Music is a universal language and one which everybody has a relationship to. It is social art and the emphasis on learning music in the Waldorf curriculum equips children not only with the technical skills needed to make music with others, but also with many valuable life skills, such as: the ability to listen inwardly and to each other; the capacity for empathy and the possibility for self expression. Through music there is a constant schooling of discipline, imagination and nurturing of the soul.

Method and content

In the early years Music is not taught formally as a separate subject, but instead is incorporated in oral learning through imitation into the children’s daily and yearly rhythms of festivals, plays, dances and walks. They live in the realm of the pentatone in music as appropriate for their stage of development.

During the course of the Lower and Middle School, children emerge from the natural but unconscious musicians that they are, and begin to formally work with the language and theory of music in written form, from rounds, through two part harmonies culminating in four-parts by class 8. Just as the Geography curriculum takes the children gradually further out into the world through the course of the Lower and Middle school, so does the breadth of musical style and influence, reaching the cultures of Africa and the Americas by Class 8.

In the Upper School the theoretical language of music is now used as a useful tool which underpins the journey through Western music history, from the baroque to the present day. Their knowledge enables them to identify features and forms, respond to the variety of moods, listen with real focus, compose examples in certain styles and later analyse and criticise the works themselves, all the while expanding their recognition and understanding of different styles and composers with the social-economic influences on their lives and work. They continue to broaden their singing repertoire in class and in choir, culminating in ‘a cappella’ singing in four parts in Class 12.

Throughout their schooling there are sharing and later performing opportunities to bring their musical work to fruition.