Lower School Music Program

The Kindergarten through Fourth Grade Lower School Music Program at Fort Worth Country Day seeks to cultivate within your child a love for music and to develop musical literacy. Students engage in developmentally appropriate musical learning activities incorporating singing, movement, listening, games, Orff and rhythm instruments, folk dancing and World Music Drumming. The program is based on the First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege curriculum, created by Dr. John Feierabend, a national leader in music education. He is a Professor Emeritus of Music Education at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford and is a past President of the Organization of American Kodály Educators.  

In First Steps in Music, musicality is fostered in each child by encouraging them to be Tuneful, Beatful, and Artful. A Tuneful person can coordinate their voices to sing tunes they have learned. A Beatful person can feel the pulse of music and how that pulse is grouped in either 2s or 3s. An Artful person can be moved by music in the many ways music can elicit an emotional response. Once a strong foundation of musicality is in place and readiness for music literacy has been assessed, students move on to Conversational Solfege. True music literacy develops the ability to hear what is seen and see what is heard. Conversational Solfege incorporates the sequential development of skills through a 12 stage process using a rich literature of music. The Kindergarten through Fourth Grade music curriculum provides a substantive foundation for both vocal and instrumental music education as the students progress through middle school and into upper school.

Kindergarten students perform three times during the school year. In November, they perform “The Plight of the Turkey” for Grandparent's Day. In January, the Kindergarten students present a rendition of the Rodeo, including 4 cowboy songs. Finally, at the end of the school year, the kindergarten classes present a Splash Day Program where they sing five songs complete with choreography and costumes.

Each grade level in the Lower School presents a class program and music is connected to this as well. At the end of the year, students in grades 1-4 present a musical program in the theater. In addition, 3rd and 4th graders can join the Falcon Flyers Lower School Choir where they perform several times throughout the year.

Supporting CAST

Thanks to a Supporting CAST grant, Lower School Music Teachers Karla Dunning and Julie Dean brought in Mark Burrows, local composer and Director of Children’s Ministries at First United Methodist Church (FUMC), to meet with fourth-graders to discuss elements of the composition process and brainstorm about new music for their spring program. Watch the video for a behind-the-scenes look at how the new songs came together. 

Supporting CAST—Creative Arts Students and Teachers—helps to fund one-of-a-kind visual and performing arts activities with visiting artists that support Fort Worth Country Day’s fine arts curriculum in unique and powerful ways. To make a gift online or learn more about Supporting CAST, visit fwcd.org/cast.

Lower School Music Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Julie Dean

    Julie Dean 

    Lower School Music Teacher
    817.302.3200 ext. 3334
    Texas Christian University - Master of Music
    Texas Christian University - Bachelor of Music
  • Photo of Karla Dunning

    Karla Dunning 

    Lower School Music Teacher
    817-732-7718 ext. 3332
    University of North Texas - Bachelor of Music
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.