Meeting the Needs of All Learners
Ms. Michelle DaGrosa, Supervisor of Arts Education
Carol Smith, Secretary
Performing, creating and responding to music or theatre are fundamental processes in which humans engage. It has long been recognized how children are naturally drawn to the performing arts through their free creative play. A formal education in the performing arts has many benefits for students. Through a sequential education in the performing arts students learn varied ways to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings, develop poise and self-esteem and chart a course towards an enriched quality of life. In alignment with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts, the East Brunswick Schools offers a comprehensive program in Music and Theatre Arts for all students.
Music has been identified as a fundamental human function since the earliest recorded histories of civilization. The school district delivers music instruction to all students through a variety of courses that are designed for their diverse talents, interests and proficiencies. Certified specialists in all schools follow a sequential district-wide curriculum. In grades kindergarten through three, general music instruction is given two times a week for half of the year and once a week for the other half, for an average of 60 minutes per week. Fourth and fifth graders have two periods of music instruction each week for an average of 80 minutes per week. Additionally students may choose optional instruction on a string instrument beginning in grade four and on a band instrument beginning in grade five. Each beginner student musician receives 40 minutes of small group lesson instruction on a rotating schedule. After a sufficient degree of proficiency is reached, district-wide bands and orchestras are formed.
Middle School is a time for further arts exploration and it is where formal instruction in Theatre Arts commences. All students gain broad-based exposure to theatre arts through cycle courses in both grade six and grade seven while Band, Chorus and Orchestra round out the performing arts program as elective courses open to all sixth and seventh graders. As in the elementary schools, group lessons, offered on a rotating schedule, are part of the course requirements for all band and orchestra students.
Band, Orchestra and Chorus continue to be offered as elective courses for eighth and ninth graders at Churchill Junior High School. Again, group lessons continue to be part of the course requirements for band and orchestra students. New Jersey's arts standards require that students develop competency in at least one arts discipline (Dance, Music, Theatre or Visual Arts) and many students choose to continue to develop this in the vocal and instrumental program. At the junior high other pathways to developing competency in music are introduced and include The World of Digital Music and a course in Beginner Piano and Piano Lab (taught in a fully-equipped keyboard lab). Students opting to develop their arts competency in Theatre are offered two courses in Theatre Arts (including a course in Filmmaking) that builds upon the foundation all students receive at Hammarskjold Middle School.
East Brunswick High School has one of the most comprehensive performing arts programs in New Jersey. Academic and applied music and theatre courses are offered on an elective basis. Academic courses include Acting Workshops at three different levels, Stagecraft, Advanced Placement Music, Musicianship and Music Tech/Composition, Digital Music Experience (taught in a state of the art lab) and applied courses are available in Band, Chorus, and Orchestra as well as Beginner Piano and Piano Workshop. Courses in which enrollment is by audition only are Concert Choir, Chamber Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble. These auditioned ensembles receive honors credit. East Brunswick High School students also have the opportunity to participate in other extracurricular performing organizations such as Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, a host of small vocal ensembles and theatrical troupe productions. East Brunswick High School is recognized as a New Jersey Model School for the Arts.
The district’s performing arts program provides students with opportunities to develop a variety of skills and cultivate their individual talents in a supportive and artistically challenging environment.