I Wonder as I Wander (4th, 5th, and 6th-grade Audition)

CLICK HERE for the LINK to the Dropbox Recording


I wonder as I wander out under the sky

How Jesus my Saviour did come forth to die

For poor on’ry people like you and like I

I wonder as I wander out under the sky



Since the fall of 1997, St. Peters has enjoyed a music education partnership with the Music Education department at the University of South Carolina School of Music. Our partnership provides high-quality music education with all the resources of the University. Dr. Wendy Valerio, with the aid of two graduate assistants, educates our children with the goal to create lifelong musicians.


St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary students and faculty make music to honor God with our bodies, minds, voices, and spirits.


Our faculty structures all curriculum on Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (Gordon, 2013; Taggart, Bolton, Reynolds, Valerio, Gordon, 2010, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000; Valerio, Reynolds, Taggart, Bolton, Gordon, 1998). Following are examples of our principles.

1. Each child is born with music aptitude, the potential to learn music.

2. Each child deserves sequential music guidance/education as a birthright.

3. Music is best and most naturally learned if it is approached as a language.

4. Music learning begins at birth, if not before; the typically developing ear is

fully developed at five months in utero.

5. The four vocabularies of music (a) listening, (b) speaking/performing, (c)

reading, and (d) writing are hierarchical and cyclical and .

6. The four vocabularies of music are parallel to the four vocabularies of

language; however, the contents of those vocabularies are different.

7. Music vocabularies comprise tonal patterns and rhythm patterns; language

vocabularies comprise words.

8. Music thinking (audiation) is parallel to language thinking.

9. Just as children learn language by ear before they learn to read and write

language, children should learn music by ear before they learn to read and

write language.

10. Children should be sequentially guided through the three types and seven

stages of preparatory audiation to begin becoming independent musicians.

11. Through discrimination learning and inference learning children may be

guided sequentially to music independence.

12. Music performance is the result of music informance.

Music Education Faculty

Dr. Wendy Valerio – G3

Professor of Music Education

Director, UofSC School of Music Student Teaching

Director, UofSC Children’s Music Development Center

Music Education Supervisor, St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary School

Ms. Vanessa Caswell – K4, K5, G4, G5, G6

BME ‘15 – Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Gordon Institute for Music Learning-Early Childhood Level I-Mastership Certification

Gordon Institute for Music Learning-Early Childhood Level II-Mastership Certification

Gordon Institute for Music Learning-Elementary Level I-Mastership Certification

MME – in progress – University of South Carolina

Ms. Alli Johnson – G1, G2, G3

BME ‘19 – University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Gordon Institute for Music Learning-Elementary Level I-Mastership Certification

MME – in progress – University of South Carolina

Current Major Projects

As A School

Every December, St. Peter’s performs a Christmas concert that includes singing, dancing, and playing instruments. In the spring, we feature a program, which varies each year. All students perform in each program.

May 2018

All Grades

We are so excited for our Spring Concert month! The theme of our concert is “Our Place in the World” and your students have been working since March to put on this program for you all. It will be held at the Copenhaver Band Hall at USC (just like last year). We will be performing a selection of songs and folk dances. We might even have you join in on the fun! We are also very excited to have been invited to the Midland’s Catholic Schools Concert at Cardinal Newman. We have nine very talented students who will be spending the afternoon at Cardinal Newman for this special event.

May will be a busy month but we are looking forward to sharing music with you all! Here are some dates for you to remember:

Midland’s Catholic Schools Concert at 6:00 PM on May 14, 2018, at Cardinal Newman HS

St. Peter’s Spring Concert at 7:00 PM on May 17, 2018, at Copenhaver Band Hall located on USC Campus.

We look forward to seeing you at the concert!

April 2018

K4, K5, 5th and 6th Grade

Hello Saint Peter’s families. I hope you had a relaxing Spring Break and a very Happy Easter. The next few months will be very busy for Saint Peters’ music students and I’m looking forward to preparing for the concert. Our Spring Concert will be held on May 17th so mark your calendars now! All grades will be preparing Folk Dances similarly to last year and we are also preparing a few vocal selections to present as well.

