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Performing Arts

The Middle School Performing Arts Department offers a diverse selection of classes and co-curricular programs in dance, drama, and music. Students explore their passion as dancers, actors, and musicians in a sequential classroom program catering to all student levels and interests. In addition to the classroom program, students have the opportunity to audition for the middle school musical each year in which our dancers, musicians, and drama students collaborate. As part of the middle school musical, students also participate in preparing sets, props, and lighting design through our Technical Theater program. Middle school music students also have the option of preparing auditions for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) Honor Ensembles that convene throughout the year at varying schools around Asia. Middle school drama students travel annually to an ISTA Drama festival to collaborate with students throughout the Asia region.

Taipei American School offers students excellent facilities in which to hone their art. Our school has a 21st century auditorium with an orchestra pit, a black box theater, an additional small theater, middle school drama workshop room, and middle school dance studio. There are large ensemble rehearsal areas for choir, band, and orchestra, and numerous other music classrooms for small group instruction, including practice rooms for students to work individually.

The curricular and co-curricular program showcase student excellence in the performing arts through numerous large and small scale concerts and productions during the year.

Band

Grade 6 Band Ensemble
The Grade 6 Band Ensemble provides instruction for beginning level band students. Students receive group instrumental instruction in a performance-based ensemble setting while focusing on the beginning development of instrumental tone, technique, and musicianship. The formation of good playing habits and strong fundamental playing techniques is at the heart of all instruction for this course. Significant time will be devoted to acquiring appropriate ensemble skills for performance and listening. The class also provides opportunities for learning in listening, music theory, and beginning experiences in creating and improvising music. Students will experience a diverse musical repertoire including both band repertoire and technical studies. Technology is used to further musical learning and specialized music software such as SmartMusic, Musition, and Sibelius is an important aspect of students’ experience and learning in band.

Grade 6 Advanced Band
The Grade 6 Advanced Band provides instruction for advanced level band students. Students receive group instrumental instruction in a performance-based ensemble setting while focusing on the ongoing development of instrumental tone, technique, and musicianship. Significant time will be devoted to acquiring appropriate ensemble skills for performance and listening. In addition, the class provides opportunities for learning in listening, music theory, and beginning experiences in creating and improvising music. Students will experience a diverse musical repertoire including both band repertoire and technical studies. Technology is used to further musical learning and specialized music software such as SmartMusic, Musition, and Sibelius is an important aspect of students’ experience and learning in band.

Both the Grade 6 Band Ensemble and Grade 6 Advanced Band perform at the end of semester concerts.

Grade 7 and 8 Beginning Band
The Grade 7 - 8 Beginning Band provides entry-level instruction on band instruments for beginners as well as students changing instruments. Several weeks are spent trying every instrument. Students are counseled to select the instrument best suited for them based on their physical characteristics (teeth, jaw, hand size, etc.) and the common instrumental needs of band programs. Students receive group instrumental instruction in a performance-based ensemble setting while focusing on the beginning development of instrumental tone, technique, and musicianship. The formation of good playing habits and strong fundamental playing techniques is at the heart of all instruction for this course, but significant time will be devoted to acquiring appropriate ensemble skills for performance and listening. In addition, the class provides opportunities for learning in music theory and beginning experiences in creating and improvising music. Students will experience a diverse musical repertoire, including both band repertoire and technical studies. Technology is used to further musical learning and specialized music software such as SmartMusic, Musition, and Sibelius is an important aspect of students’ experience and learning in band. The Beginning Band performs at the end of semester concerts.

Grade 7 and 8 Cadet Band
The Cadet Band provides instruction for intermediate band students in Grades 7 and 8. Students receive group instrumental instruction in a performance-based ensemble setting while focusing on the development of instrumental tone, technique, and musicianship. In addition to performing, the class provides opportunities for learning in listening, analyzing, music theory, and rudimental composition. As a performing ensemble, the students explore a variety of musical styles including exploration in jazz improvisation. Technology is used to further musical learning and specialized music software such as SmartMusic, Musition, and Sibelius is an important aspect of students’ experience and learning in band. The Cadet Band performs at the end of semester concerts.

Grade 7 and 8 Concert Band
The Concert Band provides instruction for advanced band students in Grades 7 and 8. Students receive group instrumental instruction in a performance-based ensemble setting while focusing on the ongoing development of instrumental tone, technique, and musicianship. In addition to performing, the class provides opportunities for learning in listening, analyzing, music theory, and rudimental composition. As a performing ensemble, the students explore a variety of musical styles including exploration in jazz improvisation. Technology is used to further musical learning and specialized music software such as SmartMusic, Musition, and Sibelius is an important aspect of students’ experience and learning in band. The Concert Band performs at the end of semester concerts.

Choir

Grade 6 Choir
The Grade 6 Choir is a performance-based class that bridges the vocal development of the elementary and early adolescent singer. Students are exposed to a wide variety of genres and sing in two or three-part harmony. Repertoire consists of age-appropriate material including accessible texts in English and different languages. Careful attention is devoted to voice development. Sight-reading is taught through music and warm-up exercises. Technology is integrated in the second semester through the use of Musition and Google Classroom as students learn music theory, set, and reflect on quarterly goals and concert performances. The Grade 6 Choir performs at the end of semester concerts, the Vocal Festival, and informal events.

