Music in the Lower School is an experiential program for children at all levels of musical ability and provides an array of singing, playing, listening, creating and moving activities. The focus is on active participation, personal enjoyment and creative expression, while encouraging an understanding of the place of music in world culture. Each grade presents a musical performance during the year and dates can be found on the performing arts calendar.
Singing is an important part of the program, and basic technique is covered in every grade level using a variety of songs. Movement and dance are integrated into music lessons.
K1 and K2: Two 30-minute music classes per week
Grades 1-2: Two 30-minute music classes per week
Grades 3-4: Three 40-minute music classes every two weeks
Perform in the Grade 4 musical
Create short melodies and compositions both individually and in small groups
Listen to a variety of music from different genres and cultures
Learn about notation
Play in class ensembles using percussion instruments such as xylophones, bass bars and djembes
Sing songs from all over the world
Move and dance to music, learning folk dances and other specific choreography as well as creating their own short routines
Students in Grades 5-7 study a band or orchestra instrument and sing in their grade-level choir. The process of learning an instrument begins in Grade 5 when students, after hearing and getting some hands-on experience with all the instruments, decide on their favorite three. Students are then allocated one of the following instruments, catering for their top choices as closely as possible. Grade 5 students with significant experience on any of these instruments should speak with a music teacher before making their final choice. Instrument choices include flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, percussion, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
Other band instruments are introduced at various points throughout middle school (listed below). Slightly more specialized, these are low in number (typically no more than two per band), and the School provides these instruments on a loan basis; however, a student arriving at ASL at any point in middle school with experience on one of these instruments can continue to play it in their band class.
- Oboe (open to woodwind players)
- Bassoon (open to woodwind players)
- Bass clarinet (open to clarinet students)
- Tenor and baritone saxophone (open to alto saxophone students)
- Horn (open to brass players, typically trumpet students)
- Tuba (open to brass players, typically euphonium or trombone students)
The high school's performing ensembles are open to all qualified students in Grades 9-12. All ensembles perform at least three major concerts during the year. One of the special features of the high school music program is the annual Music Tour, when ASL's musical ensembles travel and perform. Music Tour takes place during semester II. Past performances have taken place in Paris, Bonn, Prague and Leuven. Participation in Music Tour is a requirement of enrollment in Concert Choir, Concert Band or Chamber Orchestra.
ASL is a member school of the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS). AMIS operates in conjunction with member schools all over the world and runs a series of festivals aimed at bringing the best musicians from the international community together to form middle and high school bands, choirs and orchestras in unique performance opportunities. Middle school festivals are primarily for Grades 7 & 8, although advanced Grade 6 students may be considered. High school festivals are open to students in Grades 9-12. Students may audition for the following festivals: International Honor Band, International Honor Choir, International Honor Jazz Band, and International Honor Orchestra. These events bring together students with exceptional musical ability from international schools around the world for several days of rehearsal and performance.
These classes are for students who wish to explore the art of dance and movement. Students experience a variety of movement and dance forms through routines, improvisation and performance both in and out of class to a variety of musical styles.
Dance and drama are incorporated into the lower school music curriculum. More information can be found under the music tab.
From K1-Grade 4, students participate in a variety of activities that combine music, dance and performance; more details are available through the music tab.
Each year, all Grade 4 students participate in a musical stage performance.
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.
Training in the dramatic arts develops creativity and encourages meaningful artistic expression. The program provides a hands-on approach to dramatic art, refining the students' sensibilities and adding to the richness and depth of their overall educational experience.
Students mature in discipline through technical skills that foster deeper expression in voice and movement, while tapping into the emphatic inner life of creating character. Student actors apply their skills to text, in particular, acting in scenes and full dramatic works. Scene work using film scripts provides a modern approach, as students examine content and technique appropriate to this media. The benefit of their diligent work can be seen in their heightened communicative, and overall presentational, skills.
Students are invited to participate in the International Schools Theater Association (ISTA) festival, held during the school year, as well as the International Thespian Festival, held during the summer.
As London is a center for the creative arts, it is important that students take advantage of this resource. The program invites guest artists to teach and inspire students in various areas of dramatic form. Students attend professional performances in theater and dance, developing an appreciative yet critical eye for production values. The cost of tickets is covered by the performing arts department budget.