Fine & Performing Arts

At CSS, the arts are considered equally as important as academics, and allow our students to develop an appreciation for process-based discovery and innovation while building confidence and self-assurance. CSS teachers are professional artists who inspire daily creativity from our students.

Children's School

Children's School

Visual Arts
The Children’s School visual art curriculum is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation for aesthetics. Lessons are designed to help students develop comfort and fluency in the arts. In their early years, students explore a wide range 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.

Theatre Arts
The School's theatre arts curriculum engages the whole child through imaginative thinking and creative expression. Classes incorporate pantomime, dramatic play improvisation, role-playing and dramatization. This developmentally appropriate curriculum illuminates and explores concepts of self-expression and actions and consequences, as well as collaboration and communication.

Dessert Theatre
Dessert Theatre is a signature program of the Children’s School. This experience encourages students to discover their creative voices within the context of a larger group working toward a common goal. The program allows Kindergarten through 5th Grade students the freedom to explore the world through characters while solving problems, growing their communication skills and gaining confidence. Each Children’s School class presents a Dessert Theatre performance in which they combine performing arts with one of their Themes of Study. Performing on stage gives children opportunities to share what they’ve learned and to develop confidence and poise. Presenting their theme also helps students retain knowledge gained during their classroom studies. They learn to work together and incorporate their classmates' ideas while figuring out how to compromise.

Music
The Children’s School Music program provides students Grades Kindergarten through five with varied learning experiences that encourage an understanding and life-long love of music. As students immerse themselves in music, they learn how to express their thoughts and communicate with others. Classes are developmentally appropriate and promote the joys of creating, making and experiencing music.

Band
The 4th-grade Band at CSS looks and sounds a little different than your typical band. Students learn what it means to become an ensemble through the use of recorders, boomwhackers and other group instruments. Recorders unify students, 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.

Middle School

Middle School

6th Grade Arts Foundations
In the 6th grade, students begin with an Arts Foundation curriculum cycle. This exciting, year-long course is tailored to rising 6th grade students and exposes them to the following three disciplines:

  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts

Each subject matter allows students to establish a firm foothold as they enter the Middle School Arts program, with lessons that build off of the Children's School arts curriculum. As the year progresses, students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge and to take new risks while exploring the arts at a developmentally -appropriate pace.

Music
Playing an instrument engages both sides of the brain. It impacts fine motor skills, helps to refine listening skills and enhances memory. This section of 6th Grade Arts Foundations gives students an edge in advancing their basic knowledge and understanding of music, as they participate in the School's Band program and develop their basic vocal skills throughout the year. By exercising their vocal cords, students can – in turn – train their ears, which helps to build musicianship with any instrument. Both instrumental and vocal development are also said to bolster confidence and foster creativity.

Although Middle School Band is by no means a “Beginners Band” experience, students who are new to the CSS community, or to an instrument, are provided with the support needed to successfully integrate themselves into the Band. Students that find themselves in this situation will receive support from the band director, their MS Band peers, and US Band mentors. 6th Grade students will participate in both the Winter and Spring Concerts as well as the school’s Graduation Ceremony.

Theatre
In Theatre Arts, students continue to develop their acting toolbox and work – as an ensemble – on skills they've established in the Children’s School at CSS. Students also enhance their theatrical terminology and vocabulary, dive deeper into characterization and scene study, and explore theatre criticism as well as the relationship between theatre arts and life. This year of study culminates in a final performance piece to prepare students for the Theatre at Play class, which includes participation in a full-length production.

Visual Arts
Students complete two- and three-dimensional projects as part of the Visual Arts course curriculum at CSS. A wide variety of media is incorporated, as students focus on the elements and principles of art and design. An overview of skills in drawing, composition, color theory and three-dimensional materials are practiced. Art units are designed to creatively engage students and provide a broad overview, preparing them with the skills and techniques necessary for future Visual Arts classes.

7th and 8th Grade Arts
Students in grades 7 and 8 choose two (2) arts courses each semester.

