Garden International School (GIS) has a reputation for staging high-quality, spectacular musical productions. With a dedicated and experienced team of teachers and community members, the musicals at GIS are exciting events that send a wave of buzz through the school each year. So, why are musicals important at GIS?
Musicals are fun! This is the core reason why we put energy and time into these productions. Staff, students, parents and the audience all being involved in a great show and the smiles and memories made are priceless. Musicals allow students to make new friends, enhance existing friendships and also be challenged by new social dynamics. Whilst rehearsals can be intense and require high levels of focus and commitment from all involved, the aim is to ensure everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves.
To put on a musical requires the whole community. Teachers are involved in direction, production, technical, choreography, set construction, graphic design, costume and much more. Administration staff help to oversee budgets, marketing, ticket sales, moving of equipment and setup of rehearsal/performance spaces. Parents are involved in costumes, props, set, refreshments and of course supporting students in coming to/from rehearsals. At GIS we also involved local artists and technicians to help build set and props as well as elements of graphic design and technical production. The combination of all of these parties helps to build a large and strong community of people!
Opportunity to excel
Musicals provide students who have a particular interest in singing, drama or dance, with the opportunity to dig deeper. Students who are having singing lessons can take their learning and apply it through interesting repertoire that challenges their skill-set. Those who are keen dancers can shine in a production that explores a range of dance styles. Budding actors can develop their understanding of theatrical styles through a format that often requires students to perform with specific timing and delivery dictated by musical accompaniment. The high level skills required in musical theatre pose a fantastic challenge and an opportunity to excel - stretching a student’s abilities to multitask to a level far beyond the everyday curriculum.
Whilst our musicals are auditioned for main cast roles, there are various other ways for students to get involved. In Primary, we always have a large supporting choir that sings many show numbers and also takes various ensemble roles in the show, usually centred around a particular dance/scene. In both Primary and Secondary, there are also props and set building groups. In Secondary, we have a student marketing team that helps promote the event to the community. A passion for the Arts can bloom through involvement in musical theatre and the experience of being on stage and exploring one’s potential.
GIS uses musical theatre to have fun, to build confidence, and as a ticket to learning in various disciplines: music (art, mathematics), dance (art, athletics), tech (mathematics, philosophy) and story (literature, history). What we learn on and around the stage is sheathed in reason, civility, and responsibility (social science, citizenship). Education and musical theatre offer quite a partnership.
We have seen many EAL students audition for our musical productions. The process of auditioning requires students to learn lines, songs and dances that help with the acquisition of new vocabulary and provides the opportunity for students to speak/act in front of an auditioning panel. Joining groups, such as the choir in Primary musicals, requires students to learn a repertoire of songs by memory, which enhances the acquisition of vocabulary and links new words/phrases to musical passages further enhancing memorisation.
Why is music important for a child’s development?
There is widespread literature supporting the positive impact that Music has on a child’s development. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato praised music for its powerful role in human life and society in shaping sensibility and rationality (Rainbow, 1988) and recent studies (Yang, 2015) even suggest that music is essential to building emotional and social bonds. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills whilst allowing them to practise self-expression and precision, building stamina, flexibility and confidence. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.
A Recent History Of Musicals at GIS
2014 - Matilda
2015 - Seussical Jr
2016 - The Lion King Jr
2017 - Aladdin Jr.
2018 - Beauty & The Beast Jr.
2019 - Alice In Wonderland Jr.
2020 - Seussical Jr. (Postponed due to COVID-19)
2012 - Peter Pan
2013 - Bugsy
2014 - Grease
2015 - Treasure Island
2016 - Robin & Marion
2018 - Hairspray
2019 - The Little Mermaid
How can my child focus on Musical Theatre?
Students interested in musical theatre are often required to be skilled in the three disciplines of singing, dancing and acting. To develop skills in these areas, students may choose to do extra classes/CCA’s specifically focusing on one or more of the disciplines. Singing lessons are conducted at school via the Instrumental Music Programme (visit website here) and dance and drama classes are run through our broad CCA programme.
For more information about musical theatre at Garden International School, KL please contact the Music or Drama departments.