Middle School Creative Arts

THREE-YEAR FINE ARTS TRACK TO BUILD PROFICIENCY

When students enter middle school, those students wishing to take their talents to the next level of proficiency may elect to specialize in a three-year fine arts track. The students can chose from Visual Arts, Choral Performance, Instrumental Ensemble or Theater Arts. Students wishing to try one of these electives do not have to commit to the three-year track to participate, and a student may choose to opt out of the three-year program at any time to explore other elective offerings available in other areas of study if they find the program too rigorous. Those students that complete all three years of their elected fine arts specialty will receive special recognition of this achievement in their middle school transcript and diploma. Completion of the program will provide the serious fine arts student an excellent foundation for continuing in advanced fine arts study in high school.

VISUAL ARTS

The middle school Visual Arts Track introduces students to the various forms of the visual arts, such as painting, drawing, sculpting and more. Students learn how to look at a work of art, identify and compare key characteristics in artworks, and understand the role that art has played throughout history. Through hands-on studio activities, virtual museum tours, discussion and research, learners develop an overall appreciation for the art they encounter in their daily lives and the ability to manipulate a variety of art mediums. As students participate in this track each year, they will be individually mentored to explore and extend their artistic ability, honing both their observation and technical skills. A third-year student will complete the program with a ten-piece portfolio, representative of their best efforts.

CHORAL PERFORMANCE

The middle school Choral Performance Track provides progressive development of choral performance skills from 6th through 8th grade. First-year students are introduced to the basics of choral music, including proper singing techniques as well as beginning performance techniques. Second- and third-year students continue to build on their knowledge of sight-singing, music history as it relates to choral music, musical expression and performance techniques, as well as have opportunities for solo and duet performances. By the end of this three-year track, the middle school student will have mastered choral music history, essential music theory, vocal techniques and performance techniques. The graduating middle school student will be more than prepared to pursue more advanced choral music in high school.

INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE

The middle school Instrumental Ensemble Track provides progressive development of instrumental performance skills from 6th through 8th grade. Regardless of whether they commit to the three year track or not, every student must begin or continue private lessons each summer before the elective begins and be accepted into the ensemble through an audition process. This process ensures that each student is ready to participate as part of an ensemble and has demonstrated the necessary work ethic to support this group endeavor. In this course, students will learn to read and play concert ensemble and solo arrangements of popular and traditional music. They will learn necessary practice techniques and discipline as they progressively hone their individual and group performance abilities. As students participate in this track each year, they will be individually mentored to explore and extend their musical ability. A third-year student who completes the program would be more than prepared to pursue more advanced instrumental music in high school, with the opportunity to join the Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band and/or Praise Band at the permission of the Band Director.

THEATER ARTS

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, performed Winter 2010

The middle school Theater Arts Track introduces students to theatre as an art form. For first-year students, emphasis is placed on developing the voice, body, and imagination through the use of theatre games, improvisation and ensemble exercises. Each student will have the opportunity to audition for stage roles and/or work with technical aspects of theatre in two full-length middle school drama productions each year. Second- and third-year students are progressively given more responsibility in roles or theater production. These more advanced students are given the opportunity for leadership roles, mentoring other students, serving as student directors for their own one-act plays, and auditioning for additional roles as available in high school theater productions.

EXTRACURRICULAR OPPORTUNITIES

After School Fine Arts Program

The Fine Arts Department has designed the middle school extracurricular art program to supplement the weekly arts curriculum. These additional classes may offer experiences not offered in the regular classroom, and build on skills taught in the regular classroom at an advanced level. The philosophy of this program is to build competencies and enthusiasm in our students who have a demonstrated passion for the arts. These extracurricular classes better prepare them for more advanced study in high school electives. All of these classes are staffed by practicing professionals in their field of study. The extracurricular program is run on a fee basis and is completely self-supporting. Middle school classes currently offered include private instruction on musical instruments and an art club.