Once a girl becomes comfortable onstage, she becomes even more confident using her voice in all areas of her life. At Linden, developing this comfort is the heart of the drama program.
Junior School Drama
From Grade 1, drama students learn dynamic ways to use their voices, their faces and their bodies to tell a story. They also learn what it means to be a respectful, receptive audience member. We encourage our girls to let go of inhibitions and not worry about looking silly onstage, which becomes much easier when they know they have the full support of their fellow students. In the Junior years, girls are still learning the basics of stage performance and becoming familiar with the many different types of performance. An activity that the Grade 3 and 4 students especially enjoy is improvisation, in which they are given an idea or scene to act out without a script. Improvisation lets the girls give their imagination full reign, but makes them pay attention to what their fellow actors are doing to make the scene progress – and this is one of the most important skills for a young actor to learn.
Middle School Drama
Teaching drama at the middle school level is quite the collective experience! As a class, we focus on developing the fundamentals of how to create a scene. By playing games and facilitating activities which highlight conflict and resolution, setting, and relationship dynamics, students begin to understand what is necessary for building and performing a dramatic scene. This year, we are working together to create a revised feminist version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Senior School Drama
High School Drama at Linden is a unique and intimate experience where the students benefit from rehearsing in small groups and performing their work in front of the entire school. Whether they are learning about the art of acting or lighting, costumes, and set design, students at Linden gain a variety of important dramatic skill sets. This term, the Grade 9 and 10 students are working on writing their own play and the Grade 11 and 12 students are engaged in an exciting unit on stage combat. Students also learn about the technical aspects of theater. Older students often act as stage crew for drama nights and other performances throughout the school year.
Linden’s music program teaches students not only to play music, but to analyze and appreciate it as well. We introduce students to a wide variety of genres, emphasizing theory as well as performance. Our small classes allow our teachers to help each student with her playing and singing, making sure she gets the attention she needs to continually improve. Our teachers also encourage students to carefully consider the music they’re hearing and playing, and to develop a critical opinion based on their experiences. Music invokes strong reactions in many of us, and we often feel compelled to share these strong reactions with others. When some people are speaking up loudly with their opinion, others – especially girls, who are often already at risk of losing their voices – may be hesitant to contribute their thoughts to the discussion. Our music program reaffirms for students that their opinion matters, and teaches them to identify evidence that supports their point of view.
Junior School Music
In Grades 1-4, our music program focuses on developing skills in the fundamentals: theory, composition, performance and critical listening. Using the instruments they were born with – their voices – the girls learn and perform a number of songs throughout the school year. They also learn important basics such as reading and writing standard and graphic notation. As one example, our Grade 1 and 2 students put their knowledge into practice by composing and performing a song using images that represent sounds.
Students in Grade 3–6 at Linden join our strings program, which gives girls the opportunity to learn one of three stringed instruments: violin, viola or cello. Students who start the strings program in these grades continue with their instrument through to Grade 8. Students start with the basics, learning proper posture, tuning procedure, with a focus on developing technique and intonation. As the students become more comfortable with their instruments, they move from teaching simple songs to more complex ones in a variety of styles. Strings classes also include practice in music theory and reading music.
Middle School Music
Grade 7 and 8 students can join our vocal or strings program. Our vocal program focuses on expanding the girls’ knowledge of music theory, composition and performance, introducing them to increasingly complex music. The vocal program also emphasizes music appreciation, exposing girls to many different kinds of music and encouraging them to absorb, analyze and discuss what they hear. In the guitar portion of the program, students learn basic picking and strumming, how to tune their guitars, and essential chords for playing a variety of songs. In both programs, the girls have a say in which songs they will learn, which helps generate excitement about mastering and performing them. Girls can also get additional practice by joining our Guitar Club, led by a Senior School student.
Senior School Music
The Linden School also offers a performance-focused vocal music program for senior grades. The program helps students develop safe vocal technique and builds further confidence in their performance skills. We explore a number of musical genres including classical, musical theatre, jazz, folk, and pop, which provides students the opportunity to gain experience as an ensemble member and solo performer. With multiple performances throughout the year, there is ample opportunity for students to demonstrate their growth as musicians and the community enjoys it tremendously.
Art classes at Linden encourage students to think of themselves both as artists and art critics. Girls have the opportunity to develop their skills in a variety of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and installation art. With many avenues to explore, every girl can find an area where she feels like a strong, confident artist. We help students become both art appreciators and critics by introducing them to the major periods in art history. View featured works from our 2016 Art Show and read artist statements.
Junior School Visual Arts
Students in Grades 1 and 2 learned about the Underground Railroad, which was used to transport slaves to Canada from the United States during the 19th century. The girls discovered that because most slaves could not read or write, their primary communication method was symbols. As their project for Linden’s annual Art Show in May, the girls made a paper “quilt” using these symbols. Each girl chose which symbols to incorporate to bring colour and liveliness to her quilt. In the process of creating beautiful artwork, the girls also learned how art can tell a story.
Middle School Visual Arts
The Grade 7 class was challenged to create art from objects we see every day: shoes. Each girl chose a woman who has been an inspiration to her, and used what she knew about that woman to design a shoe dedicated to her. Some girls based their projects on family members or friends, while others chose well-known figures like Amelia Earhart. No matter who they chose, the girls had to tap into what that woman was all about to make her shoe step true.
Senior School Visual Arts
Many of the Grade 11/12 art projects focus on deconstructing media images of women, and on finding beauty in something traditionally considered “ugly”. For one such project, the students were asked to literally take apart a glamorous photo. Each student chose a glossy magazine photo of a woman, cut it in half, and drew her own version of the missing half. However, rather than trying to recreate the other half of the photo, the girls “melted” the faces, twisting them to turn them into something grotesque. The combination of beauty and ugliness made them even more compelling than the original image – and a powerful commentary on the artificial nature of media images.