The Arts at the Lower School


Performing Arts

Music classes are a required part of the school day in the Lower School. Fourth grade students may choose between chorus and strings. Students in the fifth and sixth grades have the opportunity to choose from band, chorus and strings.


Band class is available to all 5th and 6th graders, no matter their ability level, and includes all woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.  Beginning 5th and 6th grade students are placed on one of eleven instruments (flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, French horn, euphonium, tuba and percussion).  Students learn to read music and produce characteristic sounds on wind and percussion instruments.  The bands prepare for two full ensemble performances each year.  Classes meet three days a week for forty-five minutes.  Students are required to practice at home and each student must provide his or her own instrument.  Rental programs for these instruments are arranged through local music stores.


Honor Band

Honor Band is offered to advanced sixth graders.  The members of the band are selected by the band director through playing auditions consisting of two scales, a prepared piece of music, and an easy sight-reading selection.  This group meets twice weekly during the lunch period.  The Honor Band performs more advanced repertoire in the same concerts as the full sixth grade band.



Chorus is available to all students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades, regardless of prior vocal experience in choir required.  Each chorus class meets 45 minutes during the school day, three times per week.  Chorus students perform in two required concerts during the school year (December and May).


Performance repertoire spans several time periods and represents music from diverse cultures and origins.  Select songs may be sung from memory in foreign languages, and in one to many parts. In the spring, the fifth and sixth grade choruses perform a “pop show” (usually a medley of songs from a Broadway musical or pop artist/band) as part of their concert.  Past pop-shows have been “Grease”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Les Miserables”, “Oklahoma”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?”, “Motown”, and the Beatles.  Pop shows allow opportunities for costumes, occasional choreography, and student solos.

Chorus includes instruction in reading music with solfeggio singing, developing good habits for healthy singing, both individually and in ensemble settings.  Additionally, fifth grade chorus learns to play handbells, which enhances rhythm and note reading.

Students in the Lower School are evaluated on preparedness for class, as well as class effort and participation.  Evaluations of student progress are made by the teacher through observations of classroom participation and effort, class games, quizzes to assess individual understanding, and listening to students’ singing in large and small groups.

Students may continue performing in these groups through Middle and Upper School. Over the years these performing ensembles have received high acclaim for their performances in festivals and on international performing tours.

Fourth Grade Choristers

Established in the fall of 2013, Choristers is the newest of the auditioned choirs in the Lower School providing additional performance opportunities for students who love to sing.  Fourth grade chorus students may audition for membership into Choristers in the fall.  Choristers' rehearsals are held twice a week during recess.  The group performs in two concerts each year (December and May) on the choral concert days for fourth and fifth grade choirs.  In their debut season, Choristers also performed a choral classroom demonstration session at the 2014 Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE) National Conference in Atlanta before an audience of university, secondary, and elementary music educators from the U.S. and Canada.

Fifth Grade Choral Ensemble

Choral Ensemble is made up of students from the fifth grade chorus program.  Students are selected from private auditions with the conductor held in the fall each school year.  Rehearsals take place twice each week during the lunch period.  Ensemble performs twice each year (December and May) on the same concerts as fifth grade chorus.  The group achieved high acclaim earning consistent gold standard ratings, as well as being named Sweepstakes Winners and Grand Champions for two years in a row (2013 and 2014), for their performances in the Southern Star Music Festival.


Sixth Grade Honor Chorus
Honor Chorus is made up of students who are members of the sixth grade choral program.  Membership is determined by individual vocal auditions with the conductor near the beginning of the school year.  This group meets twice weekly during the lunch period.  Honor Chorus performs twice each year (December and May) in the same concerts as sixth grade chorus.  Honor Chorus was one of very few choirs selected by auditioned recording to perform in the choral division at the January, 2011 Georgia Music Educators’ Association In-Service Conference in Savannah, GA, as well as consistent gold standard recipients at the Southern Star Music Festival. 

