Music and Physical Education

TEP’s curriculum deliberately does not offer students a variety of choices; all students at all grade levels take Music and Physical Education. TEP believes that middle school 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 and Physical Education for 4 years 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.

Why Music and Physical Education?

TEP’s music program – four years of classes in music literacy, performance, and history – is the other programmatic component related 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.

In most middle schools, students take PE only two times per week. At TEP, we believe that daily PE classes are critical for student health and fitness. TEP has numerous sports offerings, including a basketball team that competes in the NYC league, as well as extended-day clubs such as baseball, track, and kickball. During good weather, TEP PE classes (and extended-day sport activities) currently take place on a large track and field adjacent to TEP's incubation classrooms.
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