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Drama Department 314
Drama Department








The Place of the Arts in the Curriculum 
Experiences in the arts – drama, dance, media arts, music, and the visual arts – play a valuable role in the education of all students. The arts nourish the imagination and develop a sense of beauty, while providing unique ways for students to gain insights into the world around them. All of the arts communicate through complex symbols – verbal, visual, and aural – and help students understand aspects of life in different ways. Students gain insights into the human condition through exposure to works of art. They can imagine what it would be like to be in the same situation as a character in a play, an opera, or a painting, and try to understand that character’s point of view. They identify common values, both aesthetic and human, in various works of art, and in doing so, increase their understanding of others and learn that the arts can have a civilizing influence on society. In producing their own works, they communicate their insights while developing artistic skills and aesthetic judgement. Since artistic activities are closely connected to play and human interaction, students experience a sense of wonder and joy when engaged in the arts, which can motivate them to participate more fully in cultural life and in other educational opportunities.
The courses described in this document prepare students for a wide range of challenging careers, not only for careers in the arts. Students who aspire to be writers, actors, musicians, dancers, painters, or animators, for example, are not the only ones who can benefit from study of the arts. In arts courses, students develop their ability to reason and to think critically as well as creatively. They develop their communication and collaborative skills, as well as skills in using different forms of technology. Through studying various works of art, they deepen their appreciation of diverse perspectives and develop the ability to approach others with openness and flexibility. They also learn to approach issues and present ideas in new ways, to teach and persuade, to entertain, and to make designs with attention to aesthetic considerations. Participation in arts courses helps students develop their ability to listen and observe, and enables them to become more self-aware and self-confident. It encourages them to take risks, to solve problems in creative ways, and to draw on their resourcefulness. In short, the knowledge and skills developed in the study of the arts can be applied in many other endeavours.
In studying the arts, students learn about artistic principles and elements that are common to all the arts. Dance and drama share techniques in preparation and presentation, and require similar interpretive and movement skills. Music, like dance, communicates through rhythm, phrase structure, and dynamic variation; also, both have classical, traditional, and contemporary compositional features. The visual arts, dance, and drama all share elements of visual design, interpretation, and presentation – making connections among movement, space, texture, and environment. Media arts can incorporate and be interwoven through the other four disciplines as a means of recording, enhancing, and reinterpreting. All the arts reflect historical periods and cultural values.
One art form can be used as a stimulus for creating another; the subject of an art reproduction can provide motivation for a drama tableau, or a musical phrase can inspire a line drawing in visual art. One art form can be an extension of another, as is the case when musical phrases are adapted to dance movements. A topic can be treated in an interdisciplinary way; for example, in producing a work illustrating a ritual, students can make masks, choreograph dance movements, write a choral script, compose a musical accompaniment, and produce special effects using media such as lighting and sound effects. Another interdisciplinary approach might be to focus on how common elements – balance, unity, emphasis, contrast, pattern, rhythm, and movement – find expression in dance, drama, media arts, music, and the visual arts.
Links can also be made between the arts and other disciplines. For example, symmetry in musical structure can be related to mathematical principles. Mathematics skills can be applied to drafting a stage set to scale, or to budgeting an arts performance. Students taking a history course can attempt to bring an event in the past to life by reinterpreting it in their work in drama. History, geography, and social science students can gain insights into other cultures and periods through studying the visual arts of those cultures and times. Music students can make use of their knowledge of principles of physics in studying sound waves emitted by a musical ensemble. Dance students can make use of principles of physical motion in their choreography.
Subject matter from any course in the arts can be combined with subject matter from one or more courses in other disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course. The policies and procedures regarding the development of interdisciplinary courses are outlined in the interdisciplinary studies curriculum policy document.
                                                                       Taken from the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum 9 - 12
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