Welcome to Performing Arts at Wheeler! As a department, we strive to nurture each student’s special talent and enthusiasm, provide the opportunity for students to explore and develop a passion for performing arts, and through performance, raise the community’s awareness of the performing arts.
The variety of materials, teaching modalities, and media presented by our teachers ensures that all students have an opportunity to explore, pursue, and succeed at activities in music and drama.
Students are encouraged to learn from and with each other through the ensemble experience, the underpinning of our program. Materials of other cultures are utilized to broaden the experience and awareness of students and their audiences. Some courses in the Upper School also serve as community outreach programs in which students perform for a variety of religious, cultural, educational, and charitable organizations each year. These opportunities help students value the diverse cultures of their world, encourage respect for all people, encourage community service, and heighten performance skills.
The Gilder Center for the Arts
|Upper School Performing Arts|
Courses in the Performing Arts curriculum are designed to involve students in a process, which includes creativity, sharing, performance and critical analysis. Ensemble level courses develop fundamental skills while exploring history and theory. Performance level courses require audition for entrance and emphasize repertoire, technique, and hands on applications. We offer ensemble and performance levels in all areas of our program: Chorale, Jazz, Guitar, Handbells, and Theater. See the program section on our site for more information about each of our program areas.
|Middle School Performing Arts|
The Middle School is committed to music and drama as part of its curriculum. Middle School students at Wheeler and Hamilton are given broad exposure to the Performing Arts. The 6th grade students study theatre for one quarter of the school year and study music for three-quarters of each year. The 7th and 8th graders each receive one half year of music and half a year of theatre, with classes meeting twice a week.
In the 6th grade, the students are introduced to theatre terms, history and performance with an emphasis on Greek Theatre. In the 7th grade the students are introduced to improvisation, speech, and beginning scene study. Building on the seventh grade studies, eighth graders are introduced to the written text and scene design. Students in the 7th and 8th grades may take part in the main stage spring production.
In Middle School music, students build upon the fundamentals of music learned in the Lower School program. By the end of their Middle School experience, students will have had the opportunity to study guitar, wind and brass instruments, music composition, music theory and improvisation. Interested students can join the Middle School Chorus or an instrumental ensemble. These groups perform at Middle School assemblies, Wheeler events, and in the Providence community as individual performance groups or as combined ensembles.
|Lower School Performing Arts|
Children explore and discover music by being young musicians. This is the philosophy of the Orff-Schulwerk approach taught in the Wheeler Lower School. Just as we learn to speak before we read and write, children learn to sing, move, dance, and improvise before they experience music reading and notation.
All lower school children sing, dance, and play the Orff instruments. They experience patterns (ostinati) and rhythms and begin reading music through working with a giant floor staff; formal music notation is embedded throughout the grades.
At all levels, Orff instruments used in classroom instruction are xylophones, glockenspiels, percussion, and even dulcimers which can be played with success by most without the technique and practice required for playing orchestral instruments. The resulting layers of sound are elemental music but often have a sophisticated sound.
Orff-Schulwerk is joyful and ideally involves the whole child and the whole brain. The music curriculum often integrates with or complements classroom studies, and a culminating event may include songs, folk tales, and dances relating to a culture or country studied.
Listen to the 18 Wheelers Perform!
Performing Arts Highlights
See longer videos at the Theater Program link above!
Listen to Full Throttle Marimba Band's hit: THUMP
Theatre Teacher; Performing Arts Department Head
Year Appointed: 1995