Skip To Main Content

MYP Arts

In the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), students develop through creating, performing and presenting arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas.

It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning.

Students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of the arts.

What is the significance of arts in the MYP?

Arts stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills.

Involvement in the arts encourages students to understand the arts in context and the cultural histories of artworks, supporting the development of an inquiring and empathetic world view.

Arts challenge and enrich personal identity and build awareness of the aesthetic in a real-world context.

How is arts structured in the MYP?

In grades 6-10 the programme arts disciplines offered in the MYP are:

  • Visual art.
  • Drama.
  • Speech.
  • Technical Theatre
  • Music.
  • Dance.

Key Concepts in Arts

Key concepts promote the development of a broad curriculum. They represent big ideas that are both relevant within and across disciplines and subjects. Inquiry into key concepts can facilitate connections between and among:

  • courses within the arts subject group (intra-disciplinary learning)
  • other subject groups (interdisciplinary learning).

Below are listed the key concepts to be explored across the MYP. The key concepts contributed by the study of arts are aestheticschangecommunication and identity.


Global interactions


Time, place and space


Related Concepts in the Arts

Related concepts promote deep learning. They are grounded in specific disciplines and are useful for exploring key concepts in greater detail. Inquiry into related concepts helps students develop more complex and sophisticated conceptual understanding. Related concepts may arise from the subject matter of a unit or the craft of a subject—its features and processes.


An individual or group who receive and/or respond to arts. Addressing this concept includes examining strategies for engaging audience, different types of audiences and how the audience–artist relationship affects and influences the arts.


The parameters that define a personality, a culture, an environment, civil law, a skill set or a belief structure. The concept of boundaries can include: themes, issues and concepts; the imagined or physical boundary between performance space and audience; the subversive or provocative nature of the arts; the dividing line between what is real and what is fictional; private and public space; the relationships between characters.


The intentional organization or contrast, balance, arrangement or awareness of the elements and principles of art for a particular purpose in the creation of art. These may include tension and release, repetition and variety, unison and harmony, sound and silence, theme and variation, and dynamics and energy.


The representation of feelings and emotions, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, values and opinions in the process of visual or physical articulation. It can include signs, symbols, semiotics or any other imagery to capture the artist intention. It is something you do, create or play that shows what you think or feel. Expression facilitates the communication of an idea.


Different artistic expressions that create a style when grouped by the same use of techniques, in a distinctive manner regarding theme, content or practice.


An altered interpretation or the experimentation of ideas, techniques and media. It ensures originality and creativity by new ways of presenting ideas and unusual use of media. The invention of new functions and ways of working.


The understanding of experiences and events mainly through the reference frame of our own reality and contexts. The understanding of the meaning of an artist’s creative work and artistic expressions.

An artist’s distinctive personal version expressed by stylistic individuality.


A spoken, written or visual account of connected events; a story, which may be fictional or non-fictional. The narrative may manipulate the viewpoint of the audience: bias is persuasive narrative designed to deliver a particular mandate, brief or point of view.


Play can occur in an artistic process or product. In process, play is experimentation—playing with ideas, characters, and techniques. This may be structured or free play. Improvisation is a structured approach to play, which often has the elements of a game and may involve particular rules. In product, play can be a collective creation of a theatre piece or a pre-existing piece of theatre that is authored and documented and that is transformed into live action.


The choice of medium, tool, and exhibition or performance space that contributes to audience understanding of the meaning or purpose of the art piece.


The description, depiction or portrayal of a person, group, place or item in a particular way or as being of a certain nature. An image or likeness.


The development, adoption and portrayal of a character. The performer has to consider how to communicate the character’s psychology, emotions and physicality. This is concerned with examining situations, issues, concepts and texts from the perspective of a role. Different approaches, ideas and texts can be used to create and portray a character.

The individual roles of instruments can be harmonic, rhythmic or melodic.


This refers to the shape, timing and organization of the art and the factors that determine how a piece or performance is shaped. It takes into consideration form, function, narrative, melody, harmony, contrast, focus and the construction of smaller parts to create a whole.


A type of art characteristic of a group of people, person or period of time and belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. Art conforming to an established form.

Visual culture

A field of study that generally includes some combination of cultural studies, art history, critical theory, philosophy, and anthropology, by focusing on aspects of culture that rely on visual images.

Objectives for the Arts

A. Knowing and understanding

Through the study of theorists and practitioners of the arts, students discover the aesthetics of art forms and are able to analyse and communicate in specialized language. Using explicit and tacit knowledge alongside an understanding of the role of the arts in a global context, students inform their work and artistic perspectives.

In order to reach the aims of arts, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the art form studied, including concepts, processes, and the use of subject-specific terminology
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the role of the art form in original or displaced contexts
  3. use acquired knowledge to purposefully inform artistic decisions in the process of creating artwork.

B. Developing skills

The acquisition and development of skills provide the opportunity for active participation in the art form and in the process of creating art. Skill application allows students to develop their artistic ideas to a point of realization. The point of realization could take many forms. However, it is recognized as the moment when the student makes a final commitment to his or her artwork by presenting it to an audience. Skills are evident in both process and product.

In order to reach the aims of arts, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate the acquisition and development of the skills and techniques of the art form studied
  2. demonstrate the application of skills and techniques to create, perform and/or present art.

C. Thinking creatively

The arts motivate students to develop curiosity and purposefully explore and challenge boundaries. Thinking creatively encourages students to explore the unfamiliar and experiment in innovative ways to develop their artistic intentions, their processes and their work. Thinking creatively enables students to discover their personal signature and realize their artistic identity.

In order to reach the aims of arts, students should be able to:

  1. develop a feasible, clear, imaginative and coherent artistic intention
  2. demonstrate a range and depth of creative-thinking behaviours
  3. demonstrate the exploration of ideas to shape artistic intention through to a point of realization.

D. Responding

Students should have the opportunity to respond to their world, to their own art and to the art of others. A response can come in many forms; creating art as a response encourages students to make connections and transfer their learning to new settings. Through reflecting on their artistic intention and the impact of their work on an audience and on themselves, students become more aware of their own artistic development and the role that arts play in their lives and in the world. Students learn that the arts may initiate change as well as being a response to change.

In order to reach the aims of arts, students should be able to:

  1. construct meaning and transfer learning to new settings
  2. create an artistic response that intends to reflect or impact on the world around them
  3. critique the artwork of self and others.

Information on these pages is from the MYP Subject Guides and the MYP Project Guide. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2014. Print.