Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adultsLutz Jäncke, University of Zurich psychologist
We agree. All elementary students in Lawton Academy participate in vocal and instrumental music. Not only are they learning to match pitch and read music, but each class is involved in one of the four elementary musicals presented each year. Each year, students also learn to play an instrument. Pre-K students play Boomwhackers; kindergartners play handbells. 1st and 2nd graders learn to play the xylophone, while students in 3rd and 4th grades master the recorder. 5th and 6th graders learn to play the ukulele or guitar, and some venture into orchestra instruments.
In the secondary, students may take vocal music and orchestra. Students compete in Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA)-sanctioned competitions with students from public and private schools all over the state. In addition, students have opportunities to participate in musicals done annually.
As with vocal and instrumental development, students at Lawton Academy receive art instruction methodically. In the younger grades, students are encouraged to explore color and spatial qualities. By the 2nd grade, students are learning to cartoon. In third grade, students learn about perspective and how to see lines in relationship to each other rather than as a preconceived shape by drawing a picture upside down. In the 4th and 5th grades students learn shading and more about perspective. Students complete projects in acrylics and pen and ink.
On the second-to-the-last Tuesday of the school year, students share their art work at the annual LAAS Arts Festival. Pieces from the year are displayed and judged by a guest artist, with the students receiving ribbons for winning work.
Secondary students may take art as an elective. They are taught mediums including watercolor, pencil renderings, pen and ink, charcoal, and acrylics, amongst many others. Mid-year, art students are asked to show their work where it is to parents and visitors at a gala event called “Cre8.” At the end of the year, the artists share their final projects with all at the LAAS Arts Festival Gala. Many artists sell their pieces in these two events.
As mentioned above, elementary students at all levels present musicals once a year. Students learn the songs in music classes, but the acting is taught in a drama class. Students also participate in age-appropriate improv exercises.
By secondary school, we are emphasizing how important it is to becoming a leader for a student to learn to speak well in front of others. To accomplish this, we require that all secondary students compete in at least one speech competition per year. Students may compete in speech or debate. Speech offers individual and pair competition in several event-types. We currently offer Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum debate. Students can also participate in extemporaneous speaking on current events.
In an age in which technology is advancing at break-neck speeds, we cannot afford to ignore this area as the “art” it is. Elementary students have opportunities to explore with robotics and coding, while our secondary students have been competing in BEST Robotics, Inc. competitions since 2004.