of this group, as it has
little lasting value for the student. Rather, the program is
envisioned to provide an experience for the children to become
active learners in the music-making process. Together with the
primary purpose stated above, the broad goals of the choral
- Helping children develop a means of aesthetic expression
- Helping children develop a varied repertoire of vocal
literature including folk songs, art songs, sacred songs, songs
of other cultures, and songs of the current genre;
- Helping children understand the importance of corporate
as well as personal experience and identity;
- Helping children experience the joy and satisfaction of
performing well for themselves and others;
- Helping children develop skills and attitudes that will
encourage them to use their singing voices as lifelong musical
Children who demonstrate leadership in general music class who
are members of the Irwin Chorus and are in good standing with
punctual attendance may be considered for the All-District
Chorus. Students who are selected do not have to pay an
additional registration fee. Please feel free to see more on ADC
in the FAQs below.
Can I join Chorus if I am a member of Band or Strings?
Yes! There are no conflicts with practices or rehearsals. All
of the ensembles perform together for our annual Winter and
Can I join Chorus in the Spring?
Yes! Students who are interested in joining the ensemble for the
Spring Concert may join us on our first rehearsal after the
Winter Concert. Students who wish to participate in the Spring
will need to pay the registration fee before they can participate.
Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Irwin School Band or Orchestra?
Caitlin Nichols (email@example.com) is our 5th Grade Band Director,
and Mr. Chris Finnegan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is our Beginner and
Intermediate Strings Director. Please check their teacher webpages or
email themwith any specific questions in regard to their progams.
What is All-District Chorus?
The All-District Elementary Chorus is an extra-curricular
ensemble that meets after school (November through February) and
provides students who participate in their home elementary
school's chorus ensembles (in good standing) an opportunity to
perform new and challenging choral repertoire with children from
our other district elementary schools as part of a larger
ensemble at no additional cost. The ADC members rehearse 1 hour
after school on Wednesdays at EBHS from 3:45 - 4:45. Each year,
the elementary ensemble performs two concerts. The first is the
annual District Chorus Festival, where all of the District Choral
groups (Elementary Schools, Hammarskjold, Churchill, and the High
School) perform for one another. This is a great experience for
the children, as it allows them the opportunity to meet new
students with whom they will be going to Hammarskjold. In
addition, it enables the children to see and experience
firsthand, what they might expect as they continue singing in
choral ensembles each year. Each year, the students look forward
to taking advantage of this unique choral opportunity. The second
performance will take place for parents, friends, and relatives
and will occur the same day as the All-District Chorus Festival.
When does All-District Chorus rehearse?
Rehearsals will take place at East Brunswick High School from 3:45-4:45 PM
in the Band Room. Please park and walk your child to the EBHS front
entrance where the High School interns will walk your child to the
Band Room. You will meet your child/carpool in the front lobby at 4:45
at the conclusion of our rehearsal. Please do not bring your child's bookbag,
instruments, or food with them to the rehearsal.
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Where do the All-District Chorus rehearsals take place?
All-District Chorus rehearsals take place in the Band Room at the High School
unless notified of a change. You will need to provide transportation
(parent/guardianor pre-arranged carpool)to take your child from their home school
to the High School for the rehearsal. Please provide a note to the Main Office
(or your child's teacher) notifying them of carpool or arrangements for pick-up
that is not their regular form of transportation. Please also notify the ASK
program the dates your child will NOT be attending ASK due to rehearsals.
If you are picking up your child at Irwin for Wednesday rehearsals, please see that
you display the All-District Chorus placard on your car windshield (or see that the
parent/carpool person who is doing the pick up has one displayed in their car window)
to ease the traffic flow in the rear parking lot area where car riders meet parents.
What should I bring to the All-District Chorus rehearsal?
Each child will receive a folder of music for each rehearsal.
Pencils for markings will be provided at rehearsal as well.
Students are encouraged to leave their backpacks, musical
instruments, food, etc. with their parents rather than bringing
them to rehearsal.
When will the All-District Chorus practice and perform?
Stay tuned for schedule of rehearsals!
