Reflections of Our Creator: Art at Baptist Prep

Artistic expression, in its many forms, is a direct reflection of our Creator. At Baptist Prep, opportunities for creativity to be expressed and explored abounds from Lower to Upper School. Whether a student chooses to explore various visual artistic mediums through visual art classes, grow their singing skills through choir, or learn and perfect an instrument through the band, all students are given opportunities to grow in their creativity and skills.

Visual Art at BP

The mission of Baptist Prep’s Visual Arts program is to give students a hands-on introduction to various artistic mediums with the goal of providing practical experience.

“The goal of our art classes is not to make master artists of the students (which takes a lifetime) but rather to expose them to many types of art expression and tap into their God-given gifting of creativity,” shared Eric Spann, Baptist Prep Upper School Art Teacher. “It is my hope that from the experiences given in class they might enjoy further study and expression on their own. After a student is given the opportunity to explore and practice many types of art and different mediums, the prospect of them carrying out creative expression in the future is far more likely.”

Upper School students explore sewing, watercolor, acrylic and pastel painting, paper mâché, drawing with perspective, landscape, continuous line, and still life. Additionally, students silk screen, make string art, weave, and do block printing.

“In Kindergarten, the students are learning how to use art tools, such as a paintbrush, a drawing pencil, markers, and watercolors. Their fine motor skills are developing while using these tools,” shared April Kirchgessner, Baptist Prep Lower School Art Teacher. “As the students grow and move to higher grade levels, we learn more about art techniques, vocabulary, and the elements of art: line, color, shape, form, texture, value, and space.”

During the first semester, Lower School students focus on each of the elements of art and apply this knowledge to a specific art project. During the second semester, they will switch focus to art appreciation where they study well-known artists, their artwork, and the techniques that they employ. Then students will create pieces that imitate the signature style or technique of the art masters they studied. This exposes the students to a variety of artists of various cultures and ethnicities.

“Art is incredibly important not only to a well-rounded education but to a well-rounded life,” continued Mr. Spann. “On one of the first days of class, I encourage students to look around the room and point out something that wasn’t designed, produced, invented or made that didn’t begin with creativity, design, and some type of craftsmanship. So far, no one has been able to find anything. THAT is how important art is.”

Through art, students at Baptist Prep discover creativity, gifts, and talents given to them by God. Also, art can help students build self-confidence, improve memory and concentration skills, improve fine motor skills, and encourage focus and discipline.

“Studying and practicing art can increase observation skills and problem-solving,” continued Mrs. Kirchgessner. “All of these are important social-emotional skills for a well-rounded servant of God's kingdom.”

Choir at BP

Students at Baptist Prep can grow in their singing and music skills through choir, available in both Lower and Upper Schools.

"Choir is beneficial for life. One can sing through their entire life with no concern for injury," shared Rebecca Sanders, Baptist Prep Choir Teacher. "Choir offers the student the opportunity to create, to communicate, to assess, to commit, to be a part of a team. There is no bench in the choir, and there is room for everyone. If you love to sing, you belong in choir regardless of your ability."

For all the choirs at Baptist Prep, various types of music across different time periods are explored. In Elementary Choir, students begin learning to read music and produce a correct choral tone. Those skills are expanded each year as more difficult music is added. Students begin singing three-part music, then four, then six, then eight. As students matriculate into Junior High Choir, they start rehearsing every other day. Advanced Choir often splits into sectionals where students help other students learn their part.

"I love teaching choir. I love seeing them grow from timid seventh graders to seniors who own the stage," continued Mrs. Sanders. "I hope students will carry their love of singing with them for the rest of their lives. I pray that they will be involved at their churches, even if it is only as a fully engaged member of the congregation. But for some, they will be the leaders."

Performance is a key element of the choir. Currently, choir students are preparing for Christmas concerts in December. Additionally, an opportunity to perform and participate in a musical will be open to all Upper School students in the spring.

Band at BP

Students in fifth grade and up can express their creativity through the band as they hone their instrument skills and explore diverse styles of concert band music throughout history and from different cultures.

"One of my favorite things about the band is the way it truly becomes a family," shared Sabrina Cooper, Baptist Prep Director of Bands. "When students begin playing an instrument in fifth or 6th grade, they remain in that same group of students until they graduate high school. For many, these students become extremely close-knit, and a band hall is a safe place for students to come in and relax during a school day. They can partake in something that boosts mood, brain function, and more throughout the day, which can help them with the stresses of academic rigor."

In fifth and sixth-grade band classes, students learn to produce sound, read music, and play notes on their instruments. Students in Junior High Band participate in a traditional concert season during both semesters. They prepare early for the Christmas concert while working on their all-region audition music during the fall. During the spring, they will work on Spring Concert music and solo and ensemble music. Senior High Band begins the year with summer marching practice for their competitive marching season. They attend contests and invitationals, alongside performing at all football games, pep rallies, and more. After marching season, they transition to a concert band setting where they work on Christmas music, Spring Concert music, and individual work.

"Students who participate in music typically demonstrate a better ability to relate and empathize with their peers," continued Sabrina. "Often, they can regulate their emotions better, and it provides a wonderful way to bridge curriculums. Students can see how different aspects of math and counting come into play with parts of speech and language. They also learn what types and styles of music were prevalent throughout history and how music varies from culture to culture."

This week, the Senior High Marching Band competed against other local schools in the Region Marching Assessment, a qualifying event for State Marching Contest. If the band qualifies at Region, they will compete for the state title in marching band on November 1.

"One of the greatest things I want to impart in my students is that success is a habit that can be cultivated through hard work and effort," shared Sabrina. "Anyone can be successful at an instrument. It is the direct result of intentional effort."