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Castle Pines

Elementary Music (K-5)

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Elementary Music at Castle Pines 


Welcome to music at American Academy!




My name is Mr. Nelson and I am so excited to be guiding students through music at American Academy ‘s Castle Pines campus. In my classroom, students will be exploring music through dancing, singing, playing instruments, composing songs, listening to music, and playing games. Although I grew up in Colorado, for the last three years I have called New York City my home, where I worked as a professional musician and actor, all the while missing the classroom.  I know that music touches all of our lives in different ways, and I look forward to helping students grow in their relationship to music through musicianship and music appreciation.


If you are looking for more ways to explore musicianship and the performing arts, students will also have the opportunity to join one of American Academy’s amazing extra-curricular performing arts classes including (but not limited to) dance, theatre, choir, band, and orchestra.


If you have any questions at all, or would just like to say hi, please feel free to reach out to me at




Rotation 1: 

This week in music class, we will begin our explorations of rhythms through rhythm games including Rhythm Wars (a star wars inspired rhythm identification game). Students will also take a music pre-assessment so that we can track our growth in music this year.  Our Composer of the Week is John Williams! Every day as students enter, they will be hear  a new piece of music from one of America’s most recognizable composers. From Jaws, to STAR WARS, to Harry Potter, and the Olympics, John Williams is a composer who knows exactly how to capture a moment with music.

Rotation 2

This week in music class students will continue to explore the rhythms that we touched on in our first rotation, and compose their own songs using the notes we have learned thus far. Students will also practice decoding rhythms with a Halloween rhythm game. Our composer of the week is Jon Batiste, one of America’s most popular and current Jazz musicians. You might recognize Jon Batiste from the Late Show, or from his work on the film Soul. Through the course of the week, we will listen to his interpretations of some classic jazz and soul music, and make connections to our own use of rhythm in music. 

Kindergarten and 1st Grade (Rotations 1-3)

In our first rotation for Kindergarten and 1st grade, we will focus on how music can use emotions and mood. We will practice SQUILT (super quiet uninterrupted listening time) with music by our composer of the week, paying attention to how the music makes us feel. As we move into our second rotation we will learn songs that help us practice keeping a steady beat, and using dynamics (how loud or soft a piece of music is).  We will listen to Haydn’s Symphony no.94: The Surprise Movement, to further explore how dynamics are used by composers. Finally, in our third rotation, we will learn about Camille Saint-Saens and his work The Carnival of the Animals, as we begin to identify strings, woodwinds, percussion, and piano.