fostering creativity, inspiration & expression
At Rancho Solano, the fine and performing arts are an integral part of our curriculum, heightening learning and improving critical thinking skills.
We are committed to providing every student with the opportunity to build creativity, knowledge and self-confidence through experiences in the arts.
We encourage our students to express themselves, to share their work and to think in different ways. Through these shared experiences, our students learn to appreciate their gifts and the gifts of others, igniting a lifelong interest in art and a passion for bringing beauty into their lives.
Pre-k and Lower School Visual Arts
Visual Arts in the lower school stimulates creativity and encourages students to establish connections between art and other disciplines, such as history and world cultures. Students also investigate the relationship between colors, shapes and lines through hands-on, age-appropriate activities. Students explore a variety of materials and techniques to gain exposure to the many possibilities that exist within visual arts. They are given opportunities to create art in their own unique style, while learning about famous art and artists throughout history
Middle School Visual Arts
Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 explore visual arts through a variety of 2D, 3D, and digital media. Students learn to utilize the Elements and Principals of Design in their work to convey a message or idea. Additionally, students develop an ability to contextualize art by connecting it to both history and culture. Students develop a new vocabulary for talking and writing about the visual arts and visual culture, while being introduced to a wide variety of artists as they explore and analyze relevant art movements and significant art works. Courses build off one another to empower students to develop their stylistic skillsets and conceptual ideas. Lastly, students gain confidence in presenting and critiquing their own artwork, while providing respectful and critical feedback to their peers.
Upper School Visual Arts
Students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to take a variety of visual art courses in 2D, 3D, and digital media. Courses stress college preparatory assignments, techniques, and ideas. This approach then culminates with students getting the option to take IB Visual Art their junior and senior year. The International Baccalaureate class in Visual Arts is a challenging and highly motivating course that pushes art students to explore art materials to their fullest potential, to widen the students’ understanding of how arts operate within history and contemporary society, and to focus in on their own artistic expression. Students will investigate theoretical practice, art-making practice, and curatorial practice, as a way to build a wider scope of art knowledge and personal artistic growth.
For updated Middle and Upper School opportunities in visual arts, please see the Upper School Fine Arts Offerings.
Music & Performing Arts
Pre-K – Kindergarten Music
Our Pre-K and kindergarten students learn to comprehend music through a hands-on approach emphasizing ear training and Orff Music Instruction Techniques to help students read music and prepare for instrumentation beginning in 1st grade.
Our unique approach to music instruction at this age also uses the Prodigies program, which teaches students the fundamentals of music utilizing age-appropriate and multi-modal instruction.
Lower School Performing Arts
Studies suggest that early music study boosts students’ academic achievement by building cognitive, linguistic, and psychomotor connections. Rancho Solano’s general music style approach offers “minds on” rather than just “hands on” learning by interweaving the psychomotor, affective and cognitive domains of knowledge. Grade 1-2 students are introduced to music using age-appropriate xylophones, percussion, and keyboards. Students build on this knowledge to develop their aural skills and study music theory and history, and are empowered to express themselves confidently and are inspired to begin a lifelong enjoyment of music.
Beginning in third grade, Rancho Solano students customize their musical experience by choosing to pursue band, choir, or orchestra. Students learn the basics of instrumental music performance in an active learning environment, with three to four large scale shows per year.
Middle School Performing Arts
- Concert Band
- Intermediate Orchestra
- Chamber Orchestra
- Guitar & Ukulele
Middle School also offers Musical Theatre and includes a combined Middle and Upper School extracurricular Spring Musical. Many of our music ensembles and students participate in events sponsored by the Arizona Music Educators Association throughout the school year. Rancho Solano’s Parent Teacher Organization supports Middle and Upper School Performing Arts with their Committee for Arts & Performance (CAP).
Upper School Performing Arts
Our Upper School Performing Arts Department offers both performance and theoretical based classes:
- Concert Band*
- Jazz Band
- Intermediate Orchestra*
- Chamber Orchestra*
- Guitar & Ukulele
- IB Music
- Musical Theatre
*Members of our high school performing ensembles perform regularly in festivals, concerts, and competitions.
Upper School students also have opportunities to participate in clubs such as the National Art Honors Society and Tri-M Music Honors Society. Many of our music ensembles and students participate in events sponsored by the Arizona Music Educators Association throughout the school year. Rancho Solano’s Parent Teacher Organization supports Middle and Upper School Performing Arts with their Committee for Arts & Performance (CAP).
The course work of this dance program is designed to introduce and grow students in the genres of ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary, ballroom and hip hop. To ensure students grow as athletic dancers, creative choreographers and artistic performers, they are immersed in technique discipline, creative processes and live performances in events such as the ‘Rancho Under the Stars’ and the semi-annual dance concerts. Students in the dance program will not only gain knowledge on how to communicate effectively through movement, but also develop the collaboration, critical thinking and cultural literacy that is needed for successful careers.
The media arts department is designed to provide a foundation for students wishing to enter the film, television or interactive media fields.
Using our state-of-the-art equipment and post production lab, we build students into multi-media creators who can maximize their long term potential. Our curriculum offers students a full production sequence where they learn film making, editing, directing, and screenwriting. Students are given the opportunity to discover their unique voice as multi-media creators. The program is designed to create critical thinkers as they learn about film history and aesthetics, media criticism, broadcast communication, and effects of mass media and media’s role in society.
At Rancho Solano, we understand the important role technology plays in the lives of our students today and the impact it will have on their tomorrow. Our information technology or “hardware” exceedingly provides a secure environment to explore online content with the most modern technology, but we believe that a true technology education is more than putting devices in the hands of students and teachers. As leaders in 21st century education our mission is to educate our communities on the importance of Digital Literacy and Citizenship when using technology.
Digital Literacy is far more than just the understanding of current technologies. Being digitally literate is defined by the ability to find, evaluate, create and present valuable information using digital platforms. Using cutting edge computer programs, apps, and the internet sites are just a few of the ways in which we are already implementing digital literacy education in our schools.
Digital Citizenship can best be described as the proper education in using modern technologies safely. In this current era it is vital that all understand online privacy, online self-identity and reputation, cyber-bullying, online safety, digital footprints, communication, copyrights, and information literacy. Regardless of what technology we use, it is important to understand that communicating with others should be done properly, even when we are online, and becoming an educated Digital Citizen will help keep students safe and productive now and in their digital future.
As a school we are working towards educating each of our administrators, teachers, parents, and students in all areas of the 21st century learner. Our technology education programs go far beyond just the basics of the typing and slideshows of the past. Our students utilize technology to position themselves in a global community. Our technology curriculum is guided by the best information that the world has to offer because our students deserve nothing less. And we are just getting started. Our mission is to make sure that graduates of Rancho Solano manipulate technology to distinguish themselves above the rest.