The performing arts are an integral part of school days at Laurel and a significant piece of the school’s legacy. From the sounds of dancing feet to the music of Italian arias, students are engaged in the arts from early childhood through twelfth grade.
Our approach to the performing arts curriculum balances process with product.
Emphasis is placed on building skills and making artistic choices. We encourage girls to embrace creative challenges and to think critically about the arts.
We view the arts as opportunities to come to know a rich variety of cultures by exploring many types of music, dance and drama. We celebrate the interdisciplinary relationship among the performing arts.
In aspiring to help each girl at Laurel School fulfill her promise, the performing arts faculty is committed to bringing each girl to her full potential in each art form.
Dance, drama, general music, instrumental music and vocal music are offered to each student, and each girl is encouraged to discover her passion. Through art history, music theory, dance and drama technique and performance classes, students leave Laurel with an appreciation for the arts and with the skills to allow them to enjoy the arts for the rest of their lives.
Performing Arts at Laurel
Laurel Choir, Anthony Gault, Director
Choir is the select choral ensemble at Laurel School. One must be an upper school student and member of Glee Club to participate. This ensemble tackles some of the most challenging music in the women's choral repertoire. In addition to performing twice a year at Upper School Choral concerts, this group also performs in and around the Cleveland area, sings in competitions, and tours throughout the United States.
Laurel School Glee Club, Anthony Gault, Director
This ensemble is the non-auditioned choral ensemble in the upper school. Glee Club rehearses both as a large ensemble and in sectionals, meeting four times per rotation. They perform at least twice a year at both the Winter and Spring Upper School Choral Concerts. In Glee Club, each singer gains musical independence by focusing on theory, history, musicality, eurhythmics, diction, sight-singing, and vocal technique.
Bad in Plaid,
Audrey Trotta '14 and Emma Evans '15, Student Directors
Founded in 2005, this is one of the two student-led a capella groups at Laurel. Performing a wide range of musical styles, this ensemble sings unaccompanied arrangements of pop, jazz, rock, oldies, and much, much more! They sing for upper school assemblies, special events, and are available for outside gigs, so book 'em soon!
Dance goes beyond the studio. It opens up non-verbal expression with an eye towards establishing tangible connections to emotion, self-awareness, physical control, and partnership. To create gesture in response to everyday experiences is natural. The understanding of spatial awareness is vital to building community and self-confidence. At Laurel School, the study of dance and movement provides each girl with the opportunity to focus on, create and perform movement of quality. Taking advantage of dance at Laurel allows our students the framework to develop stronger connections to music, sound, and rhythm while deepening an awareness and understanding of the elements, forms and styles of dance.
- Primary students move from an emphasis on creative movement to creating and notating dances, and finally to an introduction to formal dance technique.
- In the Middle School, students study dance as an art form and begin to study the art of choreographic structure, dance history, cultural dances and rhythms, and technique.
- In the Upper School, students receive instruction in technique and are introduced to choreographic concepts and dance history.
The study of Drama helps girls to develop problem-solving skills, strengthens listening and public speaking skills, and instills confidence. Students learn to understand and appreciate cultural differences as they portray different characters. Drama gives girls the opportunity to explore who they are and what they want to become.
- Middle School students build their drama skills through exploration, improvisation, and performance exercises (in class) that help them to rehearse theatrical concepts as well as analyze and critique themselves and each other.
- In the Upper School, students focus on specific acting technique. The work is intensive and all-encompassing as girls learn about the theatre while practicing the basic skills of drama.
Music is a great medium for discovering creativity, expressing imagination, and developing a greater sense of self and the world around us.
- In Primary School, the girls experience an Orff approach to music, supplemented with Kodaly and Dalcroze exercises. The girls learn to respond creatively to music through singing, playing, moving, improvising, creating, performing, listening, describing and analyzing.
- In Middle School, the girls continue to experience music through creative, multiple activies, including a greater focus on reading music notation.
- Upper School students focus on the analytical side of music in Theory classes and work on the creation of their own music through composition exercises.
The study of an orchestral instrument strengthens the reading of music notation, allows girls to appreciate various styles of music and develops fine motor skills. Mastering an instrument also allows girls to develop commitment, discipline, endurance and increased attention span. Playing an instrument provides girls with the chance to identify with instrumentalists worldwide through the universal medium of classical music. This year Laurel has initiated an after-school Music Academy in which students study the instrument of their choice through private instruction with highly qualified, professional musicians and experienced instructors.
- In Primary School, girls have the opportunity to study piano, flute, violin or cello at the Laurel Music Academy. All Third and Fourth Grade students study the soprano recorder as part of their general music class. In addition, students are encouraged to share their instrumental accomplishments in music class. Special instrumental parts are frequently created to accompany concert selections. A Third and Fourth Grade Recorder Club also meets weekly and performs at lunchtimes, concerts, and assemblies.
- In Middle School girls study a variety of musical instruments, including the guitar, recorder and various percussion instruments, as a part of their general music curriculum. All girls are encouraged to form chamber ensembles and to perform at Middle School Assemblies. Seventh and eighth grade girls have the opportunity to participate in the Middle School Orchestra.
- Upper School students have a more intensive instrumental experience. Individual technique is developed in parallel with ensemble work. The focus is on personal music development, along with increased school-wide performance opportunities.
Using one's voice to produce music is a universal human experience. Singing is one of the oldest art forms in the world, sometimes called the first art. Singing spans all cultures and encompasses all lifestyles. The study of vocal music encourages girls to use their instrument for their own musical pleasure and that of others.
- In Primary School, girls are exposed to various styles of music. Classroom content is reinforced in the music class, and seasons and holidays are celebrated through the choice of songs. The girls experience the joy of singing on a daily basis. They learn to match pitch, blend their voices, and sing in phrases with expression.
- In Middle School, girls learn to read music notation and explore their developing voices throughout the physical changes that occur at this age. This is done through sight-singing exercises and exposure to music in widely varying styles.
- In the Upper School, girls focus on expanding their vocal repertoire and learning best vocal health. They are instilled with the joy of singing and learn to appreciate other cultures through the music they perform.