Middle School Arts include Music, Theatre, and Visual Art and Technology. The objectives of the program include sequential skill building, the acquisition of knowledge, and the development of self-confidence. Each year, Cochran Middle School students rotate through these disciplines. The sixth and seventh grades will have a quarter each of music, theatre, art, and technology/study skills. The eighth grade will have a a quarter each of music, theatre, art, and technology/public speaking.
Programs of Study
In the Middle School art program, students are encouraged to improve their visual awareness by learning to look and record what is experienced. While solving creative problems, students learn to use a variety of tools, materials and approaches. The Middle School art program also recognizes the significance of art history and the need to develop an appreciation for the work of artists from the past and present. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional media and techniques are explored, including drawing, painting, clay work, collage and sculpture. Students have the opportunity to study the formal elements of art and to experience both "observed" and "imagined" work.
Music class focuses on building listening skills and an appreciation of musical styles and construction. This course teaches basic note, rhythm, and interval reading as well as skills for singing and playing instruments. The class introduces students to an overview of music history and style periods in addition to introducing students to non-Western music as appropriate. Students perform alone and with others, compose, improvise, and read and listen to music. By doing so, students gain the confidence to analyze, describe, and evaluate with discernment music and musical performances.
Students in this class focus on the basics of theatre arts, stagecraft, and performance. Establishing a routine of preparation exercises to warm up and develop the voice (vocal resonance, projection, articulation skills) and the body (stretching, relaxation, and physical awareness) serves as a touchstone for progress as students begin to develop a personal sense of stage presence. Working on improvisation exercises, commonly known as "theatre games," students have the opportunity to reflect on how the connection with an acting partner reflects the way they relate to peers in the real world. Class units include work on the power of gestures, creating characters from costumes (working with wigs and hats), and weight-sharing exercises which form the basis of physical theatre from clowning to mime and beyond. One of the highlights from last year's classes was the creation of group poems based on a sensory walk outside of the classroom: with eyes closed, the class walked together as a group to focus the information from their other senses, then wrote a collective theater piece which they ultimately put into performance.
Middle School Arts Electives
Middle School Chorus
The Middle School chorus program stresses vocal technique, harmonization, and a cappella singing. The chorus performs throughout the year. As students progress, they begin the study of more advanced and complex music with emphasis on a spring performance.
Middle School Orchestra
Students focus on the correct playing of violin, viola, or cello. Proper posture, bow hold, playing techniques, performance techniques, and rehearsal etiquette are learned. Students combine these skills with learning to play with others in an ensemble, make musical decisions, and play with dynamics, proper bowing, and phrasing. Students learn to read standard musical notation for their instrument and perform at least twice per year.
Middle School Theatre Productions
Each year, the Theatre Department presents a Middle School production. In addition, Middle School students may participate in the All-School Musical. All students in grades 6-8 are encouraged to audition or to volunteer for technical work, such as creating props or helping backstage.