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Performing Arts

Middle School

The general music curriculum is designed for students to explore music as part of a world culture. The course will focus on the origination of music and its relationship with people in the 20th and 21st centuries. This course will engage students in music history, appreciation, and performance as it relates to American culture.

Music electives are offered to all students and are full year commitments.
 

Courses

General Music

Grade 6

The focus of this course is the study of blues history, the influences of classical music on today's music, and the development of Jazz as an American art form. Through African drumming, the students will develop the basics of composition and rhythm study as well as understanding what it feels like to be a performer. Students will explore the world of music technology and recording through the use of I-movie and Garageband. The Rock History unit begins to develop the students' understanding of how to analyze lyrics and song form.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
African Drumming
American Music
Music Principals
Rock and Roll History/Rock Geniuses
Jazz History and Appreciation

Grade 7

The focus of this second year of General Music is to first provide the students with a background in the five music principles that composers use when creating a song. This will develop a basic foundation for music terminology and basic theory that will be used throughout the year, and in eighth grade. The study of American Popular Music will explore various careers in music outside of being a performer. This course then provides the students with historical perspectives in Jazz, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop as popular American music art forms. Drum study in this year focuses on original composition and recording techniques. Students demonstrate lyrical analysis and historical perspectives in music by creating short music videos for various American music genres.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
African Drumming
American Music
Music Principals
Rock and Roll History/Rock Geniuses
Jazz History and Appreciation
Movie Maker Project 1&2

Grade 8

Through the study of Soul, Modern Jazz, Rock and Roll Genius, and Hip Hop Culture, students explore the influence of music on culture and American history. Using I-movie, students are asked to interpret lyrics in relation to the world around them, as well as the effect of the song's message on them as emerging individuals. Using percussion instruments, students will develop poly-rhythms, stomp percussion, and write original compositions. Students will use Garageband to record original rhythmic compositions as well as their own original raps during the study of hip hop. Technology is used extensively to demonstrate the students' understanding of lyrical and historical perspectives in relation to the changing music industry of the 21st century.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
African Drumming
American Music
Music Principals
Rock and Roll History/Rock Geniuses
Jazz History and Appreciation
Movie Maker Project 1&2
Hip Hop Culture
History of Soul

Musical Studies

Band

Each grade level has its own band ensemble. The bands are regularly scheduled music elective classes held during the related arts rotation. Sixth and seventh grade bands meet in small sectional groupings in order to provide instrument-specific instruction. The eighth grade band rehearses as two balanced ensembles. This allows the students to focus on more advanced ensemble skills.

The bands perform a variety of repertoire from various genres. All bands perform in at least three annual concerts. The eighth grade band also participates in the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association Concert Festival and may perform at a high school football game and the Great East Music Festival. Attendance at all performances is required.

Regular performance assessments will be conducted during the course of the year. Teachers and students use music recording software to record and assess various levels of preparation. Students are encouraged to try harmony instruments (tenor and baritone saxophone, bassoon, French horn, etc.) to further expand and enhance the sound of the band.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Performing
Rhythm
Listening and Analyzing

Orchestra

Each grade level has its own orchestra ensemble. This is a regularly scheduled elective class that meets during the music related arts rotation. Students focus on improving their individual skills while performing from a variety of musical genres. Sectional rehearsals will be included in the students' regularly scheduled class periods. Strings Orchestra performs in at least three annual concerts. The eighth grade orchestra also participates in the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association Concert Band Festival and may participate in the Great East Music Festival. Attendance at all performances is required.

Regular performance assessments will be conducted during the course of the year. Teachers and students use music recording software to record and assess various levels of preparation. Students are encouraged to try harmony instruments (viola, cello, and bass) to further expand and enhance the sound of the band.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Rhythm
Performing
Listening and Analyzing

Chorus

Chorus meets during the related arts rotation. Each grade has its own chorus that fosters growth from year to year in communication, collaboration, vocal health, agility, accuracy, and capability. A varied repertoire is used from around the world and from different time periods to ensure a global awareness in each class. Each chorus class is a mini chorus that will come together to form a large ensemble for performances. Video and audio recording will be created to aid in student and teacher assessments. All choruses perform at least three concerts during the school year. The eighth grade chorus also participates in the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association Concert Festival, and may perform at the Great East Music Festival. Attendance at all performances is required.

Grade 6 Chorus
The emphasis for these young singers is on developing healthy singing techniques and understanding basic notation. Students will also begin the transition from one and two-part singing to three-part singing. Varied repertoire is used while learning to collaborate and gain ensemble skills.