The District Choral Festival/Concert will take place on Tues., February4, 2020
*Please note: There will be no rehearsals on Nov. 27 due
due to Thanksgiving Break and Dec. 25 due to Winter Break.
What should I wear for the All-District Chorus performances?
Children may wear regular school clothes for the morning festival
performance. Children should wear concert attire for the evening
What is the dance residency?
Why do we have a dance residency?
From the time your child/ren begin music classes in the first
grade, they will experience dance and movement as part of the
music curriculum. However, dance, as its stands on its own as an
arts discipline, is not offered as a class at the elementary
level. The arts department and the music teachers
strongly believe that dance is an invaluable art form, and as a
result, children should have an authentic experience with dance
before they reach middle school. Music and dance are
interconnected, and the connections students make enhance their
understanding of both subjects and allows for more ways to be
creatively expressive. We have, therefore, incorporated a
program (a unit lesson of study) for the 5th Grade students to
work with professional dance/teaching artists. In the past, we
have partnered with several professional dance companies
including the Princeton Repertory Ballet, Randy James Dance
Works, and Carolyn Dorfman Dance.
What will the children learn/experience through the dance
During the residency, students learn about modern dance
through an exploration of expression of heritage and stories
through movement and dance. The residency provides a dynamic and
integrated approach involving the viewing, making, and
understanding of dance and its elements. Students experienced
the elements of Dance, Space-Time-Dynamics, and discuss how
movement speaks on and off stage.
The students begin working with the dancers/teaching artists
during 3 of their scheduled music classes(with their homeroom).
During these four sessions, the children start participating in
movement and discussion about their bodies and get an
overview about the history/styles of dance. They also begin to
learn about movement as an expressive tool (telling stories,
representing feelings and emotions, culture, and everyday life
without words). Warm-ups are used daily, and basic steps are
spiraled into a choreographed dance. The children
learn to create parts of the dance based on their experience
during the residency to demonstrate what they've learned.
Finally, the children perform their choreographed dance for an
Following their work with the Carolyn Dorfman Teaching Artists,
the 5th Grade students will take a field trip to HMS at the JMPAC
with a special performance bythe Carolyn Dorfman Dance company and
will be followed by a question and answer session with the dancers
and Carolyn Dorfman, artistic director and choreographer.
Overall, the residency is geared toward the following goals:
To broaden the students' knowledge and appreciation of Dance
To develop physical skills
To develop cognitive and perceptual skills
To foster growth and emotional skills
How can I help?
The teaching artists are very skilled and knowledgeable and have
been extremely professional in the past. Please encourage your
children to show you what they've learned and remind them to stay
positive and do their best, as it will only make their experience
more valuable and memorable. The children will be assessed on
the quality of their participation and progress throughout the
residency as part of their music class grade for that marking
period. I encourage your children to check out the following
websites related to their studies on dance:
Carolyn Dorfman Dance
The American Repertory Ballet of Princeton, NJ
New York City Ballet
The American Ballet Theatre
The San Francisco Ballet of California
Information on ballet terms, positions, history, and pictures.
The New Jersey Ballet
Look for the beautiful gallery of ballet photos.
Randy James Dance Works
Find out about this modern dance group in New Jersey.
All about music, theater, and dance. Click on Dance to find out
about the history, vocabulary, and different styles of dance.
What role does the music teacher have in the dance residency?
My role is mainly that of a facilitator. I assist the teaching
artists and participate in all of the activities with the
students. I can assure you that I have learned a lot from
participating in this residency, and it is a
wonderful asset to the music program in East Brunswick.
Please have your children wear comfortable clothes
on the days they meet with the teaching artists. Girls should
refrain from wearing dresses or skirts or to music classes on
residency days to ensure their comfort and safety.
Students will be required to remove their shoes and socks during
their class time with the CDD Teaching Artists, as it is authentic
to the genre of modern dance and ensures the safety of students
Where can my child take private music instruction?
East Brunswick Academy of Music
159 Main St
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Westminster Conservatory of Music
101 Walnut Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
Westminster Princeton Academy
Westminster South Brunswick Campus
What dates will my child/ren be working with the teaching artists?
Please see Dance Residency Info on my website.
What is the Rutgers Children's Choir and when can my child audition?
Stay tuned for more information!