Primary School Performing Arts

The performing arts are a vibrant part of the Hathaway Brown Primary School. Regular instruction in music and dance occurs throughout each week as girls learn the fundamentals of these art forms through active participation. Joyful expression abounds as the performing arts are integrated with the core academic curriculum through integrated instruction. 


  • The benefits of a dance class for young children are plentiful. Dance not only develops the physical body, but also facilitates the use of the right and left hemispheres of the brain working together. Dance involves the kinesthetic, visual, auditory and tactile senses, as well as interaction between students.
  •  In dance class we study beginning modern dance using five basic movement concepts: body, space, time, effort and shape.
  • Throughout the year, we further develop movement skills (such as skipping, hopping and leaping) through these concepts and explore new movement vocabulary that the students create themselves.
  •  The students are encouraged to be creative with movement while also practicing basic skills that promote coordination, dexterity, strength and flexibility.


Music instruction in the Primary School is very different from what was typically used in past generations, where students were considered successful musicians by merely "parroting" back to the teacher. Our philosophy asks more of the students, and consequently of the teachers. The constructivist model for learning that is observed throughout the School, where students are constructing their own understanding through active manipulation of materials and concepts, is actively utilized in the music room. Students use their knowledge to create new works of art rooted in their own experience and their own artistic understandings.

  • Music instruction in the Primary School at Hathaway Brown is rooted in the Orff Schulwerk philosophy. Carl Orff was the German composer with whom the philosophy originated and "schulwerk" simply means "schoolwork" in German.
  • This philosophy integrates singing, moving, speech and playing percussion instruments and recorders. The philosophy calls for an environment founded on the belief that students can be empowered with the kinesthetic skills and cognitive understanding that enables them to create their own music and movement, rather than merely reproduce music and movement that was created by adults. The students sequentially gain skill in the Primary School music room.
  • They begin with imitation, move into exploration and improvisation and end with a composition or creation that is especially meaningful, because it is their own.
  • Principles from the Kodaly method are also used in the music room. This is particularly evident when music literacy is the focus. The music literacy curriculum in the Primary School emulates Kodaly values and utilizes Kodaly sequencing.
  • Zoltan Kodaly, a Hungarian composer, created a pedagogy that emphasizes the cultivation of singing and music literacy skills through the use of developmentally appropriate folk song literature. During the autumn season, an emphasis is placed on cultivating strong singers through the Kodaly method and developmentally appropriate choral music.

K-2 Informance, held once a year, is a special performance designed to educate our parents and other guests about our Music and Dance programs. Click here to learn more.

3rd & 4th Graders have a performance in the spring semester. 

Shaker Heights, Ohio Girls K-12 Coed Early Childhood

19600 North Park Boulevard Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122 P: 216.932.4214
powered by finalsite