Music, Art and Drama
In the Primary School, all children from Nursery to Year 6 are taught music by specialist teachers in our dedicated music rooms, where singing, theory, composition and listening are essential ingredients. They are also encouraged to take individual music lessons; information about the range of instruments and our high quality peripatetic teachers is available from the music team.
The children also have the opportunity to participate in music clubs before, during and after the school day, including choirs, orchestras, small ensembles and bands. A number of informal musical performances and small recitals give musicians of all standards the opportunity to play for the pleasure of others.
In the Secondary School, we offer an extensive instrumental programme, with professional instrumental tutors who visit daily, and a wide variety of extracurricular music activities for students of all ages. Research shows that participation in musical activities significantly develops children’s social, cognitive and motor skills as well as fostering greater teamwork. We take pride in our role as facilitators, providing opportunities through which every child can construct their own understanding of a broad range of musical genres, cultures and traditions.
In Years 7 to 9 we cover a comprehensive history of Western Music from the Medieval period to the Music of the 21st Century. This is complimented by a range of World Music projects. The key skills are in composing, appraising and performing.
In Years 10 and 11, Music has become increasingly popular over the past 3 years as a GSCE subject. We follow the Cambridge IGCSE syllabus which allows students to explore composition, solo and ensemble performance and detailed listening and appraising components. In Years 12 and 13, we offer A Level Music (Edexcel), preparing our students for entrance into the best universities and Music conservatoires in the world.
We have very well-resourced facilities, complete with a recently commissioned Gamelan, fully furnished technology suite, large ensemble rehearsal room, sound-proofed practice suites and a set of African drums, purchased from a Fair Trade village near Guinée Conakry.
In the Primary School, the art curriculum includes drawing, painting, printing, textiles and sculpture work whilst also encouraging an appreciation of a range of world artists and sculptures. Through a range of innovative and colourful projects we aim to foster skills, knowledge and a love of creativity that will stay with the students for life.
In Design Technology lessons the Primary students are given the opportunity to develop a range of practical skills and techniques, learning to reflect on and evaluate present and past design whilst incorporating and extending their own imaginative ideas.
In the Secondary School, the Art and Design Curriculum provides students with opportunities to explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences in order to communicate ideas and meanings. It is important that our students reflect critically on their own and other people’s work through given themes, judging quality, value and meaning.
In Years 7-9, all students explore a wide range of media and ideas, developing creativity and critical thinking through the subject.
In Years 10 and 11, we offer GCSE Photography and Art (Edexcel) which are both popular subjects. We encourage students to develop their visual language in a wider and more experimental form to appreciate and achieve artistic intensions.
In Years 12 and 13, our students enjoy small classes, which promote individual guidance. We offer AS and A Level Art and Graphic Design (Edexcel) and, for those who wish to specialise, we prepare students for entry to Foundation courses in the UK. All A level students are provided with their own working environment and they are encouraged to develop their work during study periods and after school.
We have two art rooms: one provides up-to-date software on Mac computers and the other a Windows computer suite to support students’ learning. Our Art Studio offers a range of machinery for woodwork and excellently resourced materials for drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media and sculpture. Digital Photography has been a recent addition to the department and all students have the chance to explore photojournalism, photography for graphic design and fine art photography.
Drama is a unique, thriving and popular subject at the British School in Tokyo, both as an academic option and as an extracurricular activity. Engagement in drama is essential as part of an arts-rich curriculum that every pupil has a right to experience.
Through Drama, pupils become familiar with the culture and conventions of theatre and learn to exercise critical judgement when:
- performing and
- responding to a range of styles and genres.
Drama is a unique subject area that is delivered once a week to all key stage three classes. The curriculum gives them opportunity to invent and imagine stories old and new, through a range of dramatic techniques, which gives them increased confidence in a range of performance-based situations. Students are given the opportunity to enhance their speaking and listening skills in a challenging, creative and exciting way.
Analysis of plays and performances also gives pupils the chance to critique and voice their own opinions in an encouraging and controlled manner. This also allows students to be able to understand the complex levels involved in stories and to convey their meaning to an audience.
Students learn the foundations of Drama: communication, concentration and co-operation. They are encouraged to work as part of a team, giving them the opportunity to contribute and collaborate with others and also to experience how to manage and lead a group. By being directed and giving direction, students learn how to express their ideas confidently and also how to use their vocal and physical presence to the best of their ability.
At Key Stage Three, all students have two Drama Lessons a week and it forms a key part of their curriculum. Students have the opportunity to engage with many different skills, techniques and ideas.
At key stage four, students can opt for the popular GCSE Drama course. In addition to the skills mentioned above, students are given a further insight into the world of theatre by creating and watching performances.
It is also possible to take Drama and Theatre Studies for A Level (recently added to the curriculum) for those who have a very keen interest in the subject or are considering Performing Arts as a university course or career.
We are very proud of the productions which involve so many members of our community.
Recent productions have included Macbeth, Equus, Little Shop of Horrors and Tomorrow.
Overall, Drama is a valuable experience and crucial element of the curriculum to give our students the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary for the future.