Abby YelanjianThe mission of the performing arts department in Hanover County is to equip students with the skills to communicate through music and drama, with the understanding that these art forms are an important universal language and foundationally basic to our society and other cultures.

Music at SAES

Mrs. Abby Yelanjian serves as our music teacher. All SAES students in grades K–5 receive music instruction 45 minutes per week. Our preschool students receive 30 minutes of instruction per week. We focus on musical concepts such as music notation, rhythmic reading, and an understanding of the relationship of music to history. Students develop an understanding of music through experiences in singing, playing instruments, listening, and moving. In addition to the general music class, fifth-grade students have the opportunity to participate in the chorus, Orff ensemble, and strings.

In-Class Instruments


Third-grade students may learn how to play the recorder. The recorder presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce note reading and increase rhythmic reading skills and music appreciation. In addition, students develop skills such as playing in an ensemble, producing a correct tone, and building fingering coordination. Fourth and fifth-grade students continue to expand their knowledge of the recorder by learning ensemble pieces, incorporating the Orff and percussion instruments.


We are fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of a grant that provided a classroom set of ukuleles to every elementary school in the county. Because of this generous gift, ukulele instruction is a part of our general music curriculum. Fifth-grade students learn the history of the ukulele, parts of the ukulele, string names, proper playing position, and basic chords. Students use the ukuleles to accompany songs of various genres.

Other Opportunities to Perform


We offer chorus at SAES to our fourth and fifth-grade students. Chorus students focus on beginning choral behaviors and skills, including diction, blend, balance, dynamics, and intonation. The chorus performs several times throughout the year. This includes the veterans breakfast celebration, winter concert, spring concert, and participation in the Choral Festival at Kings Dominion.

Orff Ensemble

We offer Orff Ensemble to fourth and fifth-grade students. Students focus on rhythms and ensemble playing.  Orff Ensemble performs at the winter and spring concerts.

Performing Arts Philosophy

We believe…

  • Performing arts education is essential for all students.
  • Performing arts education is a sequential process integrated with other fields of study.
  • Music and theater function together as a universal language that reflects society.
  • Performing arts education teaches history, math, science, cultures, and aesthetics.
  • Performing arts education allows for the manipulation of the expressive qualities of each unique art form.
  • Performing arts education can and should promote the understanding and use of an artistic vocabulary for the purpose of evaluating both student and professional performances.
  • Performing arts education thrives in a safe and positive learning environment.
  • Performing arts education provides opportunities to increase a positive self-concept.
  • Everyone can learn successfully in a differentiated atmosphere.
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