In the Waldorf School of Garden City, the class play is a yearly event that the class looks forward to with great anticipation. Costumes are simple and archetypal, allowing for the children’s personal expressions to shine through. This intense social exercise allows the students to develop additional skills and capacities not stressed in academic learning such as teamwork, physical self-expression, speech formation, and timing.
In their first year of music instruction, the students are taught to enjoy and treasure musical sounds. Circle games and seasonal songs prepare the children in a playful way for rules and routines that will be necessary for musical ensemble work in the coming years. Much time and effort are spent on cultivating patience and good listening habits, qualities that are essential for studying an instrument.
Songs are mostly taught with simultaneous movements, either indicating pitch or phrasing. The children get to know many verses and rhymes accompanied by gestures or body percussion, as well as games and dances. All movement activities aim to exercise the students’ dexterity and rhythmical ability. Students work with brass tone bars, and master playing the entire range of the pentatonic recorder in a soft, beautiful tone.