Visual and performing arts are a vital part of the Middle School curriculum. All students engage in the skillful practice and study of music, art, chorus, and theatre, and have the option to participate in the instrumental ensemble.
Through the elements and principles of design, students discover new art concepts, processes, artists, and cultures. Every student creates a portfolio and works in a sketchbook throughout the year to reinforce vocabulary, help understand concepts, and persevere in their individual ideas and pursuits.
Students focus on actors’ tools as they develop both creative and technical skills for the stage. Class work includes improvisation, character development exercises, stage terminology, theatre games, monologues, and scene work. Emphasis is placed on the creative and artistic choices that actors make along with the practical application of stage movement for performance.
In addition to nontraditional and small venue performances, all middle school students have the opportunity to participate in the middle school show. This production is a yearly highlight of the sixth through eighth grade population. The middle school show is a full scale musical theatre production, staged with our middle school students’ talents in mind.
Music classes build music theory skills, with increased emphasis on sight-reading rhythms and intervals. Students apply their knowledge through performance on recorders, keyboards, and Orff instruments. The instrumental ensemble is open to all students and performs at the holiday and spring concerts, middle school closing, and occasionally at other events throughout the year. The group varies its repertoire according to instrumentation and utilizes custom arrangements to highlight student musicians. Students perform music in many different styles, including jazz, Celtic, classical and rock. Ensemble skills, intonation, dynamics and rhythmic accuracy are emphasized.
Middle School Chorus introduces students to three-part singing. Students are introduced to many aspects of positive choral singing, including breathing techniques, proper posture, dynamics, and balance. Singers gain experience in reading octavos, following a conductor, and grasping melodic and harmonic contour for performance.