Middle School Choir (Grades 7 and 8)
The middle school choir is a performance-based course that continues the vocal development of the early adolescent singer. Students are exposed to a wide variety of genres and sing in different languages. Repertoire emphasizes significant poetic texts and composers who write specifically for adolescents. Sight-reading is taught through music and warm-up exercises. Technology is integrated through use of Musition and Google Classroom as they learn music theory, set, and reflect on quarterly goals and concert performances. Students perform a voice check and video record their singing at least once each quarter to document progress. Through performances on and off-campus, students develop expressiveness, establish a foundation of teamwork, and cultivate self-confidence. The middle school choir performs at the end of semester concerts, the Vocal Festival, and informally at community events (such as Back to School Night).

Drama

Drama 6:
Duration: 1 Quarter
Drama has an important role to play in the personal development of a student. The skills and qualities developed in drama, such as teamwork, creativity, leadership, and risk-taking, are assets in all subjects and areas of life. Drama allows students to explore issues and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. The Grade 6 drama program covers the following units of work: Silent Movies, Storytelling Techniques, Horror, The Witches by Roald Dahl, Stimulus, and an Introduction to Shakespeare. Students are assessed on their devising skills as well as their performance abilities.

Drama 7:
Duration: 1 Quarter
Drama has an important role to play in the personal development of a student. The skills and qualities developed in drama, such as teamwork, creativity, leadership, and risk-taking, are assets in all subjects and areas of life. Drama allows students to explore issues and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. The Grade 6 drama program covers the following units of work: Silent Movies, Storytelling Techniques, Horror, The Witches by Roald Dahl, Stimulus, and an Introduction to Shakespeare. Students are assessed on their devising skills as well as their performance abilities.

Drama 8:
Duration: 1 Quarter
Drama has an important role to play in the personal development of a student. The skills and qualities developed in drama, such as teamwork, creativity, leadership, and risk-taking, are assets in all subjects and areas of life. Drama allows students to explore issues and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. The Grade 8 drama program covers the following units of work: Effective Storytelling, Physical Theater, Cross-Cutting, Blood Brother, Duologues, Improvisation, and Didactic Theater. Students have the opportunity to look at a range of theater styles, drama practitioners, work from script, and devise their own work for performance. Students are monitored on their teamwork, leadership, and risk-taking abilities as well as their developing drama skills. Students are assessed on devising, performance, and critical response.

Middle School Dance
Middle school dance identifies and demonstrates movement elements and performance skills while also providing an understanding of choreographic principles and processes, and their use to communicate meaning. The class involves a wide range of dance training and choreography. Students have the opportunity to develop their dance skills and use their creativity to create a range of dynamic pieces. No prior dance training is needed and all students with an interest or any level of experience are welcome. This class is offered to all Grades 7 and 8 students. This is an alternative choice to a music class.

Strings

Grade 6 String Ensemble
The Grade 6 String Ensemble provides instruction for students with previous experience on an orchestral string instrument. Emphasis is given to providing a musical foundation for success as lifelong learners on their chosen instrument, nurturing ensemble playing, and developing music literacy in a 1:1 laptop environment. Orchestra music is chosen to reflect a variety of styles and to provide an appropriate challenge for intermediate players.

Grade 6 Orchestra
The Grade 6 Orchestra provides instruction for students with previous experience on an orchestral string instrument. Emphasis is given to providing a musical foundation for success as lifelong learners on their chosen instrument, nurturing ensemble playing, and developing music literacy in a 1:1 laptop environment. Orchestra music is chosen to reflect a variety of styles and to provide an appropriate challenge for advanced players.

Both the Grade 6 String Ensemble and the Grade 6 Orchestra perform at the end of semester concerts, and selected small ensembles of Grade 6 students are called upon to participate in the Lunar Strings Festival.

Grade 7 Cadet Orchestra
The Cadet Orchestra provides instruction in the continuing development of musicianship for Grades 7 and 8 students with previous experience on an orchestral string instrument. Emphasis is given to nurturing a lifelong appreciation of music performance through the development of musical independence and expression, ensemble citizenship and teamwork, technical skills, and music literacy in a 1:1 laptop environment. Orchestra music is chosen to reflect a variety of styles and to provide an appropriate challenge for intermediate players. The students develop increasing awareness of orchestra instrumentation and are given opportunities to develop versatility on an alternate instrument such as viola or bass. The Cadet Orchestra performs at the end of semester concerts.

Grade 7 and 8 Concert Orchestra
The Concert Orchestra provides instruction in a variety of musical styles for advanced string students in Grades 7 and 8. Emphasis is placed on the musicianship and technical skills required for higher level solo and orchestral repertoire performance in addition to the development of a lifelong appreciation of music. Students are given opportunities to develop versatility on an alternate instrument such as viola or bass. In addition to performance, the class provides opportunities for critical listening and uses technology to develop music theory skills that will enhance performance. The Concert Orchestra performs at the end of semester concerts and in the Lunar String Concert.

Music Technology

Grades 7 and 8 Music Mix

Music Mix is a non-performance-based music class that provides Grades 7 and 8 students opportunities in creating music. Students explore the different elements of music: melody, rhythm, harmony, form, timbre, and expression. Students learn how to manipulate these elements to create their own music. In addition, students also study major music theory concepts, do focused listening, and study important concepts that affect music and its usage today. Topics include music copyright, fair use, and creative commons, as well as the affects and implications of technology on music in today’s society. Technology plays a large role in helping Music Mix students develop a strong skill set in creating music. For example, students use specialized music software to create original music compositions, videos and animations, and recordings.  

Middle School Brochure