Performing arts: music & drama


The primary goal of the department is to provide an experience through which students can consider themselves to be musicians: musically literate, technically secure and confident in performance. The emphasis of the middle school music program in Grades 5-7 is on instrumental and choral ensembles; performing together in a safe and mutually supportive environment is at the core of a student’s musical experience. Beginning in Grade 5, all students learn either a band or string orchestra instrument, and sing in the grade-level choir. In Grade 8, and as a gateway to high school elective choices, students have the opportunity to add dance and drama to their existing musical experiences in a performing arts class.

In line with the rest of the core academic subjects, students in music are assessed against a set of standards. The reporting standards below are derived from the four National Core Arts Standards of perform, create, connect and respond.

Reporting standards:

  • Develops and refines artistic ideas and work
  • Brings to life artistic works and ideas through the process of interpretation, refinement and presentation
  • Applies criteria to analyze and evaluate artistic works and ideas, in order to deepen understanding
  • Relates artistic works and ideas with personal experiences and a greater context

Additionally, each student receives a rating on their performance on the six ASL Approaches to Learning: Collaborative, respectful, responsible, reflective, engaged and resilient.

ASL is a member school of the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS), and through this organization a number of extracurricular opportunities exist for our most advanced musicians.


The middle school drama program engages students in a variety of cooperative activities designed to channel thoughts and emotions in a creative and productive manner. Through role play, improvisation and puppetry, students experience and develop self-confidence, self-awareness and communication skills as well as an appreciation for the dramatic arts. All Grade 5 and 6 students participate in drama for the whole year, to develop imagination and creativity through theater games. Improvisation is used to create stories based on fairy tales, myths and personal experiences. Grade 7 and 8 students have the opportunity to continue their involvement by choosing drama as an elective for one semester. The Grade 7 and 8 drama program expands on the skills learned in Grades 5 and 6, with the focus on developing stories from personal experiences. Each year, there is a middle school drama production, which is open to students in Grades 7 and 8. This is an extracurricular activity that takes place over a period of 10 weeks.