Fine Arts

Middle School Fine Arts
While a strong academic curriculum is at the heart of the Keith Country Day School experience, our performing and visual arts programs are the soul. Fine arts are integral to a country day school education. The fine arts department believes that every student can achieve a measure of success in the arts. Our comprehensive program works toward providing students broad fundamentals in the fine, creative and performing arts. As a result, our students develop self-confidence and a willingness to expand their horizons. Middle school students are required to take two fine arts classes per year. Below are the course descriptions for music, art and theater.


Music and theater comprise our performing arts program. Music is part of the core curriculum from preschool through eighth grade. In addition to an abundance of music courses, Keith also offers a variety of choral opportunities including two student-led acapela groups, Basil and Rosemary. Open to all students, participants have the opportunity to perform at all-school assemblies, music night concerts, drama productions and special competitions such as the Illinois Music Education Association Festivals.

Middle School Chorus

Middle School Chorus is a choral group of mixed voices singing one-, two-, three-, and four-part choral music in a variety of styles and from various historical time periods. Students develop skills of good vocal production, sight-reading, and collaborative work through the study of a varied repertoire.

Beginning Band

The class is designed to give sixth graders an opportunity to learn to play a band instrument through formal class instruction.

Intermediate Band

The intermediate-level band course is for seventh and eighth graders who have completed Beginning Band or the equivalent. In addition to further study of music reading, musical concepts, and instrumental techniques, the course offers expanded performance opportunities.

Middle School Ensemble

Middle School Ensemble is a technique and performance class for those desiring to play stringed instruments. The instructor places students in levels after an assessment. Students will learn the techniques of the specific instrument, as well as music reading and various music concepts.


Piano is open to students from 6th -12th grades. It is designed for beginning pianists who have had no previous piano instruction. The focus in the class is to introduce students to the skills and techniques necessary to play basic piano repertoire. Note reading, rhythm, dynamics, expressive terms and playing techniques are covered topics.


Theater is introduced at Keith in lower school to learn the elements of storytelling and creative dramatics. Middle and upper school thespians stage four to five productions every year in a small theater setting that is fully equipped with moveable sets, state of the art lightning and sound boards and a proscenium arch to compliment the sets on stage. Drama students act, sing, dance, play music, build the sets and work behind the scenes as stage managers, technicians, and set, sound, and lighting designers.

Sixth Grade Drama

This course is a survey that introduces basic theater terminology, concentration, cooperation, trust, sensory exploration, communication, emotions, storytelling, creating a character, writing and play production. The students will rehearse a performance showcase of the elements studied in the course during class and one or two weeks after school. A showcase presentation will be performed second semester.

Seventh Grade Drama

The seventh grade drama course builds on knowledge attained in Drama 6. Students will explore acting through improvisation, writing, theater exercises, and more in-depth monologues and scenes. The students will rehearse their class play during class and for one to two weeks after school. The play will be performed second semester.

Eighth Grade Drama

The eighth grade drama course builds on knowledge attained in Drama 7. Students will continue to work together to create theater pieces using improvisation, literature, characterization and student writing. The students will rehearse their class play during class and for one to two weeks after school. The play will be performed second semester.


The visual arts program encourages students to express their creativity and explore a range of art mediums in an art studio that overlooks the Rock River. Drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed media, graphic design, photography and computer art all are part of the art curriculum. During the school year, students participate in community art shows four to five times a year and in April, the school dedicates an entire week for a Fine Arts Festival, which includes gallery nights to showcase student works, guest performers, and daily student performances. Many Keith artists have won local and national awards. Our specialized studio includes a photography darkroom, a ceramics studio, a kiln room, and several desktop computers for digital media work.

Sixth Grade Art

Sixth-grade art includes drawing, painting, printmaking, fibers, three-dimensional design, ceramics, and mixed media approaches to creative expression.

Seventh Grade Art

Drawing, painting, design, graphics, printmaking, fibers, three-dimensional design, and mixed media approaches to creative expression comprise the content of this course.

Eighth Grade Art

Drawing with various media including pastels and scratchboard, ceramics, additive sculpture, batik, and mixed media approaches to creative expression are the features of the eighth-grade course.


Linda Smith

Erin Philpott

Robert Sunday
Mary McNamara Bernsten