The depth and breadth of opportunities for student involvement in creative arts is staggering. It reflects a firm belief in the valuable contribution the arts make not only to the enrichment of the human experience, but also to the very process of learning itself on a conceptual level. RA has a thriving arts community to help encourage students to express their creativity and to encourage students to try new things, stretch their imaginations and to participate in a wide variety of activities designed to build confidence and promote personal growth and discovery.
Music has always been an important part of life at RA. From its very beginning our school has offered students opportunities to join music groups and perform for their peers, teachers, and parents. Today at RA our students learn to listen to, perform, and appreciate music starting in lower school. Singing, echoing the teacher’s song, and moving to music teach listening skills. Lower school students also learn to properly pronounce vowels in song, to breathe in a way that enables them to sing, and to blend their sound into that of a group. In third grade students learn to play the soprano recorder. All students in grades 4-8 participate in both band and chorus; students in grades 7-8 choose either chorus or band. Jazz and Rock Bands are available to Upper School students through elective offerings. Students of all grades perform in several annual events.
We believe that theater offers an invaluable opportunity for each child to learn to work with and respect each other, gain communication skills, take risks, and grow in self-confidence. Therefore students at RA are introduced to the dramatic arts at a young age. In the lower school children learn simple theater games and improvisation that emphasize the technique of imagination and enactment. Each lower school class has its own class performance, based on grade level curriculum or children’s books. In middle school, our fourth grade students learn and perform monologues. Performing these monologues offers students the first chance to be onstage alone. All fifth grade students work collaboratively to perform a musical in the spring term. When students reach the Upper School they may elect to study improvisation, scene study, or theater history through our elective program. The Upper School produces an annual musical complete with sets, costumes, lighting, and choreography. This project teaches students to work together as a team and to trust one another on stage.
At RA each child is embraced as a creative being with the potential to learn aspects of art making, art history, art appreciation, and expression in a supportive environment. In the art room students get a hands-on experience and learn how to use different media, techniques, and processes as well as explore a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas. The main areas of focus in Middle & Upper School art consist of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Printmaking, Journaling, Bookmaking, Art History, and Art Appreciation. Each grade level investigates the visual arts in relation to history, world cultures, and artist biographies. They also investigate connections between the visual arts, other disciplines, and daily life. Through writing and discussions, students reflect upon and learn how to interpret their own and other’s works of art.
Since 2011 RA students have had the opportunity to explore computer assisted creativity on The Bridge, our state of the art digital arts facility. Equipped with a computer lab, a sound room with a recording booth, and a green screen room, the Bridge allows students both to learn new technologies and to explore their academic curriculum in nontraditional ways. For example, students might create an animation to retell a story they learned in history class or record a public service announcement raising awareness about a disease they covered in science class. To do this students learn programs including Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Garage Band, and Flash. In this way RA students get a head start on learning valuable skills. Technique and production value are discussed. Building on the success of The Bridge, in 2014 we opened the Little Bridge at the RA Lower School.