The Performing Arts building is always a bustling place of activity and creativity with students developing both their musicality and theatricality either in groups, pairs or individually.
Since being back on campus, the Performing Arts team have given students an array of opportunities to engage in practical work and reflect upon the process of making performances.
In this spotlight, the Performing Arts team gives you a taster of some of the work that has been occurring within the last two weeks.
Within Primary, our students have been exploring percussion, composition and interpreting music as just a few of their taught concepts. With so many videos of their work we decided to compile a video to showcase some of their work in the last two weeks. Please click here to view the Performing Arts Primary Spotlight video.
In Music, Year 7 have been exploring the world of traditional rhythms, focused on West Africa. They learned the key sounds you can make on a Djembe drum and created a performance aurally (without any written music) in the way that musicians learn the skills in places like Ghana. The Year 7 groups then added a pentatonic riff to their work, designed to emulate the balafon, a central instrument to the Mandé, Senoufo and Gur peoples of West Africa. The Year 7 groups had a great time with this 100% practical project! Here is an example of one of the performances.
Year 8 have been working on pieces inspired by Estonian Composer Arvo Pärt. They have been using techniques such as retrograde, inversion and retrograde inversion.
The Year 10 IGCSE Music students have been taking advantage of the drier weather and completing their learning outside. Here you can see them preparing TED style talks on why music in film is important. They are using one of the GCSE set works, Star Wars, as their evidence and using their analysis skills to explain their points.
In Drama, Year 7 students have been exploring Ancient Greek theatre. After learning about the staging, the chorus entering and how the audience behaved, they have had the chance to begin to act out the traditional tale of Theseus and the Minotaur. In groups, students have been working on using unison and canon as well as choral speaking, whilst multi-rolling their characters to bring this story to life.
Students in Year 8 have been focussing on devising their own work in the last couple of weeks whilst also incorporating techniques. Last week, we used the stimulus of the British National Anthem to consider why it may be played and what feelings it could evoke and turned these ideas into a still image with thought tracking.
Whereas this week, we have been exploring colours and ideas that they conjure up, before adapting them into a creative short performance. For example, one group discussed that the colour blue made them think of their school house ‘Kanchenjunga’ but also the sky and feeling cold. Therefore, they began to develop a performance that revolved around people travelling in a plane and there was an accident on board.
Year 9 students have been studying Melodrama and have been wonderful with acting out the script and portraying the stock characters. The students have been really involved in this task and have loved putting on wigs, costumes and finding props that suit the role they are portraying.
As we move into the examination year groups, Year 10 have been watching and analysing the play “Everybody’s talking about Jamie”. Following this, they have been answering examination questions and designing a school uniform that adheres to set guidelines but also reflects aspects of their personality.
Year 11 have been preparing for their exams by doing a practical and written study of their Pre-release text “The Watsons” by Laura Wade. In this text, the original uncompleted Jane Austen story is developed by a contemporary playwright and the action shifts from a Period drama to a Metatheatrical play where the female protagonist becomes aware that she is only a character in a story who inadvertently is communicating with the playwright. The Year 11 students have been working diligently to creatively explore this multifaceted play both in regards to characterisations but also the scenographic aspects that need to be considered.
In KS3 we also offer a lesson that is called PAWs, which stands for Performing Arts Workshop. In this lesson, students explore Drama, Dance and Music and develop work that is performed to each other.
Since being back on campus, Year 7 students have been divided into two groups and have been either working upon learning choreography to a ‘Hamilton’ song or have been learning to sing and play a song such as Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ or ‘Ocean eyes’ by Billie Eiliish. Year 8 students were also divided into 2 groups and worked upon performing songs from a specific genre or were given the task of learning the choreography to a song from ‘Matilda’.
The Year 9 students finished their unit in which they composed their own song, monologue or rap and have just begun their new unit that is inspired by ‘Stomp.’ Over the last two weeks they have been using different items such as bamboo poles, brooms and home kitchen equipment to develop a polyrhythm and also include a break in which they all play the same rhythmic pattern in unison. Some groups even managed to begin to develop their characterisations and routines using the recent storms that we had seen as a stimulus for their choreography.
