Senior School Arts

An education in the arts teaches students to perceive and think in new ways.

Creativity, reasoning, imagination, intuition and art-specific skills are all developed as students learn to build bridges between verbal and nonverbal communication, and logic and emotion. At the Senior School level, students may choose to study drama, music, visual arts and, at grades 11 and 12, film.

The arts programmes at The York School help our students:

  • Develop a lifelong enjoyment of the art
  • Become informed, reflective and critical practitioners in the arts
  • Understand the dynamic and changing nature of the arts
  • Explore and value the diversity of arts across time, place and cultures
  • Develop perceptual and analytical skills

In particular, we provide opportunities for students to create and to perform, both in the classroom and as part of our co-curricular programming. Students can participate in arts nights, assemblies, coffee houses, plays, musicals, inter-scholastic festivals and music, film and visual arts trips.

Drama Programme
At The York School, we have an outstanding drama programme that develops self-expression, confidence, public-speaking skills and fosters an appreciation for theatre and performance arts.

The Senior School offers courses in dramatic arts at both the MYP and Diploma level. In Grades 9 and 10, students study a variety of theatrical practices including movement, character development, vocal technique, scene analysis and scriptwriting. In the Grade 11 and 12 Diploma Programme, students examine different theatrical traditions and practitioners, develop performance proposals and in-depth theatrical analyses, and participate in collective creation work as performers and technical practitioners. Students at all levels see a wide variety of professional plays in Toronto and further afield.

Each year, Senior School students mount a major play or musical. They also have other opportunities to share their talents through the school year during coffee houses, arts nights and at the Canadian Independent Schools Drama Festival.


Music Programme
The goal of the music programme is to foster a lifelong appreciation of and connection to music in its many forms.

In Grades 9 and 10, we offer band and vocal programmes as well as various small ensembles to complement our in-class performance-based programme. Students explore composition, both on their laptops and in the MIDI lab, as well as music history.

In Grades 11 and 12, we offer the IB Diploma music programme in which students explore music from all over the world (both past and present), and learn how to respond to what they hear. Students also complete both performance and composition portfolios.

There are frequent opportunities for performance at all levels such as:

  • Music assemblies
  • Music and art afternoons and evenings
  • Musical productions
  • Conference of Independent School’s Music Festival, an annual event held at Roy Thomson Hall
  • International performance trips are held every other year

Visual Arts Programme
In keeping with the IB vision, we aim to instill visual literacy in our students, and at the same time encourage moral and personal growth and a sense of responsibility to the global community.

Through creative exploration, students develop skills in drawing, digital images, painting, print making and sculpture. Students explore the elements and principles of art to understand how visual design can convey symbolic messages. The relevance of art history and aesthetic theories are considered through the study and research of specific artists, cultures and art movements, both past and present.  Students further their oral, written, and artistic skills, their creative and critical thinking, their ability to act as independent learners and their personal understanding and appreciation of studying art from a variety of cultures.

Highlights Include:

  • Trips to local art exhibits
  • Annual arts trip to a major US city
  • Arts exhibits in December and April
  • And more!