Semesters: one half
Students at St. George’s are engaged in opportunities to confidently develop critical thinking skills, perform well, and, with a sense of wonder, create art with purpose. Sixth graders participate in band, chorus, theatre, and the visual arts, each for one quarter of the year. Students are introduced to the basic skills necessary to perform in a vocal or instrumental ensemble: focus/concentration, ear training, sight singing, rhythm dictation, note recognition, and sight reading simple melodies and rhythms. The visual arts component is designed to introduce students, through practice, to the elements of art and the principles of design; and, through reflection, develop their intellectual and artistic acuity. Basic art-making skills, organizational skills, and peer-to-peer discussion of artwork are emphasized. In the theatre arts section, students are introduced to the basic concepts of theatre. They use various creative drama techniques to build ensemble, stimulate imagination, create movement, and role play, with an emphasis on developing authentic characters and situations. Along with performing and visual arts skills, students also gain an understanding of the expectations involved in performance and visual art classes to better prepare them to make an objective decision in opting into the fine arts in the future.
This year-long course is designed to encourage creative expression through theatre. From improvisation and game playing to writing and performing dramatic scenes, Theatre Communications focuses on helping each student become a confident performer and engaging storyteller. The class emphasis is on the adaptation of a variety of texts. Activities range from improvisation to mime to collaborative storytelling through art, music, and the spoken word. Students may elect to take this course in seventh and eighth grade. In this class, students establish core capabilities and develop the foundations and flexibility necessary for Theater I and II in the upper school.
This course is designed to introduce students to all aspects of theatre in a fun way. Utilizing improvisational theatre games, written dramatic texts, and videos of live productions, students challenge their imaginations. Major topics include theatre history, terminology, and approaches to design, directing, writing and acting. Students read, study, watch, and perform dramatic literature. They learn about theatre, reinforcing their work in other classes, through a historical perspective beginning with the Greeks and ending in Contemporary Theatre. Each student is encouraged to discover and develop their passion and skills in acting and technical theatre. Field trips to see live theatre are a part of the learning experience of this class.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Theatre or instructor’s approval
This course is an expansion of the basic principles discovered in Introduction to Theater Arts. Students learn empathy through exploring characters. Designed to be a performance-heavy class, they deepen their improvisational skills for both comedic and dramatic work. Students focus on character development and scene writing, learn how to approach a classical text from a performance point of view, and practice basic directing principles and advanced script analysis. Students read from a variety of social dramas, classical texts, and modern plays, as well as articles pertaining to the various disciplines. Field trips to see live theatre are a part of the learning experience of this class.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Theatre and Acting and Directing: Modes of Performance.
Production Workshop is an advanced acting and technical theatre course designed to strengthen the student’s skills in their chosen area of study. All students will be involved in both Technical Theatre and Acting throughout this course. Students will be responsible for selecting and performing one monologue, one duet scene, and participate in several one-act plays throughout the year, several of which will tour. Each student must be involved in both main stage productions. This involvement includes but is not limited to having an acting part, stage managing, running lights or sound, working running crew, or ushering/ running concessions. Students will create a portfolio of their work to be submitted for a grade once each semester. They will be graded daily by a grade contract between the student and the instructor. Students will also create both a theatre and an academic resume to be used for college and vocational interviews as needed. Units taught in this class include script scoring, the Meisner Technique, the Linklatter Method (Voice and Diction), and Stagecraft.
Prerequisite: must play an instrument at a basic level
Music is an essential part of the human experience. Everyone is musical, has a need for musical expression, and, through music, develops as humans in very unique ways. Music allows us to unleash our creativity in re-creation (interpretation) and in music creation (composition), and allows us to find unique ways to bring beauty into the world through sound, increasing our ability to understand others and clarify our own communications. At St. George’s, middle school students engage with all the elements of practical music-making, concentrating on the music of our region, allowing them to understand other cultures and places in an intimate way. Through the study of Jazz, Blues, Soul, and other American music, students learn about the complex relationships between society, music, and ideas, discover the critical rigors of music-making, working collaboratively to create something new within the framework of the past. Developing the kinesthetic and critical fundamentals of music: reading notation, sound production, technique, ensemble playing, dynamics, and style; performing repertoire of historical significance in the Delta, Memphis, and the Mid South, the St. George’s middle school band student becomes a lifelong musical human being. Note: Generally, students must secure their own instruments. The school does have a few instruments available on loan for students' time in the music program.
