Our music curriculum is balanced between small-group work that is keyed to students’ individual abilities, and larger ensembles that draw on the full breadth and depth of our school’s musical talent. Every student at Maine Coast Waldorf High School enjoys a rich instrumental and vocal musical experience. Each student is required to play either a wind or string instrument, and all students sing together twice a week in the high school chorus.
One of the unique features of Waldorf high school education is the central role purposeful movement plays in the educational philosophy. Several times a week, students start the morning with a movement class. Designed to literally and metaphorically “wake students up,” movement classes vary from intensely-focused sessions of yoga, Spatial Dynamics, and rousing games of dodgeball, to circus-themed challenges such as juggling or balancing on a slackline. These sessions of purposeful movement empower our students and give them the confidence that with discipline and hard work, they can surmount new challenges.
Every year, the 9th and 10th grade together and the 12th grade undertake the performance of a drama. The choice of play or musical varies considerably from year to year, so that by the time a student has graduated, he or she will have acted in a number of different dramatic genres; recent productions have included classic American farces, Broadway musicals, medieval mystery plays, and Agatha Christie “whodunnits.” The same skills that make a successful play—working together as a team, learning to feel comfortable in front of audiences, becoming adept at improvisation and “troubleshooting”— are all skills that serve students well as they head out into the world of college interviews, summer jobs, and long-term careers. The One Act Play elective is also a popular choice among students from all grades looking for more dramatic experience.
Every student in our school takes several hours of studio arts classes per week. On a practical level, increased manual dexterity furthers cognitive development; but more importantly, engagement with the arts allows students to delve deeper into the creative and imaginative realms opened up by their academic work. As they explore different artistic media and techniques, students discover aspects of themselves and the world that were previously unknown, while creating both beautiful and useful aesthetic objects.