Visual and Performing Arts

The Key School recognizes the value of arts education and believes the development of each student is dependent on intellectual endeavors in the visual and performing arts. As students become literate in music and competent in performance and creative expression, they gain confidence and enhance their overall intellectual abilities.

Music and Dance

Key School's nationally recognized Orff Schulwerk music program begins in Lower School and continues through the Middle School. Named for the composer Carl Orff, and developed at Key School by one of his protégés in 1970, this unique approach to music education involves all students in a daily study of speech, rhythm, instruments, singing, creative movement and dance, drama, and improvisation. The children play xylophones, glockenspiels, metallophones, soprano recorders, and unpitched percussion instruments. They also learn to read music and understand basic theoretical concepts.

students playing percussion instrumentsKey’s Orff Schulwerk program continues through the Middle School where, with an increasing emphasis on music theory and composition, students are introduced to modes, triads and asymmetrical meters. The study of recorder progresses during the Middle School years to include alto, tenor, sopranino, and bass. Epitomizing the ideals of Carl Orff, Key's ensemble approach to music education engages children in the joys of a collaborative experience and provides a profound understanding of music as an academic discipline.

The study of music and dance in the Upper School involves students in a number of academic classes as well as a variety of activities. Upper School students may choose courses in Music Theory, Chamber Choir, and Dance. These students can also participate in activities such as the Upper School Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, and the Classical Ensemble.

Key School also offers Lower, Middle and Upper School students private lessons in piano, voice, string, wind and percussion instruments, and guitar.

Visual Arts

The Key School Visual Arts program engages student artists Kindergarten through grade twelve in a wide breadth of creative experiences. It provides avenues for self-expression, cultivating artistic behaviors, and the development of critical and divergent thinking strategies.

Exposing learners to a wide variety of materials, tools, approaches, and technologies, this unique program fosters a life-long appreciation of aesthetics, theory, design, art history, and traditional and digital media trends in our visual world.

student oil pastel artworkLessons are designed to challenge, inspire and evoke personal and meaningful solutions from student artists; while preparing each to hone their visual literacy and develop coveted, creative skill sets.

Artistic achievement is consistently celebrated and lauded through a series of student-centered exhibitions throughout the campus.

A Key School student artist is afforded opportunities in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital photography, digital video, and ceramics. Our Lower School and Middle School programs provide year-long, interdisciplinary art curricula, and the Upper School offers a wide range of immersive studio experiences. This begins with a year of Art I foundational concepts, and branches out to include studio concentrations and independent studies.

The Visual Arts are an integral part of every child’s learning and cognitive development. The Key School community is committed to inspiring, cultivating and nurturing young designers, visual thinkers and creative problem-solvers.

Key Theater

Key School’s Theater Program is designed to students through a full exploration of Theater Arts and the creative process. Students are given opportunities not only to act and perform on stage, but also are strongly encouraged to experience other elements of theater, including playwriting, design, directing, and technical work.

The program begins in the Middle School with a weekly activity and a full-length production in the Spring. It continues in the Upper School with a full-length play in the Fall and a musical production in the Spring. In addition to the performances, Upper School students have four different electives from which to choose to help complete their performing arts requirement prior to graduation:

Acting: Character and Emotion - This course introduces students to the work of creating memorable and realistic characters in performance, as well as depicting believable emotional states. Students will study the history of naturalistic acting and practice scenes and monologues with peer and instructor feedback.

Twelfth NightPlaywriting - This course teaches students how to develop meaningful characters, conflicts and writing through dialogue in a series of assignments, culminating in the creation of a one-act play.

Acting: Voice & Movement - This course teaches the fundamentals of naturalistic delivery with an emphasis on voice and body work. Students will practice reciting speeches and dialogues in small groups while developing an awareness of how to maximize the impact of their spoken words on their audience.

Theater Design - This course introduces students to elements of production design including units on scenic, costume, lighting and sound design. Students will give design presentations and also have the experience in working in collaborative teams.