Frequently Asked Questions: This page contains answers to common questions for students and parents.
    1. What kinds of activities take place in the general music class?
    2. What can you tell me about the Irwin School Chorus?
    3. Can I join Chorus if I am a member of Band or Strings?
    4. Can I join Chorus in the Spring?
    5. Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Irwin School Band or Orchestra?
    6. What is All-District Chorus?
    7. When does All-District Chorus rehearse?
    8. Where do the All-District Chorus rehearsals take place?
    9. What should I bring to the All-District Chorus rehearsal?
    10. When will the All-District Chorus perform?
    11. What should I wear for the All-District Chorus performances?
    12. What is the dance residency?
    13. Where can my child take private music instruction?
    14. What dates will my child/ren be working with the teaching artists?
    15. 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.
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    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
    Music Room.

    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
    program include:

    - Helping children develop a means of aesthetic expression
    and appreciation;
    - 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.
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    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
    Spring Concerts.
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    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.
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    Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Irwin School Band or Orchestra?

    Caitlin Nichols (cnichols@ebnet.org) is our 5th Grade Band Director,
    and Mr. Chris Finnegan (cfinnegan@ebnet.org) is our Beginner and
    Intermediate Strings Director. Please check their teacher webpages or
    email themwith any specific questions in regard to their progams.
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    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.
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    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.

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    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.
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    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.

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    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
    concert (TBA).
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    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
    outside audience.

    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.

    Important reminders!

    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
    in class.
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    Where can my child take private music instruction?

    East Brunswick Academy of Music
    159 Main St
    East Brunswick, NJ 08816
    (732) 238-8871

    Westminster Conservatory of Music
    101 Walnut Lane
    Princeton, NJ 08540
    (609) 921-7104

    Westminster Princeton Academy
    (609) 921-7893

    Westminster South Brunswick Campus
    (732) 329-8911
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    What dates will my child/ren be working with the teaching artists?

    Please see Dance Residency Info on my website.
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    What is the Rutgers Children's Choir and when can my child audition?

    Stay tuned for more information!