The Arts flourish at the GNS Middle School: the students have developed a strong foundation from their years at the Junior School; they have gained the confidence to experiment with and trust their creative intuition; and they are at that wonderful age during which they start to refine their skills and produce truly impressive works of art.
Our unique orbiting timetable calls for students to specialize in one of band, choir, drama, or art every year at the Middle School level, and then affords them the chance to study the other arts, as they fit in with their individual schedules. Over the years, this system has proven successful as it provides students with a well-rounded arts education, while also allowing them to concentrate on the art that speaks to them as individuals. We have found the orbiting timetable improves our students’ skills in music, art and drama; bolsters their passion for the arts; and offers exceptional preparation for further specialization at the Senior level.
Orbiting Arts Timetable
- Grade 6: Year-round band with one semester each of choir, drama and visual arts.
- Grade 7: Year-round visual arts with the option for one fine arts elective.
- Grade 8: Year-round drama with the option for one fine arts elective.
Beginning in Grade 6, all GNS students learn a wind, brass, or percussion instrument and join the Beginner Band. In Grades 7 and 8, students may choose band as an elective. The Middle School Concert Band plays at several public performances, including city competitions.
(Please note that new students coming into Grade 7 or 8 must have previous experience or be prepared to take private lessons for one year in order to be accepted into the band. Classes are scheduled so that students may take both Band and Choir.)
The Middle School Jazz Band is co-curricular, open to all Grade 7 and 8 students who are registered in band class. This group attracts students who are dedicated to achieving a high level of musical skill, and the repertoire challenges them accordingly. Jazz band students receive an introductory education in jazz, which covers musical style, jazz standards, and famous jazz musicians and composers. The Jazz Band performs at public events and competitions and requires strong commitment from its players.
Mandatory in Grades 6 and 8, the dramatic arts build confidence in public speaking and performance and introduce students to the thrill of being on stage.
Every spring, the Middle School presents a full-length show to a public audience. Known for choosing bright, high-energy shows, such as Pippi Longstocking and Tom Sawyer, this after-school club attracts over 50 students, who take part in all aspects of the production, both on stage and behind the scenes. No matter the size of their part, every student gives their all, proudly showcasing the passion they have poured into the production.
By the time they arrive at the Middle School, students feel comfortable experimenting with different genres in art class: painting, sketching, papier mâché, pottery, sculpture, self-portrait, and landscape.
With minds and spirits open, their understanding of artistic concepts like colour, shape, line, and perspective expands quickly, showing vast improvement in the quality and maturity of their work.
Following the IB philosophy, several art projects involve internationalism, like reproducing a painting in the same style as a foreign artist, and some incorporate other disciplines, like research and writing: students choose a Canadian artist to study; they re-create one of their pieces, and create a second, unique piece in the artist’s style.
Work by Middle School students is diplayed in an art show every year and Art Club is a popular Middle School co-curricular.
Middle School Choir is open to all students who want to improve their vocal skills and learn to sing in a group. Students in Grade 6 receive one term of choir as part of the curriculum; students in Grades 7 and 8 may choose Concert Choir as an elective course.
All Middle School students can participate in Concert Choir as a co-curricular.