Music at Our Lady of Lourdes

There are many benefits to a music education. Music intertwines math and science, a foreign language and history. It affects the growth of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Music helps with memory, attention and concentration, spatial learning, increased coordination, achievement and discipline, social skills and so much more!


Preschoolers have weekly 30 minute music classes. The preschoolers have the opportunity to play most of our pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, including xylophones, glockenspiels, a marimba, tubano drums, tambourines, jingle bells, triangles, maracas (and other kinds of shakers), and rhythm sticks. They learn how to hold them properly, as well as how to wait when it is not their turn to play. Preschoolers also sing, do creative movement, perform dances, and use props such as scarves, mini beanbags, and lummi sticks. Frequently, other subject areas are included during their songs and activities. Their Christmas program, held in the school gym, is well attended by family members!

Kindergarten – 8th grade

The K-5th grade classes have music twice a week for 45 minutes, and the middle school classes meet once per week for 45 minutes. Mrs. Gard follows the National and the Archdiocesan Music Standards throughout the grades, going into more depth as the students get older. Mrs. Gard includes the Orff Schulwerk approach in her teaching, and also uses Kodaly hand signs for learning pitches. The students in these grades learn songs, dances, instrument accompaniments, and ensemble pieces (using the Orff instruments). While they learn music skills and concepts, the students connect the music to different cultures, other content areas, and their personal lives. The 3rd-5th graders also learn to play soprano recorders. In December, the K-5th grade students perform Christmas programs.

Instrumental band program

The band program at Lourdes is open to 5-8th grade students. Beginning band members learn to play the traditional wind instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone. In the 6th-8th grade years, some students branch out into other instruments, which can include percussion, French horn, alto and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, baritone horn, and oboe. The band classes meet twice per week, and perform two concerts. During some years, the combined bands march in the Jr. Rose Parade in Portland, OR.

Choral program

The choral program is open to students in middle school The middle school choirs are taught by Dr. Teresa Dody, the Pastoral Assistant for Music at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Healthy vocal techniques are taught, along with the musical skills needed for singing in a choir. The choirs perform two concerts.

Worship team

The Worship Team is an instrumental/vocal group open to 4-8th grade students. This is a volunteer group that meets once per month to prepare the worship music for one school-led Mass each month. Most of the members are vocalists, however students who are already accomplished on an instrument such as piano, guitar, or drum set sometimes play with the group.

Additional music opportunities

Each year there are additional music opportunities for interested students. A few of them include: regional elementary and middle school honor choirs, regional honor bands, regional Solo and Ensemble Festival, and Jr. All-State Choir. Participants in most of these groups are chosen by audition. These opportunities allow students to be challenged and to grow as musicians.

Mrs. Gard

This is Mrs. Gard’s 31st year at OLL, her 17th year teaching music. Mrs. Gard’s undergraduate work was in music education (K-12) and Psychology. She loves to sing, and she also plays piano, guitar, and clarinet. She sometimes plays clarinet in the Southwest Washington Wind Symphony.

DR. Dody

Dr. Dody is Our Lady of Lourdes Pastoral Assistant for Music and our middle school choir teacher.

She came to us after 17 years as a college music professor in Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and West Virginia. She taught voice classes, opera workshops and conducted choral ensembles, and has performed as a soloist in Italy, Austria and New York City.

Dr. Dody has won many honors and awards for her outstanding operatic voice, and her love for music can be heard when she plays the piano and organ. She earned her Doctor in Musical Arts in 2010.

Music teacher Debbie Gard at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
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Choir teacher Teresa Dody at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School