At the middle school level, students select to pursue either band or choir during the school day, and are placed in an age-appropriate class. In addition, students may participate in the extra-curricular orchestra program that meets before school.
At the middle school level, three choirs are offered to match the age, ability level, and gender of the child. In addition to the study of proper vocal technique and fundamentals in music, all choral students will be exposed to diverse types of choral literature from various musical periods including the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. They will be introduced to multi-cultural music and various foreign languages such as German, Latin, French, Italian, and Hebrew. They will be exposed to various composers and their place in the history and development of music as pertaining to the specific music covered throughout the year. Each ensemble will participate in numerous formal and informal performances throughout the year, including important community outreach concerts.
Beginning band students are provided the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of technique on an instrument that they are assigned, as well as the fundamentals of music notation and musicianship. Students continue to progress in 7th and 8th grade with more complicated music and extended techniques related to their specific instrument.
Orchestra is provided in three separate sections based on the student’s playing abilities. Students may choose to participate in orchestra by studying violin, viola, cello, or bass. Each section not only varies in ability level, but also in the depth of repertoire as well. Beginning orchestra is designed primarily for the development of fundamentals of technique and notation reading. Intermediate builds on these techniques and explores some aspects of historical repertoire. Students are offered two major performance opportunities each year as well as the opportunity to participate in music competitions and conferences.
Sixth and 7th grade students take art for one semester each year. The elements of art (line, space, form, color, value, texture, and shape) are emphasized in the 6th grade. The principles of design (contrast, balance, movement, unity, and pattern) are emphasized in the 7th grade. These definitions and ideas are the foundation of the curriculums. Projects involving these art ideas help the students with comprehension, developing their art in a more thoughtful manner, and increasing their vocabulary in order to intellectually express themselves.
Art I, the 6th grade class, teaches a strong foundation of drawing skills and the ability to see relationships between objects as they are transferred onto paper. The mixing of colors, printmaking techniques, and use of clay will also be explored. Ceramics and masks from many cultures will be our sculptural art projects. Optical design is taught as a lesson relating to pattern effects where careful craftsmanship is emphasized.
Art II, the 7th grade class, covers three-dimensional work, in the form of clay, as well as one point perspective drawing, collage, and a study of art history with the Junior Docent Program. The Junior Docent Program allows the student to use his art vocabulary to describe the qualities of a master artwork. Traditionally, the students have traveled to the MU Museum of Art and Archeology to choose an artwork, which they study in depth and describe to an audience.
Art III, 8th grade, is a yearlong elective course designed to further enhance a student’s understanding of a variety of drawing and painting materials, and to use them to achieve different effects. Students pick one subject and apply their knowledge of techniques to create an interesting composition. Abstract art is analyzed so that students learn how to create an abstract design from a realistic image. Students also get to experience making sculptures with paper mâché (human figures) and clay (family totems).
Introduction to Performing Arts I
Sixth grade students take a broad look at the many aspects and challenges of live performance. Students study the basics of oral communication, beginning with focus on voice and movement. Students also learn the speech-making process, and apply that process to a number of speech projects. They learn the importance of and strategies for topic selection, research, drafting, editing, rehearsals, and performance. They will be assessed on physical performance as well as written work. Students examine these key questions: ‘What is involved in writing and then delivering a speech?’ and ‘ What are the characteristics of “good” speech delivery? Of bad speech delivery?’
Introduction to Performing Arts II
In seventh grade, students study the origins of theatre and trace its evolution through a variety of characteristics. The various aspects of producing a theatrical piece, including but not limited to writing, directing, and performing, and perhaps designing are studied. Students study classic and contemporary drama, and create and perform original works in class. Through monologues and scene work, students will have a chance to workshop their performance skills in a safe and productive environment. Students examine the role theatre has played in the history of our world, what is involved in getting a script to the stage, and what the characteristics of “good” and “bad” performance are, and how to create them.