Dr. Hopkins' Music Class

E-Mail: chopkins5629(at)spsbayshore[dot]org


The Curriculum
Calendar of Music Events
About the Music Instructor
Respect Life Contest
History of St. Patrick Musicals
Songs from Last Year
Classroom Instruments
Music Apps and Programs
Items to Purchase
Last Year in Review

The Curriculum

St. Patrick School is proud to announce that it has prepared a revamped music curriculum that complements principles and lessons at each grade level and addresses the main components of the NAfME Core Music Standards of creating, performing, responding, and connecting.

Pre-K and Kindergarten:

The music curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten classes promotes creativity and exploration through song and movement.  Students learn how to perform as a group and in small groups.  They have opportunities to try out and pay various classroom instruments.  The song selections include nursery rhyme songs, action songs, finger plays, religious songs, and learning songs.  As a complement to song and movement, students learn beginner sign language and sing in multiple languages.  Students perform on the St. Patrick School stage for the Christmas pageant and the graduation ceremony.  

1st and 2nd Grade:

The music curriculum for 1st and 2nd grade classes introduces students to reading and interpreting rhythms.  Students sing and coordinate with rhythm sticks and egg shakers.  They will learn about various styles of music from around the world as they prepare a class play based on world cultures.  2nd Grade students prepare a special song for the celebration of 1st Holy Communion.  

3rd and 4th Grade:

The music curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade classes introduces students to reading and interpreting notes and pitches.  Students learn, memorize, and practice reading notes on a staff and accurately playing the written music in real time.  Students in 3rd Grade receive a recorder from the school which they keep.  Students in 3rd and 4th Grade participate in their own Christmas pageant and recorder concert.  New for this year is the Recorder Karate reward system in which students prepare songs to perform for the class to receive colored belts to hang on their recorder as a sign of achievement.  

5th and 6th Grade:

The music curriculum for 5th and 6th grade classes advances on reading and interpreting music.  Students use their music reading skills to play the Boomwhackers, a collection of plastic tubes of varying lengths and pitches.  These classes prepare and perform a class play with songs based on the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

7th and 8th Grade:

The music curriculum for 7th and 8th grade classes introduces students to composing music and lyrics.  Students construct major scales and identify key signatures, which they will use in composing their first songs.  They learn about the history of church music from its importance in promoting the Western system of written music to Contemporary Christian music popularized on the radio. 8th Grade students are eligible to submit original songs to the Diocese's annual Respect for Life contest, which awards a cash prize to music submission based on the year's theme.  

Calendar of Music Events 2017-8

Dates from School Calendar as of 6/30/17

9/8 - School Mass at 9:15am
10/6 - School Mass at 9:15am
11/1 - 8th Grade Confirmation 10am

11/22 - school mass at 9:15am Thanksgiving
12/12 - 3rd and 4th Grade nativity pageants 7pm Gym
12/12 - choir and band concert 7pm Gym
12/22 - school mass at 9:15am Christmas
12/19 - Nursery and Pre-K Christmas pageant at 8:45am
12/19 - Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade Christmas pageant at 10:30am
12/24 - Christmas Eve mass at 3pm in the Gym
1/5 - school mass at 9:15am Christmas
1/30 - 8th Grade Pin Ceremony 7pm Church
2/2 - school mass at 9:15am
3/26 - school mass 9:15am Lent
4/21 - First Holy Communion 2nd Grade 11:30am and 1pm
5/4 - school mass 9:15am May Crowning
5/22 - choir and and band concert 7pm Gym
6/13 - 9am Pre-K Graduation
6/13 - 12:30pm Kindergarten Graduation
6/15 - 9am 8th grade graduation mass
6/15 - 7pm 8th grade graduation ceremony
6/18 - school mass 9:15am End of Year
TBD: school musical performances, class plays, Talent Show, Pre-K Prayer services, Kindergarten Thanksgiving prayer service

