Visual and Performing Arts

At MSM, we provide a bright, relaxed atmosphere for art class, where students can freely express themselves through their art projects. We want students to feel comfortable with their art work, and enjoy the creation of art!

The Montessori Art program fosters creativity and a sense of personal discovery in all students. The continuous physical contact and coordination with materials improve as each child develops specific skills in key areas of art.

MSM Art emphasizes what is most important to budding artists: line, shape, value, texture, perspective, construction, color theory, and culture. All of the classroom projects use high-quality materials of various media including charcoal and colored pencils, watercolor, tempera and acrylic paint, printing ink, collage, oil and chalk pastels, papier mache, and more. Students also study and emulate various artists from around the world, and various cultural art styles. Each particular project considers the child’s age level and ability to use the materials needed to complete it.
Art classes are offered in the Art Studio to 5-12 year old students. (Toddler and Primary classes have Art in the classrooms.) Student-created art is displayed year-round in the school. Kindergarten and Elementary students participate in field trips to art collections throughout the Washington, D.C. area and in MSM art shows posted throughout the school. For many years, MSM student art work has been displayed at the annual McLean Project for the Arts event at the McLean Community Center.

Toddler: Music is a natural and integral part of a young child’s life throughout his or her day. In this sensorial stage of development, Musical activities involve singing, listening, moving, and playing age-appropriate percussion instruments. Both melodic and rhythmic aspects of music are emphasized through the use of chants, rhymes, poems, and manipulation of materials like scarves, puppets, and ribbons.

Primary: In Music Classes for Primary students, emphasis is that musical involvement should be immediate and for everyone. Most musical activities follow the “Orff Method” approach to the teaching-learning process: Speech, Rhyming, Singing, Movement and visual clues are offered in a playful and child-centered way. Children are involved through imitation, exploration, dramatization, and creation. Rhythmic and melodic work is emphasized through the use of movement songs and musical games. All students will present a Sing- Along before Winter Break and work on a Mini-Musical at the end of the school year.

Lower Elementary: Students are exposed to a variety of musical activities that follow the “Orff Method”, such as Movement activities, Dances, and Singing. Playing instruments, either using simple rhythms and percussion instruments or melodies using xylophones, are an important aspect of class. Each student is encouraged to “make” music either by singing or playing an instrument (available at school or one they choose to bring from home). We learn about various composers and their styles as we study music history. All Lower Elementary Students work on a Simple Play they present before Winter Break and a more advanced Musical at the end of the year. We enjoy Chorus with an environment set up for students to experience the joy of singing together. While the students are singing, they are also learning vocal warm-ups, music theory and reading chorus music, singing in a small and large ensemble, understanding dynamics and forms of songs, and singing in other languages and cultural styles. Students are learning to sing melody while others are singing harmony, and sing while moving or playing rhythm instruments such as shakers, sticks and drums. The students enthusiastically look forward to sharing their skills in the winter assembly in December, and the annual spring Choral and Recorder Concert in March.

Upper Elementary: Students experiment with their creative side through singing, instruments, drama games and performances. UE chorus is a part of the MSM Elementary Chorus, and involves singing, understanding music theory and how sound is made (sound waves), listening to various music motifs, playing rhythm instruments with shakers, sticks and drums, understanding dynamics and forms of songs, and singing in other languages and cultural styles. They will study composers and their music styles, learn vocal warm-ups and the harmony part songs for a large ensemble. In both Recorder and Chorus, students are learning to read, sing, sight read and play more challenging music. They will play and sing harmonies and rounds, and mentor other students.
The UE students are learning applied music theory as they review and learn new songs for the Recorder.  To prepare for a life-long music experience and for middle school band or orchestra, the students learn to play in an ensemble, conduct, identify the time signature and key, and read music with multiple staffs, various dynamics, and notation.  The students are learning breath control and fingering in both a classical style and in an informal social “Irish Session” by ear with special ornamentation.   Music is extended into instrument club-time for playing ukulele, guitar, violin, piano, and tin whistle together.  They share their musical talents in the winter assembly in December, with the Senior Citizen home, and the annual spring Choral and Recorder Concert.
The UE Drama program is a unique approach to introducing Shakespeare to young people in an interactive way.  Students explore acting through drama games, group monolog, and then are immersed in the world of Shakespeare as they rehearse and perform a 20 minute cut version of a play using the actual lines from the original play.  The entire experience is very “organic” so the students really “own” the play by the time they perform, and gain a comfort level with this important literature, the sophisticated story lines, and vocabulary which stays with them throughout their lives.  The comedies are the focus of the program so students can connect with the light-heartedness of Shakespeare, while learning valuable skills and abilities to become better speakers, writers, readers and actors.  Five plays are rotated in this repertoire with all the UE students participating.  The students virtually performed the “The Comedy of Errors” last year during the Annual MSM Drama and Arts Program in May.