Gryphon Choir is comprised of male and female students in the 7th and 8th Grades. Students will study and prepare music to be sung at two concerts, one per semester, and at several other events throughout the school year, including but not limited to Chapel, performance workshops at the two Lower School Campuses, and pop-up performances at the Collierville Campus. Students in this ensemble will more thoroughly cover the fundamentals of music that were introduced in the 6th Grade Introduction to the Fine Arts course. Each student will practice music literacy skills such as pitch and rhythm reading, learn and be able to utilize a vocabulary of musical terminology, and explore how singing functions in our society and others. By the end of the 8th Grade, students will be ready to continue their choral practice in St. George’s Singers as 9th Grade students. Gryphons Choir students will also keep a class journal that will be stored in the Choir Room. Descriptions of journal assignments are described in the Journals section of the handbook.
St. George’s singers will study and prepare music to be sung at two concerts, one per semester, and at several other events throughout the school year, including but not limited to Chapel, performance workshops at the two Lower School Campuses, and pop-up performances at the Collierville Campus. Students in St. George’s Singers will practice and study musical concepts that are more advanced. The material covered during rehearsals will help to prepare them for choral opportunities such as honor choirs, All State, and collaboration with other choirs. Students are encouraged to audition for these opportunities and help will be available during office hours, both before and after school. St. George’s Singers will dive deeply into a variety of styles of music and will explore the connections that exist between them and the people who created the music and how it is used within different societies. Students will also continue to refine their music literacy skills by practicing more complex combinations of pitch and rhythm, as well as learning and performing more difficult repertoire.
Music is an essential part of the human experience. Everyone is musical, has a need for musical expression, and, through music, develop as humans in very unique ways. Music allows us to unleash our creativity in re-creation (interpretation) and in music creation (composition) and allows us to find unique ways to bring beauty into the world through sound, increasing our ability to understand others and clarify our own communications.
At St. George’s, American Music Ensemble students engage with all the elements of practical music-making, concentrating on the music of our region, allowing them to understand other cultures and places in an intimate way. Through the study of Jazz, Pop, Rock, and other American music, students analyze the complex relationships between society, music, and the exchange of ideas, discover the critical rigors of music-making, and work collaboratively to create something new within the framework of the past.
Students can look forward to developing the kinesthetic and critical fundamentals of creating music: chord/scale theory, sound production, technique, ensemble playing, composition, and style; performing repertoire of both historical significance in the Delta, Memphis, and the Mid-south; engaging in critical listening, creating new music, and using technology to capture and share their work. St. George’s American Music Ensemble students develop a sense of wonder and curiosity grounded in confidence and open-mindedness.
Visual Art 7 & 8 is offered as a year-long course, with a curriculum focus on teaching students to communicate their ideas visually by building upon their prior knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design. Students are introduced to new media such as printmaking, collage, painting, and sculpture and techniques to assist them in refining their basic art-making skills. Students build on inquiry skills and grow in their aesthetic vocabulary as they explore the meaning of art and focus on both the process and the product of art making. Students may elect to take this course in the seventh and eighth grades. Students establish core capabilities and develop the foundations and flexibility necessary for Introduction to Visual Arts in the ninth grade and beyond.
The Introduction to Visual Arts class is a year-long foundations class in which the students cover a vast spectrum of art concepts. Students focus on new techniques and ways of making art using their mastery of the elements of art and principles of design. Students’ drawing skills are developed at a higher level through more complex projects. An array of art media is used including graphite, paint, clay, ink, printmaking, pastels, and more. Class critiques encourage students to take healthy risks as they design, create art, and self-assess through observation and reflection. Lessons are created to help students gain self-knowledge, as well as a global awareness of a variety of artists from different cultures and backgrounds. Class field trips and visiting artists are incorporated into the curriculum.