Grade 7 Chorus
The focus of seventh grade chorus is for students to produce a more mature sound while singing in three parts. Particular attention is focused on developing the girls' upper range and boys' lower range as their voices change and mature. There is also a greater focus on sight-reading and ear-training skills.

Grade 8 Chorus
The emphasis of the eighth grade chorus is on creating a solid foundation for high school chorus. Students will sing up to four-part harmony. Girls will continue to learn how to sing with a more mature sound while boys learn how to use their new vocal range correctly. High level sight-reading and ear-training skills are emphasized.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Rhythm
Listening and Analyzing
Singing/Performing

Drama

Grade 6

Students in grade 6 Drama learn the foundations of the art of live performance and methods of overcoming fears and discovering the performer within. Creativity, spontaneity, emotional expression, communication through voice and body, and developing the imagination through dramatic exercises are emphasized along with narrative skills, acting and improvisation, and basic play-making and directing.

A strong sense of classroom community and being a supportive audience are the first lessons students encounter. This creates the foundation of a performance-oriented class in which students learn from interacting with each other. Students will collaborate to synthesize and perform tableaux, short monologues, and skits and will evaluate each other with full audience participation. Through learning from each other's live performances, ideas, and evaluations, students will be able make informed artistic choices, perform with greater confidence, and evaluate theatre-and each other-with critical thought and sensitivity.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Actor’s Tools
Playmaking
Story Structure - Fairy Tales & Fables
The Little Prince Script Analysis

Grade 7

Students in grade 7 Drama build on the foundations of drama they learned in grade 6 by focusing on the art of character development and performance. By studying a universal theme of human individuality, students will connect the art of theatre with the world around them, and with themselves as people. They will hone their performance skills in more advanced acting exercises and projects while also learning about basic theatre design, history, forms, and canonical works. All of these elements combine so that students will begin to see themselves as powerful performers with an ability to transform themselves and to communicate deeply to an audience.

To do this, students will experiment through theatre games with becoming characters on various levels and exploring what makes a memorable one. Students will then synthesize characters using a variety of interactive, hands-on methods that connect with theatre design (costume) and history (working with Greek-inspired masks). Eventually they will learn about and explore the art of monologue in both film  and live theatre, and they will ultimately write and perform their own monologues for characters they have created earlier. Students will explore advanced writing, acting, and collaborative  rehearsal methods to refine their monologues  and will perform them for each other,  with audience evaluation. The sense of theatre, community, and artistic choice that students have been developing since grade 6 culminate in a short whole-class play students synthesize using their monologue characters, which they perform at the end of the term and which they self-evaluate.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Creating Scenes
Greek Theater
Monologues
Script Analysis

Grade 8

The theme of grade 8 Drama is "making your voice heard." At this stage in their lives, grade 8 students are blossoming as citizens of the world. They are now ready to embrace the art of drama as a whole art form that is as a powerful medium for sharing ideas and teaching an audience a lesson. The foundations of performance they learned in grade 6 and the deeper knowledge of character they learned in grade 7 now culminate in an advanced study of drama that explores how the world around us informs the drama we create, and how drama mirrors the world.

Students begin studying advanced improvisation and acting techniques by exploring status and dramatic tension between individuals and in the world. Through their own awareness of what they see around them, they are able to create short scenes that represent realistic and powerful human dynamics, and they learn that even the funniest comedies have real meaning at their roots. With this knowledge, they begin exploring ideas they feel are important to teach the world through various interactive exercises and discussions. They lay the foundation for their ultimate project-a whole-class play they synthesize, evolve, direct, rehearse, and perform for an invited audience of their peers.

Using techniques they have learned in grades 6 and 7, they collaborate to create tableaux, scenes, monologues, and transitions that all serve to communicate their idea to the audience. Students  must  also create the other theatrical elements such as costume and set design by using their developing  sense of theatre. The performance and the audience's reaction and feedback provide evaluative lenses for the students, but they often know in the end how much they have accomplished, because  at this  point they begin to truly know themselves as performers on the stage of the world.


Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
Shakespeare
Directing
One Minute Play Festival
Theatre Sports: Improv Competition

Contact Us

Craig Hay

Titles: Music Teacher, District Music Department SML
Email:

Jeremy Dodge

Titles: Music Teacher
Email:

Lisa Nielsen

Titles: Chorus Teacher
Email:

Katherine O'Toole

Titles: Orchestra Teacher
Email:

Allison Porter

Titles: Drama Teacher
Email:

David Purdy

Titles: Band Teacher
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