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Music and Performing Arts


Our goal is to provide students with opportunities for their musical creativity to flourish. We cover a variety of units that call upon students to reach their highest potential. Many students play more than one instrument and participate in extra music classes, besides the two 45 minute general classes a week. Extra music classes include MCCPS Chorus, MCCPS Honors Band, MCCPS Jazz Combo, musicals and more. Another opportunity where we showcase performance is Music Morning, which happens each week and typically features one of our many skillful musicians.  Performances and projects are featured at Exhibition, as well as Music Extravaganza, which are student concerts. Projects most often have the element of choice.  In class, there are an abundance of different projects that involve learning to read music, compose, and play instruments. 

Curriculum Overview

  • 4th- During fourth grade students sing, learn to read choral music, play games, and perform during first term. During second term students read piano music (at their own level) as well as compose, notate and perform. During third term students choose a concert band instrument to learn and arrange music on Soundtrap. Throughout the year various musicians and styles are discussed to supplement hands-on learning.
  • 5th – During fifth grade students learn a concert band instrument during the first term. During second term students read and play piano music. During the third unit students arrange and compose songs, sing songs, and create rhythm ensembles in groups. Throughout the year listening activities, music history, music theory, musicians, and games are a part of the class. The Soundtrap arranging program is used as well regarding discussion about form in music.
  • 6th – During sixth grade, students learn about blues music and its impact on other genres during the first term.  They form blues bands and perform for Exhibition. Students learn about Gutav Holst and the piece “The Planets'' and other famous composers. Planet compositions or slideshows accompany the project.  The piano or keyboard lab takes place where students read music and choose their pieces. During the third term,  Drums Alive provides a fun way to combine fitness and drumming! They learn about various musicians, counting the beat, and drumming to songs in small and large groups. They create their own to showcase at Exhibition.  They also create music for original public service announcements using Soundtrap. Music history, and singing are also an integral part of music class, which is often integrated with other subjects.
  • 7th – During seventh grade students practice the ukulele. They learn chords, songs, and form ukulele bands. Students also arrange music in soundtrap, read and play piano. They learn about various musicians throughout the decades through "Music Madness" listening activities. Students learn about music theory, film music, and composers. Then, using a notation program, Flatio, students compose an original score that goes with an original movie scene. Students also perform in percussion ensembles.
  • 8th – During eighth grade, students play the ukulele, or guitar, and form bands. Students learn about musicians and  history of music from the 1880-current day, which includes music from the Late-Romantic, Impressionistic, and Modern classical period as well music from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980’s, 1990s, which finishes with a class graduation song. An entire jazz unit, which aligns with the 8th grade curriculum, also takes place. Students have a choice of which piano piece to learn and arrange music on soundtrap as well.

Extra classes/Performing Arts

  • MCCPS Honors Band- This extra opportunity includes playing in the school concert band, called the MCCPS Honors Band. After the 4th and 5th grade band units, students have the option to try it out, and then join the band. Band instruments include percussion, trombone, trumpet, French horn, clarinet, flute, saxophone, oboe and bassoon. We rehearse and perform at Music Extravaganza and the Canobie Lake competition. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30-8:15am
  • MCCPS Chorus-This extra opportunity that includes singing the school’s choral group. We meet twice a week to rehearse and learn the part to two-four part harmony choral arrangements. An array of different styles are sung and solos are optional. We rehearse and perform at Music Extravaganza and the Canobie Lake competition. We meet every Tuesday from 2:30-3:15 and Friday from 7:30-8:15am.
  • MCCPS Advanced Jazz Combo- This is an extra opportunity, for advanced players, to play jazz and funky music and to improvise. Students read music, take solos, and perform on their instrument or instruments. Songs usually include jazz standards and original compositions. Performances take place at Music Extravaganza and at community events. Performances can be booked through their agent at  We meet every Wednesday 2:30-3:15
  • MCCPS Rock Band- This extra opportunity is open to advanced players and singers who want to rock. We learn rock tunes and perform at various concerts. Performances can be booked through their agent at We meet every Thursday 2:30-3:15.
  • MCCPS Strings- This extra opportunity is open to violin, viola, cello, and bass players. We play at the Music Extravaganza concerts and rehearse every Monday 7:30-8:15am and Thursdays 2:30-3:15.

North Shore Children's Theatre

North Shore Children's Theatre is proud to partner with Marblehead Community Charter Public School to produce three plays each school year. Through weekly rehearsals, actors and crew members not only learn theatrical techniques but also gain self confidence and learn to work as a team. Some of our past productions include: Peter Pan, You’re a God Man Charlie Brown, and Wizard of Oz.


More about Our Staff

Adria Murrelle Smith has taught at MCCPS for 22 years. She is a Grammy nominated music educator and was featured in “50 directors who make a difference” in the SBO magazine.

Since age five Adria Murrelle Smith has played piano, and composed music. She started recording and publishing her original piano books at age 11. By age 16 the Peabody Trio and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra have performed her compositions. Her jazz recordings include original compositions featuring James Brown’s funky drummer, Clyde Stubblefield. Due to winning numerous contests for her music, she was awarded a scholarship from Berklee College of Music. Adria Smith now manages the entire music program at Marblehead Charter Community Public School where was honored with the founding faculty award in 2011. She is the Head of Department, and founded the MCCPS Musical Theater Program, Keyboard Lab, Chorus, Jazz Band, and Honors Band performing groups. She has been awarded many grants for technology, equipment, musical performances and more.

Smith wrote two methods books, The Ferret Guide to Jazz Piano, and The Ferret Guide to Piano Technique. Her thesis, “Cultivating a Collaborative Experience for Jazz Based Improvisation” has been a great source for collecting qualitative data about how to teach jazz improvisation. In 2016 she received a scholarship to study at Lincoln Center/Juilliard music buildings where she studied inquiry-based learning that ignites capacities for imaginative thinking.

Earning a Master Degree and a professional license in Music Education, Smith takes music classes in topics such as ELL, Students with Disabilities, and music at the MICCA Summer Music Institute. She has led professional development in 2017 about Integrated Project Based Learning, and Using Technology to Compose Music at the MassCUE and M.A.S.S. Annual Technology Conference. Adria was honored to conduct the Jazz Junior Districts in 2022. An avid performer and supporter of live music, Adria Smith plays professional jazz piano all around the Boston area.