The visual and performing arts are of central importance to dynamic, innovative lives. JMSG classes aim to foster a love for both creating and experiencing the visual and performing arts. Through a multicultural lens, our classes celebrate many art forms and genres, offering opportunities to explore creative expression with ever-increasing skill and craft.
How We Teach
The three overarching goals for the visual arts program are to build visual literacy skills, develop artistic growth mindset, and help students take positive artistic risks. Visual arts focus on the creative process and development of technical skills in a variety of media. Student artists have opportunities to express themselves in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles. Studio projects correlate with topics studied in other classes, refer to art from diverse cultures, and include exposure to contemporary artists. Other projects involve students' explorations of personal identity and societal issues through sculpture, large-scale mixed-media compositions, printmaking, and other techniques. Students broaden their perceptions of what art is, how it is created and by whom, and art's vital role in our contemporary culture and past history. By developing skills with tools and gaining a deeper understanding of the narrative aspect of artworks, students hone their ability to effectively communicate through the visual arts.
The music program is designed to allow students to explore the music they enjoy on their own in a new and intentional way. Through active listening exercises, they learn to appreciate diverse genres of music, and to recognize and discern different instruments. Students are introduced to rhythmic concepts like meter and various elements of song-structure. As a group, students participate in creating music with Orff-instruments (xylophones and a variety of percussion instruments), engaging at every level of individual talent, ability, and exposure. Individually, focused practice with the ukulele helps teach chord theory; the study of either clarinet or trumpet encourages discipline and persistence. Students work to develop vocal independence through singing in different song forms. They explore music history observing how music has evolved over time. In sixth grade, music class adds drama as they rehearse for the annual class musical. In seventh grade, students not only compose their own pieces, but rehearse their instruments, singing, dancing, and even create their own choreography for the Spring Concert!
In the seventh grade modern dance, students engage and extend their creativity, awareness, and appreciation of the vibrant language of dance. In this playful, energetic class, students explore structured improvisation exercises, build skills in short combinations, and create their own choreography. The class combines imagination, personal expression, technical movement skills, varied inspiration sources, and dance vocabulary in a fun, supportive environment. Performance opportunities include flashmobs and concerts.
After two years of broad exposure to the visual and performing arts, eighth graders choose elective courses that give a deep dive into specialized areas. Courses run half the year with offerings that allow for more focused skill development, collaboration, and creation of a polished product.
After 3 years of Arts at JMSG, a graduate will:
evaluate her own and other’s work,
articulate her understanding of and response to artistic media,
celebrate failure as a launch point for innovation,
be aware of rich traditions, cultural diversity, and historical contexts in each field,
collaborate by practicing and seeking cooperation, cohesion, vulnerability, and curiosity in collective endeavors,
combine multiple skills and techniques to manifest an artistic vision,
apply craftsmanship to creative products,
think outside the box, and
balance fun and creativity with discipline and knowledge.