Middle School Arts


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.


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 concert and the biannual Celebration of Freedom.

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Our performing dance companies are an audition only dance experience open to students in grade 4 and above. Students in Pounce (grade 4) and Pride-2 (grades 5 - 6) receive intensive instruction in theater dance, ballet, lyrical, and tap. The Wild Cats is a boys hip hop group open to Middle School students. Dance classes meet after school and on weekends.

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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 computer lab. Using editing software from iPhoto to Photoshop, they hone their ability to use different techniques through projects such as producing custom labels for products, creating their own comic book characters, and designing storybooks. In sixth grade, they also explore the movie-making process, using programs such as iMovie and Spore to learn the basics of special effects and coordinating video with audio tracks.


In Middle School, students learn rhythms, melodies and musical forms through singing, moving and playing Orff instruments and recorders. Fourth grade musicians create a Fiesta to enhance their study of Mexico, while fifth graders learn Civil War music to prepare them to travel to Gettysburg. By sixth grade, students are independent musicians, demonstrating their musical knowledge through improvisation and collaboration in small groups.

Music Technology

"Introduction to Music Technology" is a course in which all fifth and sixth grade students participate. Students learn to use the synthesizers and software programs as they explore the key elements of music in order to create their own arrangements.


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.


Students in grades 4 – 6 can choose to take sewing during the sign-up period from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. In grade 4, students are introduced to stitching through projects such as creating a stuffed animal or apron. In grade 5, they make a pillow or throw blanket using the nine-square quilting method; and, in grade 6, students have the option to make a bean-bag chair, robe, pants, or a skirt.


In woodshop, students discover the satisfaction of making everyday objects by hand. Through a careful sequence of projects, they learn how to use a range of woodworking techniques and tools. For each project, there is an emphasis on woodshop safety, proper technique, and creative expression.


Middle School

Global Connections

International Studies

Explore Grades 7 - 9

Upper School


Upper School

Integrated Studies

Many projects in both music and visual art are closely integrated with students' academic coursework.

Visiting Artist Program

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