Band
Band is a year-long course of study that places emphasis on developing student's knowledge, skills, and artistic sensitivity through the performance of instrumental music. Focus of study includes a wide range of music literature and styles. Students also gain greater control of technique, articulations, rhythms, dynamics, time signatures, intonation, balance and blend, and expression, develop leadership skills, and learn the importance of teamwork. A number of concerts and additional opportunities to perform occur throughout the year, including CSS Winter and Spring Concerts, the school’s Graduation Ceremony, and the possibility of other public performances.

Theatre
Middle School Theatre course selection ranges from Theatre Arts to Theatre at Play. These courses are built upon the belief that every student serves as an important part of a community where drama is created. Each course is designed to provide students with a chance to get involved in the craft at a very personal level. During the Middle School years, coursework embraces a more informed critical approach to the study of theatre. Whether producing a show of their own in Theatre at Play or studying the inner-workings of theatre behind the scenes in Theatre Arts class, students learn and develop important skills. Particular emphasis is placed on creativity, communication, collaboration, and stretching boundaries and imaginations. Overall, each student has the opportunity to become immersed in their own creative instincts, to build self-confidence in their personal creative abilities, and to grow as a human being.

Visual Arts
Middle School Visual Arts continues to build on the learning that students bring with them from our 6th Grade Arts Foundations, and from experiences obtained at other schools or via the larger community. Students are encouraged to take risks using a wide variety of mediums, themes, and purposes.

The Middle School Arts Program also hosts Artist in Residence each year. This time-honored program allows Middle School students the opportunity to expand their artistic horizons. Visiting artists from the community are invited to teach courses on unique topics over a three-week period, exposing students to new mediums and highly skilled arts professionals. It is an opportunity to draw from a community of experts and professionals during a period of short-term, but intensive study including a wide range of disciplines that dive deep into theatre, music, dance, sculpture, painting, and much more.

Upper School

Upper School

Visual Arts
The Upper School Visual Arts program at CSS provides comprehensive training and exposure to a wide array of artistic disciplines. We educate the whole individual; Students produce visual art in the form of metal-casting, oil painting, darkroom photography, figure drawing, ceramics, graphic design, printmaking and glass-blowing. Classroom interactions and constructive criticism strengthen the student’s artistic voice, vision, and ability to communicate effectively, allowing them to refine their artistic techniques and adapt to new forms of self-expression. Visiting professional artists provide connections to the greater community and are often an integral element of arts-related Experience-Centered Seminars.

Choir
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 student approaches singing with confidence and knowledge. Coursework 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 a more difficult repertoire prepare students for college and beyond. CSS Upper School choral students participate in two concerts each year in the winter and spring.

Music Appreciation
Upper School students interested in broadening their general knowledge of music explore the elements of sound and musical composition across different eras, develop listening skills, dissect songs and learn to create basic compositions. This is accomplished via a wide range of musical styles and literature. Through listening, discussions and class projects, students acquire new tastes and a new outlook on music. Students also learn how music impacts and responds to society. Through listening and analysis, students learn to recognize the sound of each instrument, its function within the ensemble, and how both vocal and instrumental music has developed over time.

Band
This course places emphasis on the student’s ability to command or grasp the knowledge, skill, and artistic sensitivity discovered and developed in CSS's younger grades. Course study focuses on a wide range of musical literature and styles, as students work to master technique, articulations, rhythms, dynamics, time signatures, intonation, balance and blend, and expression, and establish a sense of teamwork within the ensemble.

Pep Band
Although this is not an academic class, 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 and meaningful. The pep band is a group that electrifies the crowd, driving both the School and its teams on toward victory.

Theatre
The Colorado Springs School's high-quality, dynamic drama program offers a wide variety of productions – from Shakespeare to Broadway musicals – to approximately one-third of Upper School student thespians annually. Students may find themselves performing on stage through music, acting, and dance, or helping backstage to showcase breathtaking performances. The Upper School puts on two major productions each year, as well as a musical Revue in the fall.