Music is an invaluable part of life not only for the joy and pleasure it brings, but also for the ways in which it enables us to understand the human experience. As Nietzsche said, “Without music, life itself would be impossible.”
The instrumental music program at Berkeley Carroll is a core element of the middle school experience; every student learns to play at least one musical instrument. They study a wide range of musical styles and genres -- everything from the classical and standard repertoire to contemporary music. Learning a musical instrument not only teaches students a new skill, but also builds community through creative expression.
Every 5th & 6th grader is given the opportunity to study an instrument of their choice for two years. Students can choose a wind instrument: flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, trombone, or a String instrument: violin, viola, cello, bass. During their first two years of study, they learn to care for their instrument, play with proper technique, develop skills in reading music and basic music theory, explore beginning composition, work in small and large group settings, listen and watch a variety of musical performances and respond both in written reflection and class discussion. .
After the student has completed their two years in the instrumental music program, they have the choice of continuing their Performing Arts instruction through continued study of instrumental music, or exploring a Choir class, a Dance class, a Theatre class, or a Debate class. If students choose to continue with instrumental music, they will further develop their skills by broadening their repertoire and rehearsing with an ensemble. Enrollment in instrumental music is required to participate in both the Middle School Orchestra and the Jazz ensemble.
The Middle School theater program provides students with a strong introduction to theater arts and technology to support and inspire their development as artists.
The 7th Grade Theater class is an introduction to theater arts. This year-long course explores storytelling in theater including Character, Relationships, Motivation, and Setting. Students explore mime, acting, writing, and poetry performance.
The 8th Grade Theater class tracks the journey of play production from script to performance. Students will work with a full length play for the whole year. Using project-based learning, students will work as designers, directors, costume designers, and actors to realize scenes from the play.
The Middle School offers dance classes for 7th and 8th graders who study a wide range of dance and choreography styles, while also learning how to choreograph from professionals in the field. Students have opportunities to perform for audiences throughout the year, including at the annual Spring Dance Concerts.
Choir classes for 7th and 8th graders cover on a variety of musical choral styles, specifically selected to develop and expand students' musical knowledge while also extending their range and ability to express themselves through performance.
7th and 8th graders who take middle school debate classes learn skills and develop proficiency for different styles of debate including SPAR, Student Congress, Public Forum and Parliamentary debate. Optional weekend tournaments provide platforms for students to practice skills learned in class. 5th and 6th graders who participate in the 5th and 6th grade Debate Exploration class may join 7th and 8th graders on the Debate team.