Lastly in our Performing Arts Spotlight, we have Molly, our Year 13 student, who is studying Grade 8 Musical theatre for her London College of Music Examination. Molly has been working hard on her examination material this academic year and, in the last few weeks, she has begun to put the four songs and movement together along with her libretto and answers for the discussion part of the assessment.
Whilst we were able to provide students online instrumental lessons, it has also been lovely to see them occurring face-to-face around the campus. Mr. Bhaskar has been particularly thrilled with the number of students that are studying guitar and ukulele. Below you can watch some of his students performing the various skills that they have been learning. First, we have Aarushi who has been working on some basic scale and sequence concepts. Following this, we have Naagi, who has been working on fingerpicking exercises over a chord progression. She has been learning online but is slowly attempting chord shapes that are more unusual. Then, we have Vihaan who is working on a song called “Pneuma” from the band ‘Tool.’ It is a difficult song as it has strange timings and structure; however, Vihaan plays it well and it is a required piece for Grade 3 LCM.
Mr. Sabin has also enjoyed having students back in the classroom and learning skills in either violin or piano. He has been particularly impressed with Pranita in the last couple of weeks who is learning finger exercises, scales and songs from LCM Grade 1. Pranita’s is the last video attached in this compilation video. Please click here to view the Performing Arts Instrumental Spotlight video.
That concludes our Performing Arts spotlight of what we have been up to in the last couple of weeks.
We wish the best of luck to all those students who are taking examinations soon and look forward to seeing what the students create over the next forthcoming weeks.
We would like to dedicate this spotlight to the inspiring person that was Ms. Lyuba. As most of you are aware, Ms. Lyuba passed away at the beginning of this week and we would like to celebrate not only the work that she did with our students but also her vibrant and positive presence in our department. She will be a person that will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her.
Here are a few comments about Ms. Lyuba that I would like to share with you all:
“Ms. Lyuba was someone who was always there for me. She sat by me while I played piano on the good days and she was patient with me and encouraged me on days where piano frustrated me. Ms. Lyuba always believed in me no matter what. The best part of every class was seeing her smile whenever I played something right…even if it was all garbled nonsense, the fact that I was on the right path always was enough for her. The 6 years that I got to learn and grow with her will always be precious to me.” Abayaa, Yr 11
“I met Ms. Lyuba when I was just 10 years old. As I got to know her, she struck me as immediately warm, loving and a wonderfully talented piano teacher. Ms. Lyuba was by my side for 6 years, and she taught me so much. My love for music and culture grew because of her, but I mostly, I learnt how to be brave through her. She was the strongest person I had ever known. She tackled her many challenges as if they were easy, and somehow, was optimistic and kept fighting till the end. I hope Ms. Lyuba knew how much she meant to me, and how much she changed my life. She will be missed dearly, for life won’t be the same without her.” Meghna, Yr 11
“Ms. Lyuba was an excellent teacher and a great person. Even though I have not had the chance to be taught by her in person, I still feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to have been instructed by her through online school. It was the time when I improved myself the most and had the most fun with music. I owe my new found passion for music to her. She was the best music teacher I’ve met. The help and guidance she had given me was innumerable and invaluable. The way she taught was unforgettable and the support she offered was priceless. She’s gentle, nice, kind, enthusiastic and warm. Mere words cannot encapsulate how amazing of a teacher and person she was to her students and community as a whole and I would never be able to express my gratitude to her and how fortunate I was to be her students.” Yang, Yr 10
“I’ll remember Lyuba in many ways but always with a big smile on her face…I feel honoured and privileged to have known her and worked with her.” Mr. Suyog
If you would like to share any more kind words about Ms. Lyuba, please email me at email@example.com as I would like to compile them into a document to pass onto the family.