TEP is deeply committed to music instruction, evident in the fact that TEP students learn music every day, beginning in kindergarten! TEP treats music as a full-fledged subject (such as English or Math), and NOT as an add-on elective meant to supplement other subjects.
Beginning in Kindergarten, 45 minutes of every day are devoted to music instruction! This includes singing instruction, basic instrumental instruction, rhythm and musical notation, and music history.
Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades currently specialize in one of the following tracks: chorus, band, or piano. Students in each track spend their daily music period engaging in formal voice or instrumental instruction and practicing in their ensemble. Students learn to become skilled and literate musicians - building knowledge in music theory and basic music history. TEP's music program emphasizes performance through regular ensemble concerts for the TEP community.
TEP’s curriculum deliberately does not offer students a variety of choices as all students at all grade levels take Music. TEP believes that elementary and middle schools students are, in large measure, learning how to learn and that students most effectively develop their capacity as successful learners when exposed to depth within a discipline.
Learning music every day enables students to go beyond a cursory survey of the subject matter (as would be the case if students chose two different “electives” each year) and to become masters of advanced content. Moreover, this curricular emphasis on depth over breadth helps students become self-disciplined learners since developing advanced skills and content knowledge requires a high-level of persistence and endurance as well as a particular attentiveness to detail.
TEP’s emphasis on music is also connected to the school’s emphasis on language development. Numerous research studies have documented the powerful link between the study of music and linguistic development in young children and adolescents. In 2006, the mean scores on all 3 sections of the SAT Reasoning Test (Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing) of students who studied music were between 41 and 61 points higher than students who did not have any art instruction, with the most significant differences in the reading and writing scores. With the exception of those studying acting, students who studied music also scored higher than students taking any other type of arts course.
What about Visual Arts, Dance, Theater, and Other Arts?
Though these disciplines are not formal graded subjects at TEP, students are exposed to visual arts, dance, and theater in their subject area classes (including ELA and Social Studies) and through TEP's Special Groups and Clubs. TEP also supports students' in developing art portfolios and performance repertoire in order to apply to selective arts-focused high schools.