Art and music are fundamental to the YCIS philosophy and objectives that aim to provide students with a well-rounded and balanced education. A key component of this is to ensure they have wide exposure to a variety of music and art during their time at school.
The Music Programme
Music plays a major role in school life at YCIS. Research shows that music training enhances a child's spatial-temporal reasoning, leading to improved maths performance, memory span, and intellectual development. From the schools’ initial founding, music has been one of the centrepieces and points of distinction that our students talk about – even long after graduation.
Students receive violin lessons from Year 1 to Year 3, with lessons becoming optional activities thereafter. These young violinists have numerous opportunities to display their talents in school concerts and musicals, as well as public performances, contributing to their self-confidence as they learn to perform on stage and develop of a lifelong appreciation for music.
In-School Individual Instrumental Programme (IIIP)
YCIS Beijing offers an individual instrumental programme, where select music teachers provide instruction on a wide range of instruments according to the interests of each student. IIIP provides students with the opportunity to develop their musical interest and helps to enhance the YCIS orchestra programme.
The Visual Arts Programme
High quality visual arts programmes are available to students at every level of schooling at YCIS Beijing. In Primary, the school provides a qualified art teacher with a background in professional artistry. The Primary Art and Design curriculum is designed for young students to learn how to feel safe in the creative process. It teaches them that no matter what they do, they will not be exposed to ridicule, relentless testing, or the fear of being wrong. They can improvise by making something up in order to make something new and better. Art and Design is different from other classes in that it encourages curiosity over mastery and creativity over proficiency.
The Secondary school art programme also serves to equip students with creative skills that can be applied to a variety of fields of study. Conceptual and divergent thinking or even simply understanding how others see something are skills that have a huge impact on how we interact with others at every stage of our lives. Asking questions about the artist’s background, the historical background of the piece, and how the piece gained recognition all help to ignite students’ curiosity about the world around them and to understand the connections between things that seem disconnected. In Lower Secondary School, the Visual Arts curriculum is directed and “skills” focused, with students spending more time building their confidence using various mediums as well as deepening their appreciation for art.
Curriculum in Upper Secondary school evolves from mastery of mechanics to more advanced techniques and artistic exploration. IB students in particular really have a lot of freedom to explore their inquiries and curiosities. Through mind mapping, conversations, exploring other artists, experiments, and so on, students execute their final paintings. In addition to improving their artistic ability, this utilises art class as a means to enhance each student’s conceptual thinking ability.
The school offers a unique educational opportunity called the Artist-in-Residence programme, in which a contemporary, working artist interacts with students in class. Students have the chance to learn about the dynamic art scene in China and worldwide, and to develop a creative and aesthetic sense, learning techniques and art forms straight from a real, professional artist. The artists are encouraged to lead various art projects in the school from cross curricula projects to murals, as well as to build their own professional body of artwork.
Drama and Theatre Arts
Drama and Theatre Arts is a central part of our literacy curriculum. Starting in Primary (Year 4) students can learn the fundamentals of drama as an additional class from a performing arts specialist and begin to perform in school plays and musical theatre. In our Lower Secondary programme (Years 7 to 9), students can choose to take two sessions of drama each week and in Year 9 may add on two additional sessions of drama, focusing on the three competencies of the Drama Curriculum of England: Performing, Devising, and Understanding. In this way, all Lower Secondary students learn not only about drama skills and drama as an art form, but also improve their presentation skills, benefitting them in any future profession. In the Upper Secondary school programme, drama becomes optional, and students can choose to take Drama courses as part of their IGCSE or IB coursework and participate in a large range of drama related extra-curricular activities. Our theatre facilities support a variety of productions, from intimate dramatic performances to full-scale musicals.
Musicals and Play Productions
Theatre productions are highly encouraged and supported in the Secondary schools. These productions showcase not only the talent of students but also staff and other members of the community. These productions are presented in alignment with the school mission.