Middle School Arts


Students who choose to participate in this year-long arts elective gain confidence on stage, develop their vocal strength and clarity, and gain experience working as an ensemble. It is an exciting opportunity to be part of a full-scale musical, as well as to perform in the holiday concerts and numerous assemblies throughout the year.

Studio Art

The Middle School art program challenges students to incorporate increasingly advanced concepts and techniques in their artwork, such as using perspective to create the illusion of depth and learning to use the pottery wheel.



Students can choose to participate in this year-long arts elective. In band, our young musicians learn technical skills such as correct fingering, how to read music, embouchure (mouth position), breath control, articulation (how to begin and end a note), and how to refine their sound. The program includes weekly small group instrumental lessons in addition to full band rehearsals. Band students who are ready to expand their range of skills also have the opportunity to audition for the Middle School jazz improvisation ensemble.

Band students can choose to study a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, including:

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Baritone Horn
  • Guitar*
  • Bass Guitar*
  • Drums*

*Students who choose guitar, bass guitar, or drums are also required to study a woodwind or brass instrument.


Our performing dance companies are open to all with opportunities for advanced dancers to excel in our top dance companies.

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Graphic Design

In graphic design, students use key concepts learned in their visual arts classes and apply them to projects in the Graphics Lab. Using editing software from iPhoto, Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, they hone their design thinking through projects such as producing custom labels for products, creating their own comic book characters, and designing storybooks.

graphic design
graphic design

Music Technology

In music technology, students learn composing and arranging using applications such as Garageband, Apple’s LogicPro, and Digidesign’s ProTools. This will be a place where a students can learn how to become a sound engineer, a record producer and learn what goes on behind the scenes in the making and recording of music.


Middle School piano students have the opportunity to play in a variety of musical styles from classical to jazz, to expand their sight-reading and ear-training skills, and to practice composing their own pieces. Piano studies culminate in an annual Spring recital.

Fashion Design

Each project—from a bean-bag chair to a hand-appliquéd quilt—teaches fundamental skills ranging from embroidery stitches to understanding the three types of fabric grains. Practice with a measuring tape trains students to see dimension, and the opportunity to create their own fabric print deepens their understanding of color. Experienced students have the opportunity to pursue advanced techniques such as draping and fashion illustration, as well as to incorporate wearable technology into their designs.



In shop, Middle Schoolers work with power tools and learn more advanced techniques such as joinery, veneering, and steam-bending wood. The fall and winter projects change in order to introduce students to different aspects of woodworking. The Spring project focuses on Adirondack chairs. In addition to Adirondack chairs, students can also make settees, rocking chairs, footstools, or side tables.


Through class discussion, hands-on practice, and the study of work by professional photographers and photojournalists, students develop both the technical and aesthetic skills of photography. Students explore composition and framing, light control, and shooting techniques for a wide range of subjects from portraiture to landscapes. By the end of the course, students are proficient in taking projects from concept to finished work and have the foundational skills to pursue advanced photography in high school and college.

Visiting Artist Program

painting with visiting artist

Workshops with visiting artists enrich both the visual and performing arts at GCDS.

GCDS Concert Series

The bi-annual Michael Wood Memorial Concerts bring exceptional musicians to campus.