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Our Juilliard Collaboration Showcase

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By Rachel White-Hunt, Director of Music & Curriculum Fellow

It was an evening of creativity and collaboration. On Monday, October 12, the Music Department showcased how The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme is coming to life in the classroom. BISC is the only school in Illinois offering this innovative performing arts curriculum (on two campuses no less). Parents and children gathered in the school gymnasium to explore the music curriculum through performances and an interactive lesson that mirrored how our Music staff teaches in the classroom.

As guests arrived, they were greeted by Quinton A. (Year 13) and Matthew L. (Year 13) strumming their guitars in the lobby. Then, Laken S. (Year 9) launched the event with a beautiful vocal and guitar performance. In fact, it was so impressive that many parents thought they were listening to a recording! Following the performance, I presented an overview of our Juilliard collaboration and what makes it so special. In just six weeks, the curriculum has already sparked massive creativity and innovation in our students. From Primary children improvising on the keyboard to a student whose proud parent said they’ve grown passion for music for the very first time, the evidence is all around us.

Attendees also had the special opportunity to hear from Andrew Roitstein, Senior Music Curriculum Specialist at The Juilliard School. Mr. Roitstein is the chief curriculum writer for The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme and also our school’s mentor. He spoke about the evolution of the program and how far we’ve come after a year in development.

The highlight of the event was an interactive lesson in which the whole crowd participated. To start, our jazz band played Blue Monk by Thelonious Monk, one of the 12 core works in the program’s repertoire. Well done to Anica A. (Year 9), George B. (Year 10), Simon Cohen (Year 12), Ben Kim (Year 10), Mei-Ling Laures (Year 13), Tobi Ogunyankin (Year 10) and Santiago Oskandy (Year 10)! The audience then analyzed what they heard. Next, we split into three instrumental groups to explore and improvise different elements of the song. In the end, all the groups came together for a grand performance in true BISC style, with parents, students and teachers collaborating (and having lots of fun!).

Sasha D., Year 10, closed the event with a serene piano performance, and then we enjoyed refreshments in the lobby.

Well done to all who took part! Now that we've implemented the music curriculum, we are excited to see how it develops during the school year. We also plan to continue offering parents with opportunities to experience the curriculum first hand. Stay tuned for more details.

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