About the Music Instructor

Dr. Christopher Hopkins is excited to begin his second year teaching music at St. Patrick School.  He is the general music instructor for grades Pre-K to 8th Grade, the choir director, and the school musical director.  He is familiar to St. Patrick School as the church organist for the school masses since 2009 and the church organist at St. Patrick Church since the late 1990's.  He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Five Towns College in Music History and Literature, with a dissertation on how composers wrote music for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the late 80s and early 90s.  He shared his work as a guest speaker at the 2015 North American Conference on Video Game Music.  He has six years of college teaching experience in music and video game design at LIU Post, Five Towns College, Suffolk County Community College, Farmingdale State College, and St. Joseph's College.  He composed the music, wrote the script, directed, and performed in the pit orchestra of his original musical at LIU Post.  Dr. Hopkins offers free spring concerts at St. Patrick Church with members of the Youth Music Ministry.  In his spare time, Dr. Hopkins is a freelance video game programmer and music composer and gives private lessons on piano and voice in his private studio.  Dr. Hopkins can be contacted via e-mail at chopkins5629(at)spsbayshore[dot]org.


The NYSSMA solo music festival is an event offered each spring to music students all over New York State to perform a piece on an instrument and/or sing a song in front of a music educator for an adjudication.  Students select an appropriate piece to perform based on the Levels 1 to 6 as dictated in the official NYSSMA manual available to private music teachers.  Last year, eight students registered through St. Patrick School on the piano, voice, flute, and violin at levels 1 to 4.  Registration forms are available to students in March and the two-day festival is in April or May.

Respect Life Contest

Each year, the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockville Centre hosts a contest based on a theme.  Students from grades 7 to 12 prepare original submissions in categories including music, photography, poetry, and mural.  Last year, students from St. Patrick School placed 2nd and Honorable Mention in the Music Category.


Students in grades 6 to 8 may audition for the annual spring musical at St. Patrick School.  The school musical is a musical and theatrical after-school program offered free of charge to accepted students.  The performances take place on the St. Patrick School stage.  Students in the Art Club design and prepare scenic backdrops and props.  Students who are not part of the cast may participate on the stage crew, responsible for props and backdrop placement, stage lighting, the stage curtain, and the microphones and audio system.  The musical typically takes place before Holy Week and Easter.  Students rehearse and memorize the dialogue, musical numbers, and choreography over about three months.  Rehearsals last year were three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2:30 to 4 and from 2:30 to 5 during the last few rehearsals.  There is a serious time commitment to those who accept roles as the cast or crew.  The choice of musical is based on the musical skills of eligible students and the number of boys who have theatrical experience.  Parents may assist rehearsals and performances if they have completed the one-day Virtus training course as mandated by the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  

History of St. Patrick School Musicals 2006-2017

2006 - Once on This Island Jr.
2007 - Guys and Dolls Jr.
2009 - Beauty and the Beast Jr.
2010 - Godspell Jr.
2011 - Seussical Jr.
2012 - Annie Jr.
2013 - Willy Wonka Jr.
2014 - The Music Man Jr.
2015 - Schoolhouse Rock Jr.
2016 - Aladdin Jr.
2017 - Beauty and the Beast Jr.


The School Choir is a after-school club with rehearsals on Mondays from 3 to 4pm in the Music Room.  The Choir consists of anywhere from 10 to 20 singers and offers singers a venue to improve vocal abilities and get valuable performance experience.  The School Choir is the most active and visible group at St. Patrick School, participating in song at all monthly school masses, a winter and spring concert, the annual Field of Honor Ceremony, the 8th Grade graduation mass, and other community events throughout the year.  Students in grades 2 to 8 may sign up; no prior singing experience is required.  Students learn how to read music, breathe properly, sing in a group, listen, create harmonies, sightsing, and other vocal skills.  There are opportunities for singers to audition for solos for the winter and spring concerts.  Select students participate in the Pre-K and Kindergarten pageants in a musical introduction.  Other solo and duet opportunities are available during monthly school masses, in which singers introduce the hymns by the microphone and lead the school in the hymns and responsorial psalm.  Unlike the other clubs offered at St. Patrick School, the choir has two half-year sessions.  It is advisable to sign up for both sessions.


