The Arts

Research shows that active engagement with music and art aids a developing brain like nothing else. CDS students are fully immersed in art, theater and musical instruction and performances.

At CDS, students participate in the arts, not as optional electives, but as a core element of school. 

We know that the arts help students develop important life skills – including collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. 

Students discover their own ability to learn by approaching academics through the arts. At CDS, our math, science, history and English teachers often conduct academic lessons through artistic opportunities. This strategy can reach different types of learners and leads to deeper understanding for all children rather than superficial memorization for short-term testing. 


All CDS students learn to sing, and that ability flourishes in frequent choral and theatrical performances. Musical instruction begins with the youngest classes, and by the time students reach middle school, they are learning 2-4 part harmony songs, advanced rhythmic studies, and are introduced to composers and genres that span from the Baroque Era to New Music from the 21st century.

Bands, Orchestras and Ensembles

CDS is committed to an authentic music program, including institutional investment in physical spaces, dedicated time during and after the school day and, most importantly, placing trust in great music teachers. CDS encourages its students to courageously engage in music by learning, reading, practicing and performing. 

More About Music


At Charlottesville Day School, visual and performing arts and music are fully embraced as necessary components of education and child development. Art and music are incredible for young brains and contribute to all-around growth. The performing arts program helps students learn about working hard to achieve a goal. Participation in theater also builds confidence and public-speaking skills, providing long-term benefits in high school, college and beyond.


A weekly elective photography class stretches and challenges students to experiment with different subject matter, techniques and perspectives, all while developing their personal style and point of view as photographers. Student photographers learn to see, capture and share their world, inspiring gratitude for the everyday in themselves and those around them.


In art class, students are inspired to expand their artistic skills and to appreciate different mediums. Students learn to use lines, forms, shapes, color values and symmetry in their work. Art History is incorporated into lessons, which teaches students to recognize artists, periods, techniques, and different media. Students have the confidence to experiment with and develop their own unique art projects. Students are given the opportunities to share their art within and outside of the CDS community through art contests and community art shows.