A Well-Balanced Child Begins on Stage

By Anabela Mok 2021-12-28 17:04:03

Meg Ideker, Music Department Head and Choir Director from Concordia International School, explains how performing arts can shape a student.

What is the performing arts programme available at Concordia?

Concordia follows an American curriculum model. Performing arts begin in Grade 5 where every student is required to be in a music performing ensemble through Grade 8. All middle school children are required to participate in band, choir, or strings. In Grade 5, they’re pretty much in a beginning ensemble, in Grade 6, they would go to an intermediate ensemble. And then in 7th and 8th Grade, they would go to a more advanced group. Once they reach high school, they can participate in a non-auditioned band, choir or string ensemble or they can audition for Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Bel Canto Women’s Choir, Collegium Men’s Choir, Chamber Singers or Chamber String Orchestra. All of these are curricular ensembles which meet during the school day.



Our school also offers amazing musical co-curricular activities, such as a Middle School Musical, Middle School Jazz Band and two Middle School Choirs. In High School the co-curricular activities include a High School Play and a High School Musical, APAC Band, Choir, Strings, Theatre and Dance Festivals held in Asia, AMIS Band, Choir and Strings Festivals held around the world, Chromatics Acapella Choir and Tri-M Music Honor Society. There are four major concert seasons per school year— each season having 5-7 concerts. This gives our school-wide curricular and co-curricular activities many opportunities to perform on stage.


In what way do the performing arts benefit students in their learning?

When a child is playing an instrument or singing, they use their brain in a different way. It’s been proven that performing music increases memory and cognitive function. It also reduces stress and pain, it helps to lift the spirits and relieve depression. By rehearsing or performing music, students engage every part of their central nervous system. Science shows that singing or playing music engages the high-level, executive function of the brain coupling that with complete sensory integration (auditory, visual and emotional). It is a total workout for the brain! And it boosts your brain health too! It’s so enriching, and it can inspire every other aspect of life. I think it makes you more sensitive, more empathetic and a better balanced person.



Being in a band, choir or orchestra requires students to interact with people with whom they wouldn’t normally interact. These relationships often develop into lifelong friendships, especially if they share the same experiences together in class and on stage.

We have students in our ensembles who have stage fright. By putting them up in front of a major audience at least four times a year, and a number of small school assemblies, they learn how to cope with their nerves. Students learn how to manage the stress of performance which is very different than the stress of taking an exam.

When students perform, they need to be bold and confident on stage in front of others. This learned confidence can be carried over into other academic subjects as well.



How do performing arts complement more rigorous subjects like the sciences or language arts?

Musical success is academic success because it supports and enriches all subjects. Music demonstrates a scientific knowledge by understanding sound, acoustics, pitch and intonation. Music develops math skills through the knowledge of rhythm patterns and meter signatures. Music is a foreign language with its own unique symbols, notation and terminology. Performing is storytelling; and singing involves deep knowledge of the poetry and prose. To understand music is to understand history and culture as we discover the historical context and significance behind each piece of music. Music integrates physical education as it includes all aspects of the body including breath support, as well as dexterity of body movement when performing on instruments. And finally, music is art, for it touches the human soul and opens our heart to greater understanding of others. It envelopes our senses and makes us compassionate, well-rounded people.


How do the performing arts create a well-rounded student?

Through performing, a student takes the risk to be bold and stretch themselves on stage. With repetition, they push through their fears of performing in public by standing in front of an audience. When the performance has positive results, it builds confidence in them. The experience of performing to a live audience allows students to realize their potential. A number of Concordia alumni, even though they may be working for large multinational companies, still partake in performance arts as adults. They join their community theatre or sing in the church choir, or play in a local band.

Our performing arts department hopes that our students develop a sustained love and appreciation for music and theatre. We dream that our students continue to revel in music and theatre their whole lives long. As adults, they can enjoy music and theatre by attending concerts, seeing a Broadway show, joining a music group, singing in church, or acting in community theatre. Our students can also be good stewards of their financial successes, by contributing financially to non-profit community performing arts groups. The arts unite people in a way that nothing else does. Our students will have a brighter future because they discovered the arts at Concordia and that has changed them for the better.


Meg Ideker, Music Department Head and Choir Director

“Music is art, for it touches the human soul and opens our heart to greater understanding of others.”


Concordia International School Shanghai
Address: 999 Mingyue Road, Jinqiao, Pudong New Area
Tel: 5899 0380 
Email: admissions@concordiashanghai.org