K4 and K5 will be working to prepare two folk dances, both of which are circle dances. We are also working on two songs to perform for our friends and families at the concert in May.

The 5th and 6th grade will be working to prepare three folk dances: two circle dances and a square dance. We are building on previous knowledge regarding folk dance vocabulary to help our learning process. The 5th and 6th grades have also been working to prepare four vocal selections for our Spring Concert.

It’s a month of music and movement. We can’t wait to share it with you all!

March 2018

K4, K5, 5th and 6th Grade

In K4 and K5, we have continued learning how to move around the room using types of movements (high, middle, and low space, curvy and straight pathways, and open and closed shapes). We have improvised melodies to a chord progression with the ukulele and many of us shared our created songs. This is a continuation of our creativity in music. During the month of March, we will also be preparing a few songs and folk dances to share with our families and friends during the spring concert.

In 5th and 6th grade, we performed the story of The Grasshoppers and the Ants to the classroom teachers and to Ms. Arrasmith. The students sang, chanted, and played barred instruments. In the month of March, students will be preparing material for the upcoming spring concert. We are going to learn 3 different folk dances, two circle dances, and a square dance. We also will learn a piece on the barred instruments. Finally, we are working on four pieces to share during our spring concert. The theme for our concert focuses on our place in the world and we can’t wait to share it with you!

February 2018

K4, K5, 5th and 6th Grade

In K4 and K5, we have discovered new ways of moving through space. We have learned high, middle, and low space, curvy and straight pathways, and open and closed shapes. We have explored these movement qualities by moving around the room while singing and chanting in various tonalities and meters. We are continuing to work on determining same and different tonal patterns and individuals have created different patterns. When we are different than each other in music, we are exploring creativity in music! How exciting that we can appreciate what each person has to offer through creativity in music.

In 5th and 6th grade, we have learned a song in a round called “Grasshoppers Three”. We have also learned a chant about working all summer long and have learned a song to sing while using barred instruments such as glockenspiels and xylophones. In the month of February, the 5th and 6th grade will be putting these new songs together to act out the fable of The Grasshoppers and the Ants in class. This fable focuses on the importance of preparing today for tomorrow’s needs. The story will be narrated while the students bring the tale to life with singing, chanting, movement, and drama.

January 2018

Music (All Grades)

Thank you to all of the parents, friends, and family members that came to our Christmas Program on December, 14th, “Gifts of the Spirit”. We are so pleased with the students and are so proud of their hard work. The program contained music that was quite challenging and they accomplished so many musical and personal goals in preparation for the program. We are excited to discover what 2018 has in store for St. Peter’s Music Program.

K4, K5, 5th and 6th Grade

Music classes will resume the week of January 16. K4 and K5 will begin the new year by exploring music creativity and music literacy in a variety of tonalities and meters. They will be creating their own rhythm and tonal patterns and sharing them with each other. They will also be establishing literacy skills by reading rhythm and tonal patterns. We are looking to begin notation in K5 in the next few months!

The 5th and 6th graders will continue improving their music literacy, creativity, and improvisations skills by working together, sharing ideas and learning from each other through music games and activities. We will also be learning some new folk dances and strengthening our movement skills and movement vocabularies.

December 2017

Music (All Grades)

We are looking forward to presenting our Christmas program to our friends and families on December 14th, 2017. The program will include a variety of Christmas tunes and chants: traditional and multicultural. The students have been working all semester to develop skills required for this performance. We will be demonstrating our drumming skills, movement skills, and of course our singing and chanting skills. Some songs you will hear include favorites such as Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, and O Come Little Children.

The program starts at 7:00 PM at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Students will be dropped off in Neglia Hall at 6:30 PM. Students must wear their Mass Day uniform for this performance. We are looking forward to the December 14 performance!

