Canadian International School Lakeside is hosting a smashing Christmas arts party. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a student at this international school in Singapore to attend; everyone who loves Christmas and the arts is welcome.
Who: Parents and their little ones (ages 0-5)
When: Thursday, 6 December, 9am-11am
Why: To spend a magical morning singing Christmas carols, making decorations and watching a scene from Aladdin performed by CIS grade 5 students. We even hear Santa will be dropping by!
Cost: Free including tasty refreshments
How: Register (scroll down) and show up!
Robert Choi, CIS’s Primary school arts lead and music teacher, will also be on hand to answer all your questions about the school’s vibrant primary school arts programme.
Meet Robert Choi
Tell us about your musical background.
I studied cello at Indiana University, Eastman School of Music at Rochester University and Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. I was a professional cellist in Europe where I performed solo concerts and played in professional orchestras.
Do you still perform?
Yes. Just recently I performed a solo cello concert in B minor OP. 104 by Dvořák at Victoria Concert Hall for Singapore’s first international non-profit music charity organisation, Music for People. I also play for the professional Singapore chamber orchestra reSound.
When did you start teaching music?
I have been teaching private lessons since I was in school. Ten years ago, I made it a full-time profession. I love teaching primary school students because the children are so fresh. They are like sponges and pick up things quickly. They are also very flexible, keen and excited, which is motivating.
Tell us about CIS’s primary school arts programme.
The Arts programme plays a vital role in our primary school curriculum. It incorporates music, drama and visual arts in the classroom and as an extracurricular activity for students who wish to advance their learning through music ensembles, choral groups and drama productions. We’ve got modern drama and dance studios, a 500-seat theatre at the Lakeside campus, a black-box theatre, practice rooms and an audio-visual suite. We teach students specific arts skills, including how to be good audience members. There are opportunities for students of all abilities; we don’t just focus on those with exceptional talents.
When do students join the programme?
Our youngest learners are in kindergarten and are taught different arts by the homeroom teacher. From Grade 1 onwards, students have dedicated teachers for each discipline and spend 40 minutes on each subject every week.
What sets your programme apart?
We really want our students to understand the history and culture behind their learning. For example, my Grade 4 students are currently learning to sing two traditional songs – one in Hindi and another in Thai – for their holiday concert in December. This includes learning about the Thai and Hindi languages, customs and traditions.
Our programme also focuses on developing important life skills, like independence, self-discipline, concentration, perseverance and teamwork. These are critical for every student’s success regardless of what career they choose. For example, activities such as band, choir, and theatre require students to work together. Performing live on stage in front of an audience teaches them that regardless of what happens – making a mistake or stage fright – the show must go on.
What is the most rewarding part about being a music teacher?
A highlight for me is watching students present what they’ve been learning. It’s great to observe them succeed after all their hard work – and nerves! It’s also nice to see them develop other skills, like preparation. I always ask my students to fill in a reflection form after performing, and they consistently remark about the importance of practise and preparation.
Register for the Christmas party here.
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