Middle School Special Classes
In addition to music history and art history, topics studied during the school day in conjunction with humanities class, Middle School students have dedicated classes in music and art, as well as the option to participate in the Middle School chorus.
Guitar class is designed so that each Middle School student works at his, her, or their own pace, building on prior musical experiences and adding skills as time allows. Beginners learn basic chords, rhythmic strumming and how to read simple tablature, while more experienced students work on accompanying themselves or playing as an ensemble. Once basic skills are mastered, students can explore other string instruments like the ukulele or electric guitar.
Drumming class explores hand-drumming techniques, rhythms and traditions from cultures of the Arabic nations, West and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, North and South India and the traditional Western world. Students learn to contribute as active members of a musical ensemble, to improvise and to compose patterns and pieces. Drumming students also have the opportunity to perform during all-school traditions and celebrations.
The Middle School Chorus is a non-auditioned, elective ensemble that meets once a week. Chorus members sing as a mixed chorus (SAB and SATB music) with repertoire from a wide variety of cultures and historical periods. The MS Chorus performs during all-school ceremonies as well as at events within the wider community — including singing the National Anthem at New Britain Rock Cats, Hartford Yard Goats, and Hartford Wolfpack games — and attend adjudicated festivals and/or host choral clinicians on site.
Our goal for the Middle School artists is to gain even further confidence in their own abilities and choices, and to learn by taking artistic risks. At this age, we also strive to delve even deeper into observational drawing and painting by breaking down complex images into simple shapes. In addition, ceramics and other 3-D art is explored. We utilize our proficiency with the principles and elements of art to communicate our ideas visually, and the Middle School students are further exposed to the work of a variety of different artists. Middle School Art takes place once a week for 50 minutes. There are two Middle School art classes that occur simultaneously, so for half of the year, a student will focus on 2-D art (drawing, painting, printmaking) while the other half of the year, they will focus on ceramics and other 3-D art.
Health and fitness are important aspects for Middle School student growth. The physical fitness program helps the children learn about their bodies and understand the importance of establishing lifelong healthy habits. MS students have PE once a week, are encouraged to participate in our after-school athletics, and are expected to incorporate physical exercise into their lives as an extracurricular three days each week.