Erick Mukiira, Head of Arts Dept; Drama and Theatre Studies teacher
Designing artistic stage spaces
Films and global production companies are always in need of set designers. A set designer is in charge of designing and creating sets for films, television, and theatre (sets are the physical surroundings in which all the action will take place during the production). Rough drawings and ideas from the production team are taken and turned into realistic builds that include scenery, draperies, furniture, and props. Set designers often work with directors, producers, costume designers and other crew members.
MYP-3 students have been on a journey learning about Theatrical Spaces from their origins in Greece to the modern type of “proscenium” stage space. Learning how to transform space to a design that can be used for staging a theatrical performance was one of the main objectives.
This led to students watching and critiquing the play Rumors by Neil Simon. The students had a wonderful time watching the play and analysing its official set design intended by the author while using acquired knowledge of elements of set design. They later used different settings or contexts to design their own concepts and the results were impeccable. They had to learn how to sketch as well as how to use computer software to do better designs.
The Art of Acting
MYP-4 students embarked into learning the Art of Acting using Stanislavski’s techniques, and they were to apply these skills in staging monologues. The process was tedious, involving, and fascinating. The final artistic products were impeccable and many students who started off very shy became so confident staging their performances to both virtual platforms and to a live audience. Students had to use emotional memory, imagination, focus skills and dividing the plot into objectives and “super-objectives” to attain the right quality of performance.
Devising a performance E-portfolio
MYP-5 students started their lessons by learning how to shift audience perception about ideas, opinions or norms using elements of spectacle, acting techniques, plot and plot structure. They watched the play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. The play proposes that “hell is other people”. This concept arises from the concept of existentialism (reasons for existing) and the impact of having the freedom to choose, including one’s beliefs.
The students devised their story replicating the idea of shifting an audience perception about a norm or an idea, rehearsed and staged it using appropriate costumes, set design, sound effects and applying acting skills and techniques learnt in MYP-4.
The students had to also design posters for the poetry showcase as service and action activity. Designing posters is one skill that they have been harnessing as it is needed for the process of marketing any play. Publicity and marketing have been strands that accompany all tasks for theatre since all pieces of performances are intended for a certain target audience.
The culminating event for P-4, P-5and MYP-1 to MYP-3 students will be the Poetry Showcase that will take place on October 29th, 2021. This event brings together inspired and empowered thespians or performers who are passionate in poetry and stage performance. It opens doors to parents and teachers who would like to participate individualy or together with their children or students. It gives students a platform to nurture their acting skills as they put their stage confidence to a test.
A similar event for the MYP-4 to DP-2 students is in the “pipeline”.
Kristen William, Secondary Music Teacher
The Inheritance of the engagements, interactions and experiences that existed in the off-line setting is now lingering on to the on-line setting. The inclusion of various activities such as the Escape Room Game, Feedback at Virtual Starbucks, Rhythmic Circle, and working with friends, playing an instrument, and performing has increased the tangible connection amongst the students and the teacher.
As we all agree on the holistic development of a child, various approaches and tools were embraced by the teachers so that the students can grab the authentic flavour of being in a music class. Since the unit concentrated on playing an instrument, the ambiance and the joy for learning was kindled. Throughout the journey students were passionate and embraced the very nature that a performer owns by paying heed to performance etiquettes such as dressing in formals, taking a bow, back straight, fingers curled, etc. The challenges were accepted by all students, and they flourished in attaining the requirements.
It was interesting to see how students used laptop keyboards to play a melody that includes both treble and bass lines, crossing their fingers to reach on time and not miss a beat. It is a pleasant moment when a teacher sits to mark and sees the hard work put forth by the students. A smile and a sense of satisfaction that comes forth to see the students excel and go beyond expectation cannot be expressed through words.
Joseph Coburn, Secondary Visual Arts Teacher
One of the major missing parts of our Visual Arts classes has been the enjoyment and benefit of working as a collective in the studio atmosphere. For that very reason, the DP-1 students dove straight into modeling and live sketching in the physical classroom. If you had walked into our creative realm during the first two weeks of class you would have witnessed students and teacher climbing up a ladder or sitting on desktop while others sketched from life. The results were awesome, with confident and sketchy lines that seemed to find their way through the darkness of developing skill using two- dimensional drawing tools. We worked on large A2 size white pape,r and often discarded the eraser to allow for the appreciation of hand eye coordination. It is the development of skill and mark-making that is expected of the DP Visual Arts student and that is just what we did as we worked on proportion, inner and outer contours along with surface textures that help to reveal the individual presence of each student as they enjoyed art class for the first time as a DP student.
Natalie Verbenska, Primary Music Teacher
Music is a Means of Communication and Expression
Music lessons at MIS are focused on developing an empowered community of learners who achieve and contribute positively within and beyond the school. In music class, we celebrate diversity by exploring the music of different cultures, times, and places, developing music- related skills, and gaining new knowledge. During our music lessons, students demonstrate agency (learner-centric approach) as well as their understanding through the application of knowledge of skills (applicable).
For the past 10 weeks, Primary Years learners explored themselves as musicians by performing and creating their own compositions. Early Years learners focused on how we can communicate and express ourselves through music. They described the differences in music and explained how selected songs make them feel.
Learners shared their favorite compositions and used vocal sounds, rhythms, and instruments to express their feelings and ideas. P-1 learners explored how we can communicate our ideas and experiences through our artwork. They collaboratively created a musical sequence using known musical elements and created a soundscape based on personal experiences. P-2learners explored how we can reflect on and learn from the different stages of creating by creating a musical composition that matches the mood of a visual image and recording and sharing the stages of the process of creating a composition. P-3learners explored more about storytelling through music and how we can express ourselves as individuals through musical compositions. They demonstrated their creativity by creating their own stories and music. P-4 and P-5 learners focused on how we can explore our personal interests, beliefs, and values through the Arts. P-4 students explored how songs can deliver message to different audiences by learning a Promise Song: Earth is My Planet and P-5 students created a musical composition expressing their own ideas and feelings on a social issue.