Upon entering Upper School, students may choose from several ability-based music electives, including two different choirs (selective or non-auditioned), concert band (non-auditioned), jazz ensemble (selective), orchestra (multi-levels), music theory, and beginning guitar.


At the upper school level, there are two choirs to match the age and ability level of the student. In addition to the continued study of proper vocal technique and fundamentals in music, students will study diverse types of choral literature from various musical periods including the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. Students will perform repertoire from both the western European tradition, sung in a variety of languages, as well as multi-cultural music written by a wide range of composers. Each ensemble will participate in numerous formal and informal performances throughout the year, including important community outreach concerts. Students will also have the opportunity to perform in several local and regional competitions.


In concert band technique is refined, musical styles are studied in-depth, and historical aspects are studied at length through lecture and group projects. Band students are offered two major performance opportunities each year, as well as the opportunity to participate in music competitions and conferences.

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz ensemble offers 9th-12th graders of nearly any skill level and instrument the opportunity to participate in an instrumental ensemble. Jazz ensemble performs mostly popular music genres, but there are also outlets for classical music and other styles. Students are guided to create their own arrangements and improvisations of music. Lessons in the history of jazz music and theory are also offered in this course.

Advanced Orchestra

Advanced orchestra is a place for refinement of technique and exploration of historical periods in classic repertoire. Students are offered two major performance opportunities each year, as well as the opportunity to participate in music competitions and conferences.

Beginning Guitar - Elective

Guitar is offered as a group lecture for 9th-12th grades. Students of all ability levels are welcome to enroll and are encouraged to possess an acoustic or classical guitar of their own. Beginning guitarists focus on fundamental techniques, notation, and basic musicianship, while advanced students are coached through more advanced technique, repertoire, and musicianship. All students are provided the opportunity to teach a selection of their choice, as well as suggest songs or pieces for the ensemble to learn together. Repertoire studied in this course includes music from many styles, ranging from classical art music through popular music of today. The class performs twice each year—once at the end of the fall semester and once at the end of the spring semester.

Music Theory I/II - Elective

This class is designed to help students understand how music is constructed, provide opportunities to develop creativity, and offer insight on how to improve performance. Students will be come familiar with the basics elements of music, the art of voice leading, and techniques of musical analysis. In the process, students will develop and sharpen aural, vocal, and keyboard skills. This course is designed as a foundational course in order to prepare students for future, more intensive music theory courses. 


Art IV

This class for 9th-12th grade students is a year-long elective class that encourages experimentation with new materials. Projects are planned to help students investigate and express their own individuality, while strengthening their technical abilities. They explore symbolism, storytelling, social issues, and self-expression. The projects will help the student become a better communicator, investigator, problem solver, and critical thinker. Projects involving painting, collage, ceramics, and sculpture will be created.

The Arts Enrichment

Examples of unique art expressions at CIS include creating graffiti works during the school’s study of political unrest through history, creating a historical timeline of great works of art displayed in a lighted wind tunnel during our spring festival, designing henna during a global studies intersession, and with the help of an artist in residence, designing life size puppets for an interdisciplinary vocal music performance. Vocal and instrumental music performances also have included professional vocalists and musicians that enrich the learning experiences of our students. 


Drama students in 9th-12th grade have the opportunity to take a variety of electives including performing arts, which focuses on performance and directing, film studies, and children’s media analysis.