The Arts in Middle School
Milton faculty thoughtfully and deliberately cultivate an arts environment that encourages and empowers students. They foster students’ appreciation; engage students in action; and ultimately, develop in them the ability to express themselves confidently and creatively.
In grades 6–8, chorus is a performance class for singers; chorus members enjoy many opportunities to perform for their older and younger peers, faculty and parents at Milton Academy. Among other skills, chorus members learn note reading, ensemble technique and musical blend. In the sixth, seventh and eighth grade, students may take orchestra courses. These courses are performance-based, for musicians. Students may also choose a general music course, which delves further into music theory and history.
The Grade 6 performing arts course focuses on public and impromptu speaking and storytelling. Students learn the skills necessary to write a demonstration speech and deliver their instructions efficiently. Students then move on to practice limited preparation speaking. Grade 7 performing arts is a stagecraft course; students build miniature models of sets and also prepare full-scale scenes for School shows. Grade 8 performing arts is a course on improvisation. Students script their own work and develop scenes based on themes of identity.
The Speech Team is a co-curricular activity in the Middle School that trains students in the fundamentals of public performance, literary interpretation and public speaking. Faculty supervise the Middle School Speech Team, and Upper School Speech Team members coach, lead and mentor their younger Milton counterparts.
In Middle School the emphasis is on meeting students at their own energy level: we emphasize “doing.” Students draw real objects, surrealistic variations of real things and places, and learn some of the formal basics for creating convincing visual illusions. Our art projects in design require clear visual organization of information and elements in patterns and sequences. We ask students to interpret subjects in visual terms, expressing and communicating their interpretations of ideas and personalities they have encountered. We are eager to help students be brave and adventurous in capturing the world that they see and imagine. The visual arts program cultivates self-expression and artistic appreciation; it also develops the creative thinking skills that support problem solving, communication, observation, and interpretation.