Middle School Arts
Intentionality in Music, Art, and Drama
As creatures made in the image of God, we all inherit the blessing of creativity. Middle School students are creating, performing, and learning how to interpret their world through a sequential arts curriculum taught during the regular school day. We believe a robust arts curriculum provides rich opportunities to perform and create in art, music, and drama; perceive and respond to each of the arts disciplines; understand the role of the arts in our world; and make connections between the arts and other aspects of life, meaning, and culture. All Middle School students participate in the arts. Students in grades 7 and 8 take at least one semester arts elective each year, while students in grades 5 and 6 have music, visual art, and drama specialist classes throughout the school year.
Instruction in the elements and techniques of the various media allow every student creative expression as an artist. Visual art students focus on creativity, originality, effort, and perseverance while exploring various media such as drawing, painting, ceramics, collage, mixed media, and three-dimensional art. Students develop craftsmanship, skill, consistency, and correct terminology, while learning the basic elements and principles of art. Student work is displayed in Bear Creek’s annual Authors & Artists event. Our visual art teachers are trained both as teachers and as artists and share their passion for art with our students.
The Bear Creek School believes that music education is an integral part of a liberal arts education and imperative in developing the whole child. It helps us communicate more effectively, appreciate culture more deeply, and love more empathetically. Music is one of the things that connects us most with our creator. God made us in His image to be creators, and Middle School is where students begin to hone those creative skills in an ensemble setting as they work to become the individual God intends.
All grade 5 students participate in both band and general music, which are taught by specialists and meet once each week. Grade 6 students may choose either band or choir and attend twice each week. The band instrument students choose and how they learn to use their voices could begin a journey that takes them all the way through high school and beyond.
Grades 7 and 8 band students continue to build skills on their instruments with emphasis on developing a good concept of ensemble sound and tone quality. In addition to a Christmas Concert and a Spring Concert, the band participates in at least one event outside of school. Band students in grades 7 and 8 may also participate in Pep Band, which plays during basketball season.
Choir students can be creative in an environment full of encouragement. Students learn and practice basic choral techniques and are exposed to different types of music. Middle School choir performs in a Christmas Concert and a Spring Concert, and grades 7 and 8 also participate in other local performances such as the Lake Washington Middle School Choir Festival.
In 2015, Columbia University’s School of Physicians and Surgeons reported that over a third of the incoming class were musicians! Many of the skills that students learn in band and choir are skills that are incredibly valuable in a highly competitive workplace. Problem-solving skills, teamwork, accountability, intrinsic motivation, precision, professionalism, attention to detail, and a growth mindset are all qualities developed in ensemble music and highly valued by colleges and universities. Watch this interview with Band Director Kelsey Thompson to learn more.
Students increase vocabulary, develop literacy skills, and experience literature through drama. They also gain confidence and composure in front of an audience and learn to present themselves well. Our Shakespeare Immersion Program aims to cultivate in students an understanding of human virtue and frailty by examining the great works of William Shakespeare through stage performance and curricular parallels. In grade 6, students participate in a two week-long intensive study of Shakespeare and his times, integrating history, English and drama, which culminates in a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Grade 5 students perform for their parents and peers at an annual Poetry Breakfast.
During both fall and spring semester, students in grades 7 and 8 taking the Drama elective present an evening production for family, friends, and the school community. Students will engage in the history and technique of theater and be given a chance to showcase their own performance techniques.