Students at St. Patrick School learn a lot of songs!  

Students in Pre-K and Kindergarten learn nursery rhyme songs.  Some of these include "The Wheels on the Bus", "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes", "This is the Way", "Frère Jacques", Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Row Row Row Your Boat", and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."  They also learn religious and Bible songs, some being "When the Saints Go Marching In", "This Little Light of Mine", "Down in My Heart", "He's Got the Whole World" and "Michael Row the Boat Ashore."

Students in Kindergarten learn piggyback songs that teach about spelling and colors.  Piggyback songs use familiar tunes from children's songs with new lyrics.  Some of these songs come from Frog Street Press.

Students in 8th Grade learn songs that reflect social justice, including "Lead Me Lord" and "We Are Called."

Songs from Last Year

At last year's 2nd grade 1st Holy Communion masses, students prepared and sang "Great is the Lord" by Michael W. Smith.

At last year's 3rd and 4th grade Christmas pageant, students prepared and sang the Venezuelan Christmas song "The Journey (Din Din Din)", "O Come All Ye Faithful" in Engilsh and Latin, "Silent Night", "We Three Kings of Orient Are", "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing", and "Away in a Manger."  

Throughout last year's school masses, students prepared and sang such hymns as "Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea)", "Holy God We Praise Thy Name (Grosser Gott)", "Prayer of St. Francis", "Here I Am Lord", "Gift of Finest Wheat", "One Bread One Body", "Bring Flowers of the Rarest", "Immaculate Mary", and "Hail Holy Queen."

At last year's Pre-K Graduation Ceremony, students prepared and sang "God Bless the USA", "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" by Rick Founds, "Who is the King of the Jungle", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King, "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins, and "Home" by Phillip Phillips.

At last year's Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony, students prepared and sang "God Bless America", "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins, "Sunshine Day", "ABC Rock", and "B-L-U-E Spells Blue."

At last year's Field of Honor Ceremony, the St. Patrick School choir prepared and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."

Classroom Instruments

Students in Pre-K to 4th Grade explore sound and music creation through an assortment of classroom instruments.  Students in 4th Grade learn about the science of sound outside of music class.  During music class, 4th Grade students learn how to classify instruments by the method of sound production, whether by string, blowing air, electronic, etc.  

The following is a list of instruments available by the school and from Dr. Hopkins' personal collection:
Egg shakers
sleigh bells
frog and grasshopper guiros
hand bell
agogo bells
resonator bells
konga drums
floor toms
thunder tube
Boomwhacker tubes
slide whistle
Electronic Keyboard
Roll-Up Piano

Music Apps and Programs

Students develop and affirm musical lessons from music class during technology time.  The computers in the computer lab are loaded with Music Ace Maestro, a fun music-learning program that allows students to learn to relate sounds to musical notes.  It also contains basic music notation software so students can compose music with an assortment of instrument sounds.  Finale's PrintMusic is also available on the computers for older students to compose music with professional formatting for printing.  The school's iPads are loaded with Virtuoso, a piano keyboard app which one or two students can play a virtual piano.

Items to Purchase

Would you like to share the music of the classroom with your child at home or elsewhere?  Here are some resources where you can purchase or get more information about the musical items used at St. Patrick School.

Young children enjoy the music from their favorite children television series.  The Music Room has CDs from many Disney Jr. television series.

Choo Choo Soul [CD/DVD Combo]
Sofia the First
Sofia the First: Songs from Enchancia
Doc McStuffins
Sheriff Callie's Wild West
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
The Lion Guard (Music From The TV Series)
Elena of Avalor

There are CDs for young ones to enjoy the music of the Church.

Smooth Praise by Sam Levine
Top 25 Praise Songs 2012 Edition

There are some DVDs about music.