Prerequisite: IVA or instructor’s approval
Visual Arts II is designed for those students who are ready to embrace a challenge in the arts. In this intermediate course, students continue to improve their skills in observing, envisioning, innovating, and reflecting through creating more complex projects. An array of art media is used including graphite, charcoal, printmaking, clay, paint, mixed media, and found objects. Students develop an appreciation for artwork of the past and present through classroom readings and writing assignments, as well as enhancing their ability to talk about their work and the work of others in classroom critiques. Class field trips and visiting artists are incorporated into the curriculum.
Semesters: one (Fall)
Drawing is an introductory-level course aimed at improving students' technical proficiency, as well as clarifying an understanding of the basic elements of visual language. Drawing from direct observation is emphasized as students learn skills of proportion and various spatial strategies, including perspective and foreshortening. Students are also encouraged to experiment, play with the materials, and work from their imaginations to find their own creative approach to visual problem solving. Media includes graphite, charcoal, Conte crayons, pastels, and ink. Individual and group critiques are held regularly. Guest artists, field trips, readings, research, and art history, as pertinent to each unit project, are introduced.
Semesters: one (Spring)
Painting is an introductory-level course designed to improve students' understanding of the basic elements of visual language through the expression of painting. Included in this course are color theory, perception, composition, art history, and specific techniques in handling acrylics, watercolor, mixed media, and other paint medium. Students also use the sketchbook as a tool for technical experimentation and conceptual development. Individual and group critiques are held regularly. Guest artists, field trips, readings, research, and art history, as pertinent to each unit project, are introduced.
Semester: one (Fall)
Prerequisite: instructor’s approval
In this course students are challenged to find ways to communicate ideas by emphasizing content, composition, and technique. Students use cell phones to create, edit, critique images and to become insightful thinkers. Students learn the fundamentals of composition, lighting, black and white, color, photo editing, and more. Students create a photo-based website to showcase their images and engage in peer critiques. Students research important historical figures in photography, such as Ansel Adams and Margaret Bourke-White, as well as the works of dynamic contemporary and global photographers, such as Jerry Uelsmann, Regine Mahaux, and Maggie Taylor. Guest artists, field trips, readings, research, and art history, as pertinent to each unit project, are introduced.
Semester: one (Spring)
Prerequisite: IVA or instructor's approval
This course introduces students to the visual language of printmaking and the making of multiple images. Students learn about all four major areas of printmaking: relief, intaglio, screen printing, and lithography. In addition to these traditional techniques students are exposed to non-traditional digital printmaking as another possibility for creative expression. Students gain experience working with digital print technology which makes it possible to include a painting, drawing, or photography into a print and allows for further manipulation. Students research the work of some of the most exciting artists working in the field today, including Richard Hamilton, Roni Horn, Masami Teraoka, Kara Walker, and Oscar Munos. Guest artists, field trips, readings, research, and art history, as pertinent to each unit project, are introduced.
Prerequisite: Visual Arts II and instructor's approval.
Advanced Art is for the individual student artist who is fearless in his or her pursuit of a personal artistic voice. Students may elect to take this course both their junior and senior years. The focus of this class is to enhance student creativity through flexible forms of thinking, and to also learn more about a particular field of art, develop a portfolio, and experience the challenges and triumphs of juried competitive shows and themed exhibitions. Students advance in their visual-spatial abilities, reflective aspects, and experimentation skills resulting in mastery of basic principles of aesthetics. The small class size, as well as the project-based, student-centered curriculum, provides individualized attention and prepares student artists for college and careers in the arts. Class field trips and visiting artists are incorporated into the curriculum.
Semesters: one (Fall and/or Spring)
Prerequisite: instructor’s approval
The primary emphasis of this class is on studio work leading to a portfolio of finished pieces by the end of the semester. While the focus is on the development of basic technique for throwing pots on the potter’s wheel, students also have the option to create works of art in clay through the processes of hand building using coils and slabs. Craftsmanship, creativity, and an appreciation for the elements that are inherent to well-made functional pottery are stressed in this class. Students learn how to finish their pieces with various types of glaze and firing techniques. Students learn about a variety of clay artists from different cultures as inspiration for their own art and to expand their knowledge and appreciation of ceramic arts. Students interested in developing their skills further may take this course for two semesters.
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