Sixth Grade Handbell Choir
The Handbell Choir is made up of auditioned sixth graders who are able to read rhythms and recognize and name notes. Membership is limited to twelve students, and three octaves of English handbells are used.  Auditions are held at the beginning of the school year at the end of the school day.  Handbell Choir rehearses twice weekly during the recess period. This group performs in concerts with the sixth grade chorus in December and May.  Handbell Choir was selected to perform at the Woodward Academy President’s Forum in December, 2010 and 2012.  Membership in this performing group is open to all sixth grade students (band, chorus, and strings).

  • For more information about 4th grade chorus, contact Mary Lou Swann.
  • For more information about 5th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Ensemble, 6th Grade Chorus, 6th Grade Handbell Choir and 6th Grade Honor Chorus, contact Allison Englert


Strings Orchestra students may choose to play violin, viola, cello and bass. They may either rent or purchase their instrument. More information will be given the first day of class on how to do both (no instrument is needed for the first week of class.) Additional costs include maintenance of the instrument, bow, strings and accessories, and the purchase of technique books and a yearly subscription ($25 to $30) to SmartMusic, a home computer program used to help the student and teacher evaluate the preparation of each assignment. (SmartMusic will be optional but the student will have to substitute it with periodic face to face play tests. Also, if you do not already have one, the purchase of a special instrument microphone for use with SmartMusic will be necessary.)

Although we would love to accommodate each and every student that wishes to study a stringed instrument, the class numbers will be limited, so that those students in the class can receive the maximum benefit. Members are selected on a first come (date application is received), first served basis. We will also be available on registration day, but it is better insure your place in a class, we highly recommend that you fill out and submit the online form as soon as possible. Classes are made up of both beginning and intermediate students. Students are not scheduled into a class based upon years of playing experience.

Classes will cover the rudiments of music - recognizing notes, reading rhythms, making a proper tone on the instrument, etc. In addition, students will work on ensemble skills-performing with proper blend, balance, intonation, etc. Students are graded on being prepared for class and on the effort they put forth in class. Evaluations of student progress are determined by listening to students play method book exercises and concert repertoire. We will be using both periodic Play tests and the SmartMusic program.

Honors String Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass)

Orchestra members in the fourth through sixth grades (experienced players only). This is an auditioned group and meets after school at least one afternoon per week.

Fiddle Club (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass)
This is for fifth grade orchestra students (experienced players only).This is an auditioned group meets during lunch/recess period, one day per week. The music will focus on Bluegrass, folk tunes… etc. 

Piano Lessons


General dance for fourth through sixth grades includes ballet and modern dance. All dance students perform in the Spring Dance Concert which is published on our school calendar. Each student receives an evaluation grade for dance at the end of each nine week grading period. The evaluation process is determined by means of class participation, i.e., observation 75% and the remaining 25% determined by testing procedures appropriate for the grade level. The evaluation will be reflected by effort grades. 

A dance fee of $120.00 is charged to cover production expenses, costume rental, and the cost of the uniform unitard (for fourth grade girls), and uniform leotard (for fifth and sixth grade girls), and the uniform pants (for all boys).  Checks should be made payable to Woodward Academy Lower School Dance.

Honors Dance
Students participating in the Honors Dance program meet once a week after school during the course of the year.  Only fifth and Sixth grade dancers are eligible to participate in the Honors Dance program.  Typical sessions for this group last an hour and a half.  There are additional rehearsals required for the concert in the spring.  Students are selected for placement in this group by an audition process conducted at the end of each school year.

Visual Arts

At the Lower School, visual arts is taught by three teachers. One twelve week period is devoted to the study of drawing and painting, with a strong emphasis on art history and world cultures.   Another twelve weeks is concerned with various types of printmaking, as well as digital and darkroom photography.   The third twelve week period focuses on three dimensional art  materials and concepts making artworks of clay, plaster, wood shapes and paper mache'.

See our Lower School Art Gallery.

Art Club and Camp
Outside of class, interested students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades may choose to do independent work in Art Club, held during lunch period one day per week.

Welcome to 
Performing & Visual Arts

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