Music, drama and dance are carefully integrated into one subject at WHPS. Each year level is fortunate enough to participate in a one-hour Performing Arts lesson every week. While we of course learn about the various Arts elements and theories, the two key goals for this subject are to improve social skills and critical thinking. This is largely achieved through experiential learning in the form of creative group tasks.
Year level highlights
Preps spend a lot of time exploring instrument sounds, learning how to keep a steady beat and learning how to interact with each other. The ‘Orff’ methodology is key to increasing Performing Arts skills of Year 1 and 2 students – each little song is experienced with a ‘whole body’ approach, i.e. singing and chanting, body percussion, xylophones, actions (dance and drama related) and often imagination activities devised from the lyrics. In Year 3, students learn how to read basic notation while participating in our recorder program and Year 4 students learn the ukulele to understand chord progressions. Year 5 students refine their sound analysis techniques, learn about ‘world’ music and perform a puppet show with puppets they have made themselves in Visual Arts class. In Year 6, students create an ‘old fashioned radio play’ – matching sound effects to their scripts – and learn about the evolution of (and links between) various Pop music styles.
All levels work hard to improve dramatic skills such as characterisation, vocal projection, gesture, mime, story building and of course, group decision making! Dance skills are refined through teacher led activities and extensive use of the REDed DVD program.
Performing Arts and technology are closely linked in the modern age. At WHPS, students have the opportunity to explore and compose electronically generated music with iPads, samplers and electronic drums. They also learn to further manipulate sounds with electronic filtering devices such as Kaoss Pads. Videos are regularly used to support learning and students have the opportunity to continue class discussions via the Performing Arts blog.
Our school choir is open to Year 3-6 students. Various other ensembles run throughout the year depending on student interest. Teachers work very hard to accommodate student ensemble requests at WHPS! These have included ukulele groups, experimental/electronic music groups, percussion groups, recorder groups and dance groups.
Every second year, WHPS students participate in a whole-school production and in alternate years, a whole-school Christmas concert. These situations allow students to experience the hard work and dedication required to be part of a large scale performance, with most of the choreography being designed by students themselves! Throughout the year, there are many other opportunities for our talented performers to showcase their hard work. These include Open night, instrumental concerts, school assembly, the Art show, harmony day and lunchtime concerts.