In the creative field - the subjects of visual arts, music and drama - pupils are offered an excellent opportunity to express their artistic skills and to develop them further. The established events at the ESM, including the well-attended concerts, the theatre performances and the exhibitions, are an integral part of school life and a special opportunity for the pupils. They represent highlights during the course of the school year and allow pupils to become part of a shared experience on a large scale. The objectives of the curriculum of the European Schools form the basis of teaching creative arts in the ESM. The working language is German.
The visual art classes at our school focus on both the process and the outcome. It is not the "beautiful" work of art that is the ultimate goal, but the creative development process as such that is paid the greatest attention. By means of drawings, we explore the world and the wealth of existing images. Pupils keep a personal sketchbook to keep a record of their development process from the initial creative impulse to the finished work. Starting from their own diverse and innovative ideas, the pupils then transform them, by employing their knowledge of the technical facilities, into an artistic work.
The visual art lessons are based on a close connection between practical work and image analysis, but also art-historical examinations are integral components of the subject. Pupils work individually, in groups and on large projects. In year 6 and 7 pupils may choose visual arts as a two-hour or a four-hour advanced course. In the graduation year, the visual art course consists of practical work on the pupils' own project, which is based on a central theme of the year. Pupils receive feedback on their work as a result of the exhibitions of their work that are constantly on display in the school building, the Baccalaureate exhibition and by participating in international competitions.
Music at the ESM supports the musical development of pupils in three areas: composition, analytical listening and performing. In the first three years, the theoretical foundations are acquired and simultaneously all the topics are put into practical use with instruments and vocals. In the Secondary School, mainly percussion instruments and keyboards are played. When possible, the pupils' musical abilities practiced outside school are also taken into account and incorporated into the teaching process. Within the scope of the various projects, pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate their musical skills and commitment and develop them further (i.e. pupils' solo concerts, ESM concerts, auditions in the classroom, etc.). In years 4 - 5, the skills and theoretical knowledge is further developed and deepened individually and in smaller groups. In a final project at the end of the 5th year, each pupil documents their personal interests, abilities and musical knowledge.
In years 6 - 7, pupils may opt for either a two-hours or a four-hours music course. A central aspect of these courses is the focus on music and musical practice from different musical and cultural epochs and contexts, as well as the active promotion of musical abilities and skills that pupils can develop as part of the curriculum. In addition to music classes, pupils may also participate in the different ESM musical activities, such as the choir, the orchestra or the big band. The musical results of these activities are presented twice a year during the Christmas and the Spring concerts.
Drama is taught as a specific subject in the ESM in the 6th and 7th Years; normally the teaching language has been English, though occasionally it is in German. The course has developed considerably over the last 10 years so that now students are taught basic acting and drama skills such as improvisation, speaking, movement and group work in the 6th year, leading up to a public performance of a play in May. There are also opportunities to learn about lighting, sound and set design. In recent years, students have performed in excellent productions of "Blood Brothers" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to mention just two.
In the 7th Year students have the chance to learn the rudiments of film-making and develop their own ideas to make a short film which is then screened for public performance alongside the 6th Year group's play. In the course of this year they will learn about script writing, plot and character development, use of a video camera and editing skills.
In addition to this course, drama is also taught within the more limited framework of L1 and L2 lessons. In English L1 for instance, drama is an important aspect of the curriculum and gives students the opportunity to create their own scripts or dramatise scenes from texts they are studying, or simply to bring to life some moments from a play they are reading in class.