Middle School Arts

A girl studying art at the Middle School

Middle School students are in an interesting stage in their creative development. Most have already developed basic skills and they are now ready to refine their abilities.

Musically, Middle School students can choose between taking band or strings and all students learn to sing. We want our students to enjoy music, while gaining independence, instrument proficiency, and ensemble and team skills. Artistically, students learn intermediate skills, such as creating three-dimensional drawings, and participate in art shows.

Every two years, the Middle School puts on a musical, allowing students to take the stage in a full-scale production. Behind the stage, students can help with make-up or costumes, build and paint sets, and document the production through photography and video.

A performance-based program, band includes rehearsals of concert band repertoire, technical exercises, theory lessons, music listening and musical knowledge.

The Honour Band is comprised of Grade 7 and 8 students who have shown dedication and outstanding ability playing their instrument. This group represents SMUS at music festivals and other special performances.

The Jazz Band is an extracurricular ensemble that plays standards from both jazz and popular music.

As a part of our enriched program, all students at the Middle School participate in choir. Choir students are encouraged to use choral skills such as correct breathing, vocal technique, posture, score reading and musicianship. The repertoire includes songs in different languages and musical styles. While choir is an option for returning Grade 8 students, most choose to continue.

We treat performance as an important aspect of the learning experience, and Middle School students perform several times during the year.

At the Middle School level, strings class gives students experience playing in ensembles as they gain competence on their instruments and become more musically aware as strings players. Our focus is on string instrument-playing concepts and technical skills; tone production and intonation; music reading; and appreciating through listening.

Although strings classes for each grade rehearse separately, there is a cross-grade Middle School Strings Ensemble that brings together a group of musicians from Grades 6 through 8 for two periods of rehearsal in each 10-day timetable cycle.

Visual art classes provide students with a strong foundation in art with a focus on creative, visual, and art production skills. Students develop their creativity and technique in visual expression by examining and responding to different media and styles. Several media are covered:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • printmaking
  • graphic design
  • ceramics
  • metal work
  • collage
  • sculpture
  • scratchboard

Students learn the technical aspects of each project while engaging in art from a variety of artistic traditions as well as visual expressions from their own and other cultures. Students view, discuss and produce art that relates to a range of fine, cultural, popular, folk and applied art traditions.

Art learning content is often thematically linked to topics covered in humanities courses. This inclusive and integrated approach helps extend, enrich and diversify students’ expressive capabilities. It also enhances creative and critical skills and cultivates an appreciation for artistic production and experience.

Every two years, the Middle School puts on a major musical theatre production in which all student participate. Students learn all aspects of theatre by performing a role, playing in the orchestra, helping with set design, designing costumes, applying make-up or assisting backstage.