Chicago Grammar School

Middle School: Fine Arts

Music

As in Early Elementary, the Music Program in Middle School continues to be focused on developing cultural literacy and cognitive skills. To promote cultural literacy, the integration of music into the curriculum deepens in scope to include a survey of Music History. For example, while studying Greece, fifth graders may perform songs in the Dorian Mode. Sixth graders may research and sing folk songs from the Middle Ages. In the seventh grade, students learn to distinguish the “Baroque” sound, and in eighth grade they learn how to hear the difference between Classical and Romantic Music.

The music room is also a lab where the children develop skills on the recorder and keyboard.  It is a space where the children come together to make music.

Neuroscience suggests that music can improve cognitive development, and specifically, that rhythm instruction may have the strongest effect on temporal and sequencing tasks. Accordingly, in the CGS Middle School, rhythm instruction continues and increases in complexity.

Art

The CGS Art Program is designed to provide daily practice in creative thinking and non-verbal reasoning. All CGS students work in a wide range of 2-D and 3-D media, receiving direct instruction in technique and guidance towards developing a sense of aesthetics. As the students progress, instruction in technique is framed within the context of Art History.

Art is integrated within the curriculum, affording students hands-on opportunity to do something with the knowledge they are acquiring. For example, one might see students constructing new species out of clay for a biology project, a cartoon panel for a history project, or making topographical maps to chart the routes of the explorers as they analyze colonial expansion. In this manner, Art enables each student to create personal experiences that facilitate and reinforce their learning and recall.

Drama

Drama at CGS is also integrated with the literature, history, and science curriculum. During the year, students do re-enactments in the classroom. Twice a year, Middle School students participate in an all school performance. Past performances have included an adaptation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, A Canterbury Tales remix, and Oedipus Rex.