At ISO, we are committed to nurturing our students’ development in Music and the Dramatic Arts. Courses in the Performing Arts are offered at each grade level, PK-12, and are integrated into various school activities throughout the year including, but not limited to the Celebration of the Arts, WAISAL tournaments, assemblies, an annual musical, performance and instruction from visiting musicians and high school graduation.
The elementary school music program at ISO begins in Pre-Kindergarten with the goal of developing tuneful and artful musicianship. The curriculum is designed to build a foundation of musical skills to enable our students to appreciate, participate in and enjoy music as they continue into upper school and beyond. The program also highlights the importance of music as a means of communication, creativity and expression throughout all cultures. The curriculum includes: singing (in-tune singing, rounds, part-songs, harmonizing); playing instruments (non-pitched percussion, xylophones, metallophones, and recorders in the 4th and 5th grades); moving (beat, rhythm, body percussion, clapping games, folk dances and creative movement); listening (classical, folk, world music, jazz and contemporary); creating (improvisation, short melodic and rhythmic compositions) and reading (3rd-5th grade). Performance is an integral part of ISO’s music instruction and all elementary students perform in Celebration of the Arts evenings in December and May and at school assemblies throughout the year.
In upper school, music is an elective. 6th, 7th and 8th grade can join the middle school band in which they will deepen their theoretical and musicological knowledge through projects and collaboration with other classes or special guests. They are introduced to web-based resources such as Noteflight to work on composition units, and other software like Audacity and GarageBand. Each student learns to play a wind instrument and to perform standard band repertoire. The High School band focuses on jazz repertoire and includes the drum set and electric bass as instruments. The students also work with the Guitar class to put together well- known songs for special events.
The Guitar Class, another high school elective, is designed as a chance for students to pursue musical passion, proficiency, and appreciation from alternative perspectives. The class is open to high school students at all levels of experience and proficiency, including those who have been playing guitar for years as well as those who would like to try a new instrument. Topics include: basic skills and techniques, chord theory, improvisation, performance, the basics of composition, digital music production, and modes of audio-visual storytelling (the music video).
Performing Arts are mandatory quarter classes for students in the 6th through 9th grade, and an elective at the high school level. In middle school, students are introduced to a variety of short projects covering multiple aspects of the performing arts: pantomime, improvisation
, dance, percussion, magic, sound effects and film music, shadow puppetry, musical theatre as well as the basic techniques of acting. They are given many opportunities to perform for their peers and do collaborative work with Visual Arts students. In high school, the course is geared more towards acting techniques and playwriting with the opportunity to perform for an ISO audience at least twice during the year.
After school, our students from 4th to 12th grade are able to expand their intellect and artistry and participate in the annual Musical production, a highlight of the ISO school year. Students can build their skills in the performing arts through acting & singing on stage as part of the cast. They can also be involved behind the scenes in the essential aspects of set design, creating stage props, back-stage crew and stage management. In 2017-2018, Seussical Jr. will be performed. Previous musicals have included Aladdin Jr., Fame Jr., One Smart Pig and Once on this Island Jr.