Performing and Fine Arts
The Colorado Springs School offers a comprehensive Arts curriculum throughout Children’s, Middle, and Upper Schools. The Arts are of equal importance to core subject matters and allow our students to develop an appreciation for process based discovery and innovative problem solving, while building confidence and self-assurance. Our teachers are professional artists who inspire daily creativity from our students. The arts at The Colorado Springs School develop 21st Century learning competencies in collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication through meaningful projects, performances and experiences. Individual grade level and divisional course offerings are detailed in the curriculum sections of each division of Children’s School, Middle School and Upper School.
Children’s School Arts
The Children’s School believes that students grow in their ability to comprehend their world when they explore, learn and grow in the visual and performing arts. Through studying creative dramatics, music, and visual art students learn higher order thinking skills: critical problem solving, analyzing, and decision-making. The arts encourage and develop appropriate and positive social and emotional skills through collaborative group work. Students are able to make connections within all subjects of study by gaining experiential knowledge of each arts discipline. Infusion of the arts enhances academic, social-emotional, and creative growth in all students, thereby educating the whole child.
The Children’s School visual art curriculum is designed to give students an aesthetic vocabulary, understanding, and appreciation. Lessons are designed to help develop comfort and fluency in the language of art. Students are encouraged to explore a large variety of two- and three-dimensional media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, and graphic design. Through experimentation students develop advanced problem solving techniques, critical thinking skills, a willingness to take risks, and the ability to self-reflect. Craftsmanship is an essential requirement of the art-making process. Choices of materials, work ethic, technique, and meaning are made with intention and ownership. Art is explored through the study of various artists, art forms, concepts, and themes from diverse cultures and time periods. Students strengthen cooperative skills and leadership abilities by designing and executing group projects. Children’s School art is displayed in the Louisa Performing Arts Center gallery space, the Early Childhood Center, and the Field House multiple times within the school year. Students are instilled with essential character traits and the tools to become 21st century creative learners.
The creative dramatics/theater arts curriculum involves the whole child through imaginative thinking and creative expression. Classes incorporate pantomime, dramatic play improvisation, role-playing and dramatization. The developmentally appropriate curriculum illuminates and explores the concepts of self-expression, actions and consequences, collaboration and communication. A separate part of the curriculum involves a formal theatre production process called Dessert Theater. During Dessert Theater each grade level performs an age appropriate play that is based on a classroom theme of study. These plays are presented to the school audience as well as the community public. Through this formal theatre participation, children develop skills in concentration, communication, and problem solving. The skills of follow-through, self discipline, responsibility and perseverance are taught and emphasized during the rehearsal process. Students come to understand their own creative process, while the collaborative act of theatre production fosters a balance between individual integrity and social cooperation.
The Children’s School General Music program provides students from grades Kindergarten through Fifth with varied learning experiences that encourage a life-long love and understanding of music. As students immerse themselves into music, they learn how to express their thoughts and then communicate with others. Classes are developmentally appropriate and designed to keep the joy of creating, making and experiencing music at the center focus. We sing, play, create, move and listen. Musical literacy is emphasized with the study of melody, rhythm, harmony, form and expression. Exploring the discipline of music utilizes and nurtures a wide range of higher order thinking skills while increasing self-motivation in thought and action. Music is an experience driven art form that requires active learning. Class and performance participation and collaboration provide opportunities for social development. In December all students perform a musical celebration in the Louisa Performing Arts Center called, Holiday Tea. Learning, rehearsing and performing various pieces of music in front of the school and members of the community develops self-discipline. Performing as a group strengthens a sense of community and teamwork and fosters a commitment toward achieving individual and group goals. The Holiday Tea experience encourages personal growth as students come to understand and accept the emotional, expressive qualities of music and the effect that it has on those around them. Students grow in their ability to comprehend their world when they learn music through the Children’s School Music program.
The Fourth Grade band looks and sounds a little different than your typical band. The students learn what it means to become an ensemble through the use of recorders, boomwhackers, and other group activities. Recorders are an effective way to unify the students on one instrument as they begin to discover the concepts involved in performing instrumental music. Recorders are used throughout the school year allowing students to learn more complicated rhythms, time signatures, tempos and dynamics, and in turn, more interesting music. All fourth grade students participate in this ensemble, providing an outstanding way to transition into the more traditional instrumental ensemble offered in fifth grade.