November 2017


Music Grades K4, K5, 5, 6

Wow! It is so hard to believe that it’s already November. The new month means the start of preparation for our Christmas program. Ms. Arrasmith and I are excited to start working toward new performance goals in music class. In K4 and K5, we will be learning some new songs specific for our Christmas program in December. We will continue to practice our movement qualities such as space, weight, and shape. In both K4 and K5, we have experienced same and different in a variety of meters and tonalities. Students have started leading activities on their own by acting as the classroom leaders. We are developing our music independence and literacy skills by offering patterns, having them written on the board, and singing/chanting them together as a class.

In 5th and 6th grade, students have experienced a large variety of meters and tonalities. We’ve sung in many tonalities and have labeled their resting tones (Mixolydian tonality has Sol as the resting tone; Phrygian tonality has Mi as the resting tone). We’ve continued playing the drums and working on our executive skills as we learn to handle the drums correctly and with respect. We’ve played some fun music games like “Trick-or-Treat” and “Jikeleza”. We’ve improvised rhythmically and tonally by being different than each other. We will continue to practice our music skills, such as improvisation while working toward other skills. Some composition will be in our future! For the Christmas program, the 5th and 6th graders have some exciting and interesting material to prepare for you all and we cannot wait to share it in December!

October 2017

Music Grades K4, K5, 5, 6

In K4 and K5 students have had a great first month of music class exploring various tonalities, meters, and movements. The students have learned the difference between singing voices and speaking voices. Students have offered their own rhythm patterns, shared them with the class, and had their pattern written on the board with music notation. The students have also become confident users of seaweed spine, a type of movement necessary for optimal music making. We are looking forward to the month of October for many fun, Autumn themed music activities.

In 5th and 6th grade, students have sand, chanted, and moves to various tonalities and meters. They have explored how their bodies move in space by “blobbing”, making high-middle-low statues, and making open and closed shapes. We have put those movement and space qualities to work as the students have created movements to phrases of a song. The students have practiced using their chanting voices to read rhythm patterns and create their own. They have also used their singing voices to sing tonal patterns and create their own as well! The students have been exploring West African drumming which has been educational and quite fun! With the drums, we’ve talked about respect: respect for each other, for the instruments, and for ourselves. From this conversation, the students created a “Respect Mural” where they all wrote down their own idea of respect.

I’m looking to another busy, wonderful month of music making at St. Peter’s. Happy Autumn, everyone! 


Music Grades 1-4


First through fourth grade students are experiencing how various body parts move through space and time. They are isolating body parts, such as their hands, backs, legs, shoulders, etc, to experience how their bodies move in a variety of ways. They are also coordinating their movements with their breathing in order to increase their awareness of how breathing affects their musicianship.


First through fourth grade students are singing and chanting a variety of patterns to increase their aural music vocabulary. They are also learning how to identify the resting tone in major and minor tonalities, as well as tonic and dominant chord functions. One of our new favorite games is singing and chanting patterns while tossing a squishy ball to each other. Students need to focus on the leader to determine when the entire class should echo a pattern and when an individual should echo a pattern. This helps them coordinate our breathing and increase their ability to audiate patterns. Ask your child what “audiate” means. As the year progresses, they will use these patterns and skills to improvise and write down their own patterns.

First and Second Grade Project

First and second grade students are learning a chant that they accompany with body percussion. Soon, they will transfer the body percussion onto classroom percussion instruments. Ask your child about this chant, and see if they can remember the four secret words that have body percussion.

I have a loose tooth,

A wiggly jiggly loose tooth,

I have a loose tooth,

A-hangin’ from a thread.

Now I’ve lost my loose tooth,

My wiggly jiggly loose tooth,

And now I’ve got a dollar

And a hole in my head!

Third and Fourth Grade Project

Third and fourth grade students have started a drumming unit. They have learned how to create low and high tones on upright drums. They can echo steady beat sequences and rhythm patterns on body percussion and on drums. Last week, they improvised their own rhythm patterns using the “Say & Do, Whisper & Do, Think & Do” sequence. Next week, students will begin to learn their first drum ensemble piece.