Through a range of curricular and co-curricular offerings Beaver empowers students to use the Performing Arts as a form of self-expression and an agent for social change. With a focus on creativity, collaboration, and communication – in addition to discipline-specific skills – students are encouraged to develop a unique artistic style and apply their skills at a high level.
As part of our Instrumental Music curriculum all students learn how to play an instrument or hone their skills if they are already accomplished musicians. Using orchestra and chorus as a model for collaboration, students learn instrument technique and musicianship skills, through practicing and rehearsing a range of repertoire. They begin by test driving each instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, cello, violin, viola, voice, percussion, flute, clarinet) before being matched with an ensemble, taking into consideration the student’s interest, feedback from the teachers, and the needs of the ensemble. Students meet both in their smaller ensembles (Brass, Strings, Chorus, Percussion, Woodwinds) and come together to collaborate regularly in rehearsals and three music exhibits per year. The ensembles are comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and are highly differentiated, allowing beginners and advanced students to thrive together by learning multiple parts of the same piece of music. Although this is a music program that builds technical skills and artistry, the impact goes far beyond music, focusing on collaboration, creative problem solving, empathy, and leadership skills.
In grade 6, students develop an understanding of theatre as a collaborative art form and work to create a supportive, trusting, and cooperative ensemble. Through theatre games and activities, students learn the importance of communication and problem-solving and grow more confident as collaborators and performers. Students will also explore physicality and vocal expression, combining these skills to create unique characters, and they will be introduced to the various jobs and responsibilities in a theater production. Lastly, students will develop their listening, critical thinking, and reflection skills, by learning to give and receive feedback as an essential part of the artistic process.
In grade 7, students explore and refine their skills as actors, collaborators, and performers, learning how to create spontaneously, rehearse effectively, and perform with confidence. Students will practice and perform improvised scenes, learn and demonstrate a variety of stage combat techniques, and develop their ability to create a character with the help of background details and an objective. Students will build relationships with one another and strengthen an ensemble that collaborates effectively, focusing on trust, risk-taking, and listening skills. Students will also learn the importance of feedback and reflection in shaping their work and will have the opportunity to practice these essential skills through writing and discussion.
In grade 8, students practice theatre as a collaborative art form, learning more about the processes of making, developing, and performing theatre. Students will work to create believable characters through improvisation and scripted work, express themselves physically and vocally, write and develop original dramatic work that is linked to or informed by other disciplines, and explore the roles and responsibilities of the director. Through ensemble games and warm-ups, students will continue to develop awareness of and responsibility for the ensemble and to build their collaboration skills. Students will also continue to expand their ability to evaluate and shape their own work, as well as the work of others, through continuous feedback, critique, and reflection.