Make Mine Music (Disney Gold Classic Collection)
Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces
Tom and Jerry's Musical Mayhem
Animusic - A Computer Animation Video Album (Special Edition)

Last Year in Review

3rd and 4th Grade classes performed 5 songs on the recorder at the Spring concert.
6th to 8th graders participated on cast and crew for 2 performances of Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr.
8th Grade students placed 2nd and Honorable Mention for their original music compositions at the Respect Life Contest sponsored by the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
The St. Patrick School Choir appeared on News 12 Long Island in a feature about the St. Patrick School 1st Annual Field of Honor Ceremony.
The St. Patrick School Talent Show featured over 40 acts on voice, dance, piano, guitar, comedy, and martial arts.


When is the school musical?
The school musical takes place on April 6 and 7, 2017.  Auditions are November 29 and 30, 2016.  Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays starting January 3, 2017 through to the performances.  Materials are posted under Musical Resources.

Who can audition for the school musical?
The school musical is open to students in grades 6 and up.  There is a moderate to heavy time commitment for those with speaking and singing roles.

When is the NYSSMA adjudications?
The 2017 NYSSMA adjudication solo festival is Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the Patchogue-Medford school district.  Registration forms are available in the Music Room from January to March and available on the website under General Music Resources.  The registration deadline is Friday, March 3rd.

General Music
What should my child bring to music class?
Students in grades 3 and up should bring a designated music folder and a sharpened pencil to all classes.  Pens are strongly discouraged.

What can my child do to prepare for music class?
Students in Pre-K and up are encouraged to listen to music that encourages Catholic and family values.  Television shows on "Junior" channels include musical numbers that educate and excite.  Some of these channels include Disney Junior, Nick Jr. and PBS Kids.  Some of these shows include Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Bubble Guppies, Sofia the First, and Super Why.

Students in grades 3 and up must take notes in class on plain and sheet music paper.  Downloads and resources are available on the website to reinforce class lessons.

How is my child evaluated in music class?
Evaluations and assessments are based on the Core Music Standards rubrics outlined by the National Association for Music Education for Pre-K through 8th grade.  

My child missed a music class.  What should I do?
My child lost class materials.  What should I do?
It is always advisable to contact the teacher, even if the situation is not severe.  Downloads and resources are available on the website to reinforce class lessons.

My child wants to join the school choir.  What should I do?
Contact the school office to get your child enrolled.

Why should my child participate in the school choir?
Singers in the school choir sing for many school and church functions throughout the year.  The choir sings religious songs at the school mass once a month.  The choir sings Christmas and holiday songs at the December concert.  The choir sings classical and popular songs at the May concert.  Select choir members may sing at the Pre-K Christmas pageant, over the school's PA system, and the 8th grade Graduation mass and ceremony.  Regular opportunities to sing for an audience strengthen a child's self-esteem and musical skill.  

Choir members are directed to read and follow sheet music, develop basic conducting skills, and practice healthy singing and breathing habits.

My child wants to improve in singing.  What can I do?
There are many resources available to St. Patrick students.  

The school choir is open to any student in grades 2 and up.  
The school musical is open to any student in grades 6 and up.  
NYSSMA is an adjudication event where singers and musicians prepare a piece of music and receive an evaluation from a music educator.  
At St. Patrick's Church, the kids choir sings at the Sunday 9:30am family mass in Msgr. Purick Hall.  
For children in 4th grade and up, the Sunday 5:30pm youth mass in the church encourages leadership and decision making in a youth-run music ministry and mass.  
Lastly, private voice lessons and vocal coaching is the most effective means of improving in areas of breath support, musical expression, and sight singing.  

Where can my child listen to Catholic music?
Weekend masses at just about any Catholic church and the monthly school mass at St. Patrick's School incorporate hymns and songs from the Catholic music repertoire.  For more contemporary offerings with a Christian message and modern music sensibilities, K-Love 96.7 FM is a national Christian radio station.


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