Arts and Music
There is never a lack of talent or creative energy found within the Wye River music classroom. In fact, we have found it to be true that those with learning differences are more likely to be musically gifted. More than half of our students are musicians, and some continue to study music in a post-secondary setting.
Likewise, we believe that the study of music helps students develop executive functioning skills and manage ADHD. Our music classes also give them the opportunity to decompress, share ideas, and foster their musical imaginations.
Our students are passionate performers, songwriters, composers, and technicians. During class, they have a good deal of time for exploration and collaboration. Our classes are, in many ways, self-directed.
Through a week's rotation of activity, a student may participate in a level-appropriate theory lesson, a private guitar lesson, a band rehearsal, and an independent practice on piano, voice, or guitar. For those who feel that their voice is a contributing factor to music, we offer a collaborative session on a self-chosen duet. They all become one united front with a class performance.
Talented students are drawn to other talented students. They bounce musical motives off of one another, jam on the guitar and piano, and harmonize in group vocals. Even those who are truly beginners often grow by leaps and bounds in a very short time.
There is something extraordinary about finding a place to be comfortable around other like minded students where they are encouraged to test the musical waters. Educators have seen them grow in confidence as performers and experimenters, and develop the technical skills needed to play well. More experienced students enjoy the chance to teach what they have learned to the newer instrumentalists with a great deal of patience and fun.
We also believe in learning through experience. Our students have written and produced their own demo, performed on a live sound stage, participated in local contests, and contributed to school functions. As a culmination of their efforts, students are able to display their talents in the annual Art and Music Expo each spring.
Ultimately, we are more of a coach and less of a teacher by noticing and nurturing talents that may have been undiscovered, and fostering the obvious ones.
Art also proves to be a wonderful creative outlet, both for our especially talented artists and those learning to use a variety of media. Students who are looking for an art form that is hands-on, have the ability to paint, sculpt, and design jewelry.
For those wanting a high-tech form of art, they have the opportunity to animate, edit photographs; and record their visual ideas and experiences in sketchbooks, on film, and on their laptops. All these forms of art are used through direct observation, imagination, and personal experiences.
Students in Arts I and II are given the opportunity to construct an award-winning float or sketch the historic buildings of Centreville, and they also receive a critique on their watercolor from a local artist. In the popular photo/video class, students analyze, compare and journal trends in contemporary photography by viewing photographs in periodicals, books, and on the internet.
Using 3D and Laser Printers has opened our students to a new world of inventing. They model their designs in a 3D environment, export to print, and their creations become reality. This is just one facet of the ways art and technology join forces in a 21st Century learning environment. Students learn to edit photographs in Photoshop, use the Adobe Creative Suite, maintain a digital portfolio, and marry music with moving images in iMovie and Premier.
Throughout the year, art students enter a variety of contests and shows, contribute to school fundraising events; and in the spring, join our musicians to present their best compositions in the annual Music and Art Expo. After graduation, some of our students pursue their study of art and technology at institutions including Savannah College of Art and Design, Corcoran College of Art and Design, and Fairmont State University.