Musicals foster a love to perform

Future stars on the Middle and Upper School stage are nurtured in Lower School. Beginning with Jr. Kindergarten, every Lower School grade performs a musical to the delight of families and friends. These musicals are directed and produced by the lower school music teachers. We feel very positive about putting our students on our stage and in front of microphones.

The benefits to the young performer range from developing a love of singing and public speaking skills to building self confidence, say music teachers Mary Ann Giampapa and Elizabeth Atkins. “For the youngest children, being in a grade level musical develops a love of singing, movement, and pretending, which all come naturally to children this age,” said Giampapa, who teaches Jr. Cubs through First Grade.

During “musical time,” students gain self-confidence and pride in accomplishing a long-term goal, especially since accomplishing long-term goals is an essential skill that grows with the students into adulthood. Students also learn theatrical terminology like “blocking,” how to read musical notation such as “first ending,” dynamics, and a lot of other music theory that they will continue to use once they complete their Lower School education.

As the students get more experience, they learn how to read music, theatrical terms, how to block a location on stage, and the importance each part is in making the whole production come together, explained Atkins, Grades 2-5 teacher.

“Probably most importantly, being in these productions fosters a child's self-confidence, which builds on each previous year. Mary Ann and I have both seen this happen and discuss it frequently … how two years ago, a particular student was reluctant to even be a participant in the musical, and how this year, he wants a large speaking part or a solo."

Many students go on to shine in Middle School musical productions — perhaps due in part to their Lower School music experiences on our stage. What a fantastic way to start a career in music or theater with the drama of a four-year-old child! As parents of younger students can tell you, most of that drama is “built-in” – we just find ways to channel and use it on stage and in our classrooms to help build a child’s self-esteem and gain confidence in public speaking and song.