Music education begins in junior kindergarten and is taught sequentially through 5th grade. Lower school students have the opportunity to participate in two elective music programs: the before-school orchestra program and the 4th and 5th Grade Honor Choir, a selective vocal ensemble open to all 4th-5th graders by application only. Students sing alone and with others a varied repertoire of music. They learn to read and notate music. They study the biographies and music of historically significant composers, the music of a particular culture, as well as music from diverse styles, genres, and performing artists. They are challenged to understand relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines out outside the arts, as well as its relation to history and culture.
All lower school students meet in art twice a week; kindergarten through 2nd grade meet for 45 minutes per session and grades 3-5 meet for one hour per session. Junior kindergarten students meet for one half-hour session per week to become familiar with classroom materials and routines. Lessons are structured around the elements of art (line, color, space, texture, value, shape, and form) and some of the principles of design (repetition/pattern and balance), which are taught with more intensity in the upper school. The elements and principles are studied in the context of master works of art from all continents. Student artistic production integrates knowledge and appreciation of these master works, while exploring and maintaining the importance of individual students’ intentions and personal expression. Artistic production includes the major art forms: portrait, still life, landscape, and nonobjective, and allows students to work with a wide range of materials, including but not limited to pencil, ink, watercolor, tempera, collage, paper mâché, and ceramic clay.
A variety of student exhibits happen throughout the building during the school year, and all students junior kindergarten through 5th grade participate in a themed art show in the spring to highlight some of their best work. Home-school communication happens through the website Artsonia.com, where parents and students may view students’ artwork online. Student artwork remains in a “digital portfolio,” containing art projects completed in the classroom, cumulatively, throughout their years in the lower school. Parents and students are allowed to leave positive feedback via the website on all artwork displayed in the “galleries” at Artsonia.com.