The more traditional look of a band begins to take shape in fifth grade as students learn to play woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments. A love for instrumental music is created as students discover and cultivate new talents found on their band instrument. These band students continue to learn about the fundamentals of music as they increase their understanding of rhythms and time, melody and harmony, expand their range of notes, and begin to understand how to listen within the ensemble. All fifth grade students participate in this ensemble and later join our Middle School Band.
Middle School Arts
Middle School Musical Theatre
Students from the sixth, seventh and eighth grade combine in this program. Students not only learn and reinforce basic theatre techniques, nomenclature of the stage, stage directions, and movement, but also produce and perform a main stage musical geared for the middle school-aged student. Students sing, dance, and act. Music and theory are reinforced during the rehearsal process. Opportunities exist for positions in the technical aspects of the theater including; makeup, costuming, set design, sound and lights, as well as box office, publicity, and ushering.
Middle School Band
Students from the sixth, seventh and eighth grades combine to create the band, developing knowledge, skill, and artistic sensitivity in performing instrumental music. The focus of study is on a wide range of music literature and styles. Students gain greater control of instrument technique, determine the factors that influence intonation and begin to adjust accordingly to produce a well-balanced and in-tune sound. They develop the ability to create an expressive interpretation of the music they perform, and learn the importance of teamwork within a large ensemble. Students participate in concerts given throughout the year including Black Forest League Band Day, the CSS Fall and Spring Concerts, the school’s Graduation Ceremony and other public performances.
Upper School Arts
The Upper School Arts program provides comprehensive training and exposure to a wide variety of artistic disciplines. The arts are considered equal to core subjects, with two years of arts classes required for graduation. Through diverse offerings, students are consistently challenged in creative problem-solving, refinement of artistic techniques, and adaptability to new forms of self-expression. The Art Department believes in educating the whole individual; students find themselves performing on stage through music, acting and dance, while producing visual art in such diverse areas as metal-casting, oil painting, darkroom photography, figure drawing, ceramics, graphic design, printmaking and glass-works. Classroom interaction and critique strengthen the student’s artistic voice, vision and ability to communicate effectively. Visiting professional artists provide connections to the greater community, reinforcing coursework within the studio environment of the arts classroom and often are an integral element of arts-related Experience-centered Seminars. Every individual is provided the tools and experiences required to participate in local and regional exhibitions and to perform for a wide range of audiences. Students are encouraged to enrich their resumes and develop personal portfolios for collegiate admissions, scholarships, personal growth, and to develop life long abilities in creative thinking and problem solving.
Upper School music education takes the adolescent voice to a mature level of competency. With the reinforcement of vocal safety in the middle years, the upper school school student approaches singing with confidence and knowledge. Course work focuses on developing the musical ear and voice using works that incorporate four-part harmony and a cappella styles. The technical aspects of singing, upper level theory and more difficult repertoire all work towards preparing students for college and beyond. Upper school choral students participate in two concerts during the winter and spring.
Upper school students who are interested in broadening their general knowledge of music explore the elements of music, composers and time periods in music, develop listening skills, disect songs and learn to create basic compositions. This is accomplished by using a wide range of musical styles and literature. Through listening, discussions and class projects, students acquire new tastes and a new perspective of music. Students also learn how music impacts and responds to society. Through listening and analysis, students learn to recognize the sound of each particular instrument, its function within the ensemble, and how both vocal and instrumental music have developed over time.
Upper School Band
This course places emphasis on the student’s ability to command or grasp the knowledge, skill, and artistic sensitivity that was discoveried and developed in the younger grades. The focus of study is on a wide range of music literature and styles. Students work to master technique, articulations, rhythms, dynamics, time signatures, intonation, balance and blend, expression, and establish a sense of teamwork within the ensemble. Students perform in concerts throughout the year including Black Forest League Band Day, the CSS Fall and Spring Concerts, the CSS Upper School Graduation Ceremony, and other public performances.
This is not an academic class; however, everyone knows that a school is nothing without Spirit. The energy and excitement generated by an enthusiastic student body turns a school into something more personal. The pep band is a group that creates this electrifying atmosphere, and drives both the school and its teams on to victory. All Middle School and Upper School band students are members of this awesome group. Our schedule is simple, but has a huge impact on our school. Pep Band performs at school pep rallies at a select number of athletic events.
Upper School Theatre