New School provides an environment in which students develop a thirst for knowledge and a love of the arts. High academic expectations are enriched by the arts. All students participate in drama, music, dance, and visual art classes. The extensive curriculum in the arts follows the National Standards for Arts Education.
Dance education begins with an awareness of movement and its creative potential. At this level, students engage in movement exploration that promotes an appreciation of self and others. The skills and knowledge acquired allow them to begin working independently and with a partner in creating and performing dances. Through dance education, students can also come to an understanding of their own culture and begin to respect dance as a part of the heritage of many cultures.
Through creating, performing, and responding to dance, middle school students continue to develop skills and knowledge that enhance the important development of self-image and social relationships. Cooperation and collaboration are emphasized at this age, fostering positive interactions.
Music Course Descriptions
Basic Introduction to note reading, scales, intervals, and rhythm. Musical challenges such as: What turns sound into music? How do patterns come together to create music? Musical examples using a varied spectrum of musical literature illustrate the artistic application of these principles.
Form and Analysis
The structure of musical forms is studied using a variety of musical genres and styles. Basic oral identification of these forms: strophic song form, ABA, Rondo, Sonata and the Fugue will be explored.
Counterpoint and Harmony
The study of scales and harmony beginning with the ancient Greek modes and the development of the modern Western musical language. Harmonic progressions are explored aurally. Students learn how to use the musical scale to create tonal phrases above the harmonic structure.
Jazz History and Composition
The study of the history of the blues and jazz in America. The exploration of early blues artists leads into the basic music theory of the blues. Basic keyboard skills are developed and applied to improvisation skills using the 12 bar blues. Students will be involved with writing their own Blues composition.
Western Music History
The survey of western music with an introduction to the different musical periods from Renaissance to Contemporary. Literature is introduced using the symphonic, operatic and other classical repertoire. Composers and famous literature from each musical period will be explored.
History of American Music
The survey of American music ranging from the Colonial Period to the Beatles. Patriotic songs, American Folksongs, Songs of the Civil War, and other major wartime eras are explored.
African Traditions are used in a sequential approach that introduces drumming and traditional West African music. African music is introduced using the Orff approach and students will participate in playing polyrhythmic ensemble music.
The Art of Performance
Using the voice as the primary instrument, students will develop their vocal skills, practice and performance techniques will be addressed, in class auditioning, combating performance anxiety and developing rehearsal techniques will lead up to an all school performance, giving students the opportunity to be involved in a large scale musical performance.
Theatre instruction integrates the several aspects of the art form: script writing, acting, designing, directing, researching, comparing art forms, analyzing and critiquing, and understanding contexts. Through the content of drama, students develop their understanding of their immediate world and broaden their knowledge of other cultures.
Students in grades 5-8 develop theatre literacy by learning to see the created world of theatre through the eyes of the playwright, actor, designer, and director. Through active creation of theatre, students learn to understand artistic choices and to critique dramatic works.
[See Shakespeare performance videos]
Visual Arts (K-4)
Students learn the characteristics of the visual arts by using a wide range of subject matter, symbols, meaningful images, and visual expressions, to reflect their ideas, feelings, and emotions, and to evaluate the merits of their efforts. Students draw, paint, sculpt, and explore architecture, film, video, and folk arts.
As they move from kindergarten through the early grades, students develop skills of observation, and learn to examine the objects and events of their lives. At the same time, they grow in their ability to describe, interpret, evaluate, and respond to work in the visual arts.
Visual Arts (5-8)
In grades 5-8, students' visual expressions become more individualistic and imaginative. The problem-solving inherent in art activities helps them develop cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. They select and transform ideas, discriminate, synthesize and appraise, and they apply these skills to their expanding knowledge of the visual arts and to their own creative work.