Building Habits of Mind
Performing Arts at Harley
Letter from the Chair of Performing Arts
At The Harley School, we believe all children deserve the opportunity to express themselves through music and drama, and that the performing arts are a vital part of each child’s educational experience.
We provide meaningful challenges for students who excel in one or more areas of the performing arts, but our programs concentrate on giving all students the opportunity for positive growth. Our faculty is committed to forging personal relationships that allow our young actors and musicians to discover and cultivate their abilities in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
In addition to discipline-specific skills, the performing arts help students learn more about themselves and the world around them. They develop understanding and empathy by thinking about the characters they play, the words they sing, and the music they play. Students learn to work as both as individuals and collaboratively as members of a team. They become more effective communicators as they share ideas with each other and with audiences. Throughout the learning process, children, tweens, and teens become more resilient by understanding that a mistake can be the beginning of an amazing opportunity for growth.
The performing arts help us to tell our stories and share our feelings with each other. They are an expression of our humanity. Our goal as teachers is not just to teach theater and music, but to help our students learn to use those tools to tell their stories, express their feelings, and better understand our shared humanity.
Chair, Performing Arts Department
Nursery-Grade 4: Lower School
Grades 5-8: Middle School
All Middle School students participate in a music ensemble (choir, band, or strings) each year. All Grade 5 and 6 students also take one-trimester general music classes. In Grades 5-7, students participate in a one-trimester long drama class. Additionally, students in Grades 6-8 may select from ever-changing performing arts offerings as part of Flex Time during the last period of the day.
Grades 9-12: Upper School
Our Upper School performing arts programs are notable for promoting the exploration of authentic voice and promoting creative thinking. Students in band, orchestra, and choral ensembles perform throughout the year, while young thespians take the stage in fall plays and spring musicals. We also offer a wide variety of music and drama electives, which give students the opportunity to delve into more specific areas of interest.
At Harley, we integrate the arts into all levels of our curriculum. We understand working in the arts helps learners to develop creative problem-solving skills while boosting critical thinking; and we see this every day as arts instruction helps with the development of motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness.
A recent study from Rice University states: “…arts-learning experiences benefit students in terms of reductions in disciplinary infractions, increases in compassion for others and improvements in writing achievement. Furthermore, arts-education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations.”
Additionally, the National Association for Music Education notes “music teaches 21st century skills,” including creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
We believe opportunities in the arts are critical to whole person success.
Vocal Chords a cappella group
2:20 Band, small combo group
Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter
Introduction to Music Theory
Introduction to Italian Opera
Introduction to Non-Italian Opera
Introduction to American Musical Theater
Introduction to Baroque and Classical Music
Romantic and Contemporary Music
The Theremin: Origins of Electronic Music
A Cappella Arranging
Acting I/Scene Study
Upper School Fall Play
Upper School Spring Musical
Middle School Musical
24 Hour Theater Marathon
Ben BurroughsMiddle and Upper School Music/Vocal/Department Chair
Beth FoxNursery Creative Arts, Lower School Music
Kristy HoustonMiddle School and Upper School Music/Instrumental
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